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Stage 5: Overview

Stage 1 | Stage 2 | Stage 3 | Stage 4 | Stage 5 | Stage 6

MILESTONES:
ALIGN PRINCIPLES, PRACTICE, AND POLICIES INITIATE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE


STAGE 5: IMPLEMENT SYSTEMICALLY
Overview

 

Stage 5 focuses on the third characteristic of effective scale up—depth. Efforts began in Stage 1 to ensure that leaders at all levels share the defining vision and principles of community schools and consistently align policies and practices to reflect that vision. Effective scale-up requires a level of change that recasts attitudes, personal interactions, and expectations about learning and development. Site implementation depends on activity in several functional areas, notably professional development and technical assistance, as well as on alignment and integration of policies and practices.

Stage 5 also highlights the difference between a project-based versus a strategic approach to change. A project-based approach concentrates on implementing a given set of activities. A strategic approach works to sustain a long-term vision.

Clear communication ensures that everyone understands the rules that govern community schools and the activities that support school goals. Clear communication also ensures that practice knowledge at the site level is conveyed to policymakers so that they remain responsive to the need for appropriate policy change.

Stage 5 ushers in programmatic implementation. Even as this milestone is reached, community school leaders must continue to pay attention to the hard part of change—helping participants at all levels make the transition to new ways of thinking and behaving. Stakeholders continue to deepen their understanding and commitment to community schools principles as implementation proceeds and issues arise. Stage 5 activities enable the scaled-up system of community schools to move from an external reform to the heart of communities where learning happens.
 
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DEEPENING THE PRACTICE

In Multnomah County, Oregon, efforts are ongoing to build the collaborative capacity of partners and staff at each SUN Community School. At the beginning of each year, county-level SUN staff convene district-wide meetings in each district to bring together district leaders, principals, site managers, and agency staff. They revisit roles and responsibilities, contracts, and agreements for each SUN Community School. The meetings provide an opportunity to learn about available resources, share "what works," build relationships, and discuss challenges and solutions. At one such meeting, site managers from several schools expressed concern about their inability to communicate quickly with other staff during after-school hours. District leaders responded by providing walkie-talkies at each site to ensure effective communication.

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