Families & the Community Opinion

Change Requires Buy-In From Stakeholders

By Starr Sackstein — November 27, 2016 2 min read
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In order to ensure the optimal impact on student learning, we need every stakeholder involved and supporting the cause.

Students need to hear the same message from all of their teachers which is supported by administration and further supported with their greatest advocates, their parents.

Shifting the mindset of a student is challenging, but offering opportunities for adults to start reconsidering theirs is much more challenging, but not impossible.

In addition to peer to peer conversations with colleagues, staff learning opportunities will need to happen to align the school messsage.

Teachers will need support from administration who will also need resources to properly implement such a big change in traditional schooling communication.

Careful time will need to be spent working with the adults to really help them understand why. Once they why is evident, then you can work on a plan for how that best suits your individual school community. You’ll need to take into consideration the size and age level of your learners as you begin to make these decisions.

Here are some tips for starting the change:

Adults are notoriously close-minded when they are comfortable, so you’re going to have to give them proof that this new way is better.

  • Select 3-5 excellent resources that will resonate with colleagues and administrators. You can find some excellent ones on the TTOG Facebook Group.
  • Provide examples of how student learning have improved with this new method, if you have students who can talk about it, even better. Bring a student with you when you have your peer conversation informally.
  • Talk to colleagues and administrators about starting a committee for optimal implementation. For now, just drop in for an informal conversation to get the temperature of the situation with folks at your school. If you can gather a few “beta” testers with you, that will help a lot.
  • Write a letter to parents explaining the shift and inviting their input and questions
  • Set up a class hashtag on Twitter. By creating a unique hashtag on Twitter, you are creating a virtual space that will collect all tweets that use it. This can be an easy way to get questions, concerns and comments in one location to develop a dialogue.
  • Sign up for a YouTube account so you can start your Youtube channel to help keep parents informed over time.

Want to know more about getting stakeholders on board with throwing out grades, check out Hacking Assessment.

Any change worth making takes a fair effort of all stakeholders involved, so it is necessary for us to do our best to make sure the message is clear, and that lines of communication are open to answer questions that arise. Change is hard and it invokes fear in most people, so we must make sure we do what we can to ease that discomfort.

What suggestions do you have to help ease stakeholders into change in your school communities? Please share

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.