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We organize our work into three areas to help low-income youth & adults:

Ensuring that Good Programs Make a Strong Impact (Part 2 of 3)

(Part 2 of a three-part blog entry)

Getting to scale is a major goal of most initiatives both at JFF and across the country, but most of us still struggle with figuring out how to scale up what works and create real, sustainable, high-impact change. At the Achieving the Dream State Policy Meeting in Seattle, Washington on February 1st, Barbara Endel of JFF and Israel Mendoza, former State ABE Director in Washington, led a roundtable discussion on this topic, drawing on both theory and practice (in particular, how Washington has scaled up its Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST model). The conversation yielded a number of useful ways to think about how one can plan for scale, manage change, and build ownership.

Here’s a list of key considerations we came up with for managing change. (Last week, we looked at how to plan for scale. Later this week, we’ll share tips for building ownership.)

Change Management:

  • First, have a consistent message that can be used by everyone involved, whether they are policymakers or college staff. This helps build a broader understanding of what you are trying to accomplish.
  • Make sure there is deep understanding of what you are trying to do and why at all levels – staff, faculty, administrators, state leaders, etc. Keep these people informed throughout the process. Engage stakeholders early and keep them engaged.
  • Don’t assume everyone know how to do what you’re asking them to do, even if they understand why they’re supposed to do it. Make sure you’re providing technical assistance, professional development, and ongoing support.
  • The goal of your technical assistance and professional development plan should be to get people to fundamentally rethink how teaching and learning works, not just to layer new strategies and practices onto they are already doing.
  • Create incentives to get on board. In Washington, the State Board included opportunities for extra points in its RFPs for proposals that included the I-BEST model. This led colleges to think creatively about how to integrate I-BEST into the college.
  • Collect data throughout the initiative and review it as often as possible so you can make timely course corrections.

Getting to scale is a major goal of most initiatives both at JFF and across the country, but most of us still struggle with figuring out how to scale up what works and create real, sustainable, high-impact change. Do you agree with these ideas? What strategies have you used to manage change?