Efficient Tips for Managing Change in Schools
Change is inevitable in any environment, but improvements aren’t. As such, it is important for changes to always be made with an effective strategy in mind, especially in an educational environment where growth and improvement are essential. While teachers understand the importance of schools, change doesn’t always come easily to them. Things are particularly tricky with the students who never welcome any type of change. The trick with implementing changes is to make the transition effortless for everybody and to convince both the teachers and the students that the change will make their own lives easier. Keep on reading to discover how you can achieve this.
1. Organization is essential
In order to be able to make changes for improvement, you first need to have a very clear overview of everything that is happening in a school. To do this, you will need a good management system, ideally a digitalized one. A school management software will allow you to gather all the data that you need to monitor school performance and process it with ease in order to see if you are on the right path to achieving your improvement goals. A good software should also allow teachers, students and parents access to essential information, such as grades and attendance. This way, everybody will be a part of the improvement plan. If you are worried about the costs, you should know that most software solutions are very affordable, with pricing plans based on the number of students of each school. Just make sure to choose a software which is easy to implement, and easy to use by people of all ages.
2. Put together a change management plan
First of all, a change must be backed by a proposal, which should clearly highlight what the management is hoping to achieve. The change should be compatible with the school’s policies and it should abide by the latest educational standards. Once the proposal is clarified, it needs to be assessed, meaning that you need to establish the data behind the proposal, the priorities, the risks, and the people who will be affected by the change. Next, you need to analyze the environment, to determine what procedures will be changed or replaced, what resources you can spare for implementing the change and whether or not there are any other initiatives in a plan which might affect the implementation of the planned change. Lastly, you need to plan the trial. The trial plan should include the needed resources, timeframe and the milestones for each goal, as well as the review tools which will be used for measuring the success of the trial.
3. Always do a trial
While your plan for change might seem like the best idea in the world, you should start with a trial, but don’t let go of the initial system, as you may need to go back to it, if the change turns out to be unproductive. A change should become permanent only if you have solid and consistent evidence that the change is effective and that it meets the purpose of the initiative.
4. Measuring the success of the change
During the trial period, you need to put together an inquiry cycle, to determine whether or not you are really fixing a problem, or if you are reaching your improvement goals. You need to establish from the start what, how and when you will measure the change indicators. Moreover, you need to know who will handle the measurements, how the feedback will be reported and how you will make sure that you get efficient feedback. Keep in mind that you will probably receive a lot of negative feedback, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that people are not responding well to the change. As long as the feedback is constructive, you can use it to further improve your plan for change. Moreover, by considering the opinions of the people involved in the change, you will make it a lot easier for them to accept the change.
5. Allow sufficient time for people to accept the change
No matter how effective changes may be, if the people affected by them are stressed by the timeframe of the changes, they won’t accept them. So, allow all your plans to change sufficient time to be understood and implemented. Moreover, allow both the staff and the students to prepare for the next changes. You need to understand that everybody likes stability, so it is essential to find a balance between people’s need for stability and constant changes. So, make sure your plan also includes some breaks between the changes. This will also be in the school’s interest as it will allow you to rebuild the school’s resources for the next initiative.
6. Determine when the trial stops and the change becomes permanent
At the end of the trial period, you need to inform the school staff if the change has been successful and if it will become a permanent practice. Moreover, you will need a formal report on the outcomes of the trial, in order to inform the staff if the trial will stop, if it will be extended for another period, if the new process will become an ongoing practice, and if there are any more deliberations in process. If the trial turns out to be a failure, the staff needs to be informed about the next steps. You need to establish whether you will be returning to the old system that you had before the trial, of if you will return to the old system, but with a few modifications. Keep in mind that any modifications that you will make will be considered changes, so they should have been practiced during the trial period.
By following the above instructions, you should be able to implement any change, no matter how big or small, without stressing your staff or your students. The trick is to always measure and test your ideas and to allow people sufficient time to get used to the new system.