A Practical Approach to Continuous Improvement in Education


ERIN STAFFORD: OK, so we
are just about at 2 o’clock. I see many people have joined. So please complete the chat pod
about your location in today’s event. And with that, thank you for joining us. And I’m going to be handing
it off to Dr. Karen Shakman. Thanks for attending “A
Practical Approach to Continuous Improvement in Education.” Karen, have a great session. KAREN SHAKMAN: Thank you so much, Erin. I’m very pleased to welcome you
all to our continuous improvement Skill-Builder webinar. I’m Karen Shakman. And I, along with Sheila Rodriguez,
will be providing you with an overview of continuous improvement. And I saw from the comments in
the chat box that many of you are familiar with some of the
elements of continuous improvement. And so I know we have a group
of people joining us today who probably have some experience
with continuous improvement or some knowledge of it. And we hope that this
webinar will be helpful for those of you who have
experience, as well as for those of you who may be new to this work. And we’ll also be hearing, as Erin said,
from some of our partners in the field who’ve been doing this
work in school and district settings over the last school
year, last year into this year. So to begin we have a full agenda today. We’ll begin by introducing
continuous improvement. And then we’ll introduce an
education-specific case example that we’ll be using throughout the workshop. We will then go over– many
of you mentioned in the pod– the Plan, Do, Study,
Act, or the PDSA cycle. And we’ll introduce some tools
that you can use in the field. We’ll then end with some
final thoughts, next steps, and close out with an evaluation. And we hope that you’ll stay
on and be sure to complete the evaluation as well. We encourage you throughout
the workshop to use the chat box to ask questions or make comments. We do not have a formal
Q&A part of the workshop because it is jam packed with content. But we will be monitoring the chat and
trying to respond to those comments and questions as we go. So I’ll turn it over to Sheila
Rodriguez now who’s going to orient us to continuous improvement. SHEILA RODRIGUEZ: Thank
you so much, Karen. So my name is Sheila Rodriguez. And in response before we continue on
to define what continuous improvement is and respond to the
whole question that you saw in the lobby on what continuous
improvement means to you, some of you stated that continuous improvement
is following a PDSA model to result in better outcomes, defining a
problem, collecting data, analyzing data, and making change to visions. And some of you mentioned
that it was a cyclical process of planning, implementing, and
analyzing activity to improve outcomes. I think those are all great responses
on what continuous improvement is. But to begin continuous improvement. Continuous improvement
basically is a process of addressing a specific problem by
utilizing iterative cycles to test changes which guided the development,
revision, and fine tuning of a tool or initiative. People who are involved
in this process focus on specific tasks, processes, or tools. They test them in real contexts.
They study this process. And then they make decisions based on
what they learn from the chain cycle. It also allows you to collect data on
those processes and outcomes resulting in data that will drive decisions. Well now we’re going
to actually show you a short animated whiteboard video clip
on quality improvement and health care. Oftentimes in health care it is
known as quality improvement. But in education it’s come to be
called continuous improvement. Now this video provides a brief
description of quality improvement and some of its key concepts. Dr. Mike Evans, who’s a
professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of
Toronto and the creator of this video, presents a brief history
of quality improvement and the model for improvement. So I want to just mention before we
start the video to please make sure that your computer speakers are on. And if you have joined via
phone the sound of the video will come through your computer
speakers and not the phone. So let’s watch this video. [VIDEO PLAYBACK]
[WRITING SOUNDS] -Hi, I’m Dr. Mike Evans. And today’s talk is on
quality improvement, or– [RESTART VIDEO]
[WRITING SOUNDS] -Hi, I’m Dr. Mike Evans. And today’s talk is on quality
improvement, or QI in health care. So I suppose the first
question is why should you, or I, care about quality improvement. I mean, to be honest,
it sounds a bit boring. [SNORES] Something a CEO would have on
her or his corporate objectives. But actually, if you
dig a little deeper, it’s pretty cool, maybe more
a philosophy or an attitude about how to make something better. And now that I think about
it, it’s really the attitude I’m looking for in my patients:
the ability and desire to tweak their habits, seeing if
this change improves their life, and if it does to try to
make it standard practice. You see, for my patients to make
these changes require their skills. But it’s also an outlook. The humility and
self-awareness to say, hm, I’ve got room for improvement, the
ability to gather better approaches, try them on, and see if they work,
and then adapt them until they do. Well, if my patients can do that I
think they deserve the same thing from us in the health care business. So I suppose the next question
is, if we have the attitude how do we actually improve? How we use QI to make care better? Well, the improvement business
has been around for a while. Organizations like
Toyota, and Bell Labs, and leaders like Walter Shewhart,
W. Edwards Deming and Joseph Juran polished and simplified
the science of improvement. And then along came a
pediatrician named Don Berwick. And he wondered if we could translate
the science of building better cars or electronics to health care. Dr. Berwick also wondered if there were
lessons about systems we could learn from the kids he saw in his clinic. -The systems thinker is a
perpetually curious person who never thinks they
have the whole answer, but is always willing to know
what the next step to take is. [END PLAYBACK] SHEILA RODRIGUEZ: So you’ll note that
the context of the video was medicine. But we imagine that you can
see parallels with education. In particular, Berwick
talked about being a systems thinker with constant
curiosity about the world. And Evans identified continuous
improvement as an attitude, or an outlook, that requires humility. Now we think it’s helpful to have this
idea of continuous improvement in mind. As we go through this workshop and think
about the tools, the tools are helpful. But it’s important to remember
that continuous improvement is more than just as set of tools. It’s a way of thinking
about systems change. Karen, I turn it to you. KAREN SHAKMAN: Thank you, Sheila. Now I would like to take some time
to talk about what we’re referring to as the six core improvement principles. And these come from
the Carnegie Foundation that has established
these principles as a way to think about continuous
improvement in general terms. So I’m going to walk
through each of them and provide a little bit of explanation. But you’ll see these come up again in
various ways throughout the workshop. The number one: continuous
improvement starts with the question. What specific problem
are we trying to solve? This problem should be
clearly defined and specific. For example, a problem that’s stated
broadly– such as students are not learning– will not be as useful
in continuous improvement, but a problem that is clearly
and specifically stated, something like middle school students
are not gaining the math skills they need by the end of eighth grade. We’ll walk through the
process of developing a problem using what we call the
fishbone, or cause and effect, diagram. Second, and this is
the hard one, Carnegie states that variation in performance
is a core problem to address. More importantly,
understanding the source of that variation in
performance, whether it’s the performance of students,
teachers, or others, is critical work. Why are half of the students in my class
performing below 70% on the math facts? Which students are performing that way? Unpacking that variation is
a critical piece of CI work, continuous improvement work. That variation suggests a
direction for improvement. Then variation comes into play
again once you implement the change. Do you see any variation
from your baseline? Does the number of students who
don’t know their math facts go down? If so, what did you do
that made a difference? You’re always watching that variation
and trying to understand it. Number three, we need to see the system
that produces the current outcome. We need to understand our context
and the relationship of our context to the outcomes we’re achieving. The improvement guide, which is sort
of the Bible of continuous improvement or improvement science. There was a questions in the
chat about distinguishing between improvement science, quality
improvement, continuous improvement. And my philosophy is that there
is a lot of different terms that get tossed around, but the
general concept is the same. And the improvement
guide is a great resource if you’re interested in
knowing a lot about this field. And in the improvement guide they
argue that all systems are designed to get exactly the results they do. So understanding that
system, and what it is about the system that might
be contributing to the result, is really critical work. For example, if a district is seeing
a repeated problem retaining teachers past the second year, then the district
leadership has to take a good look at what in the system is contributing. Is it a lack of principal leadership? Is it first-year teachers’ salaries
or limited induction program? Any of these things might be
contributing to the problem. And the district, or
the folks participating in continuous improvement, have
to look through the system. Number four, we cannot improve
at scale what we cannot measure. Here is where the data comes in. If we don’t understand why something
is working on a small scale, we can’t hope to scale those successes. Therefore, it’s critical to gather
data both about the processes we are putting in place and testing and
about the outcomes we hope to achieve. For example, if a district hopes
to improve math instruction in the early grades by implementing
a new instructional strategy, it’s not enough to use an
annual student assessment. We also have to capture
data about what’s happening during math
instructional time, what teachers and students are doing. And with that information
we can scale successes. Fifth, continuous improvement
is disciplined inquiry. It’s not enough to just
have the idea that something will work and give it a try. It’s a systematic and disciplined
approach that requires some rigor and leadership to see it through. And this workshop will
introduce you to some of those tools and processes that make
it that kind of systematic inquiry. Finally, Carnegie encourages this
work to be done collectively. We will argue throughout the workshop
about the importance of the group who comes together to work on
this, rather than having a top-down imposition of a change. And Carnegie suggests that
the impact of this work can be enhanced even further by
engaging in what they call network improvement communities, made up of
diverse entities with a common problem to solve. Carnegie has engaged networks of
organizations interested in addressing a common educational issue,
such as college pathways, and involved institutes of
higher ed across the region or across the state to
participate together. We would encourage you to think
about others in your own universe who share common issues and problems and
whether you might consider connecting around one of these common problems. I will now turn it over to Sheila,
who is going to orient you to what we call the model for improvement. SHEILA RODRIGUEZ: Thank
you so much, Karen. So there are three essential
questions that guide the continuous improvement process. And these are known as
the model for improvement. The first question is, what
problem are we trying to solve? The intention here is I’m clearly
articulating a problem, or an issue, that requires attention. In defining the problem, one identifies
the aim, or objective, that you intend to accomplish through the process. This aim should target
a specific population, it should be time-specific,
and be measurable. The second question is, what
changes may we introduce and why? And this is where the process
requires key participants to develop, test, and implement changes. Selecting, testing, and
implementing these changes, such as trying out new
protocols or processes, is at the core of
continuous improvement. So for example, a district wants
to improve their evaluation process by improving the conversation that takes
place between a principal and teacher. So they had decided to develop a
questionnaire with a set of questions that the principal can use to
have more engaging conversations with the teacher. Now the third question
is, how will we know that a change is an actual improvement? Now this is where you examine whether
the change you tested out, in fact, addressed the problem and made
some meaningful improvement. So these are the essential
questions that guide the continuous improvement process. And we will return to
them in a few minutes. But first, I’m going to
hand it off to my colleague, MP Avery, who is the facilitator for
the English Language Learners Alliance. And she’s going to introduce our first
practitioner who will talk about what inspired her to employ a continuous
improvement process to address a problem in their district, MP. MARIA-PAZ AVERY: Thank you, Sheila. So as the facilitator for the
English Language Learners Alliance, I had presented the REL-NEI
plan to create a project on continuous improvement
using the Plan, Do, Study, Act rapid improvement cycle process. I presented this at a meeting of the
Connecticut Administrators of Programs for English Language Learners. As a member of that group, Karen Lapuk,
also a member of the ELLA core planning group and an administrator for ESL at
Windham, Connecticut, Public Schools, approached me with interest in
participating in the project as the way of involving ESL teachers
in improving the co-teaching model that had been initiated by the district. We agreed that providing
Windham with coaching support of the continuous improvement approach
would be a systematic way of enhancing the co-teaching model with ESL
and English language arts teachers to better integrate both the ESOL
teacher into the teaching process, and to integrate the ESL student
into the mainstream classroom. So let me turn it now to Karen
Lapuk who is the director of ESOL and bilingual education
in Windham, Connecticut. Karen? Karen is probably unmuting herself. Welcome, Karen. KAREN LAPUK: Hi. Yeah, so the problem
we faced in Windham was creating a language arts program that
was be accessible to English learners. I inherited a program that had
been taken over by the state. Transitional bilingual
education had been dismantled. And a co-teaching model
had been put in place. The co-teaching was impacted by teacher
turnover, the programmatic changes. And both ESOL and language arts
teachers were frustrated in how it was moving forward, or not moving forward. I was familiar with the REL, as MP
said, through the work I’ve done with various groups in Connecticut. And I thought continuous
improvement might be a way to create buy-in among
my teachers and also to promote the expertise
of the ESOL teachers that I had who’d done
the work for years. And they were working with many
newer English language arts teachers. So that’s how we got involved. MARIA-PAZ AVERY: Thank you, Karen. And just to let you know
what actually happened. So as Karen mentioned the problem was,
how to integrate the ESOL teachers in a much better way into the
instruction that was happening in the classroom, and
not just being relegated to work only with the ESL teacher. Because as a result of
that the ESL students also tended to be less engaged. So the project was– the
PDSA problem that we designed was both to integrate the ESOL
teachers into the general ed classroom, and also increase the active
participation of the ESL students in the work that was
going on in the classroom. So that’s how we started
the work with Connecticut. Let me turn this over
now to Sheila Rodriguez. SHEILA RODRIGUEZ: Thank
you so much, MP and Karen. So let’s move on. So drawing on some of the aspects
of Karen Lapuk’s story in Windham, we actually developed a case that
builds off on that challenge. Now you should all have the
workbook, either because you downloaded it from the registration page
or because we sent it to you by email. And we hope that you have
read the case example, which is on page 11 of your workbook. If you have not done already, you
can download the workbook now. And it should be at the
bottom of your screen. So assuming that you have read the case,
here is a brief review of the case. So the case is about a school district
that has experienced an increase in the number of English learners. Most teachers have no former training
in teaching English learner students. And the district has hired ESL teachers
to provide support to general education teachers at every level. Now teachers have noticed
that English learner students display a limited engagement. And this is where you would see that
variation that Karen talked about, in terms of student engagement
and English learner students not performing on par with their peers. Now the district has
implemented some team teaching between the general education
teachers and the ESL teacher. However, in the past the
ESL teachers have not been part of the planning and
implementation of the classroom curriculum, and were often just
relegated to the back of the class with the English learner students. Now we’re going to ask
you now to work on this. And so we’re going to
do our first activity. And what we want you to
think about is the three essential questions for
the model for improvement in the English learner student case. Here are the three questions. And we have already answered the second
question for you, which is actually on page 12 of the workbook, where it
states that the district has introduced the change as a protocol,
or planning tool, to support planning for
the team-teaching model. So now we want you to consider
the other two questions. And so we’re going to
have you do an activity. And basically the two questions
that we want you to focus on is what is the specific problem that
this district is trying to solve? And knowing what the proposed
change is, how will we know that it changes in actual improvement? And so we’re going to
have you take these two polls that’s up on your screen. And so in thinking about
these two questions, in thinking about the English
learner case, what do you think is the specific problem that
this district is trying to solve? And I’m going to give you just a
moment to put in some responses for the first question. So I see that multiple
people are answering. And now knowing that the proposed
change is this planning protocol. If you want to start answering
the second question is, how will we know that a change
is an actual improvement? So think about, in other words,
what might be some indicators that the change implemented,
the planning protocol, is moving the needle in terms
of addressing the problem? I’m going to give you a few moments
here to answer these two questions regarding the English learner case. We see here that people are stating
that the specific problem is increasing engagement in general education
classes by ESL students, engagement and collaboration
between teachers. Also a specific problem is low
engagement among those English learner students. Also they want to increase academic
engagement of the EL students. This is great. We have a lot of great responses here. Now in thinking on the
third question here, how will we know the change
is an actual improvement? So thinking about this planning protocol
that they’re going to implement. How do you think they’re going to
know that there’s been an improvement? And here we have a couple
of people are responding. And we have here there is more active
participation by the English learner students in the classroom. There is maybe increased ELL scores
on state and local assessments. That’s a great way of knowing if
there is actually an improvement made. Participation among the students. Also student engagement
improved within the classroom. These are all great responses. Also create a protocol that will
identify specific indicators that have been defined by
the team, as improved participation is another way to see if
there has been an actual improvement. Great. So now we’re going to move along. This is great that everybody is engaged
in this and participating in this. And so you’re also going to
see that in your workbook that you’re also invited to
come up with your own problem and think about it as we
work through this webinar, or even later when you
return to the materials. But for now I think
we’re going to move on. And I’m going to turn it over to Karen. Karen? KAREN SHAKMAN: Thank you. What a great set of ideas
there that people presented. And again, I think a question
was raised in the chat that I think is helpful to call out. Well, it was raised as a sort of a
question to be asked about the context. And my colleague, MP,
reminded folks in the chat that it’s really important to
start with defining the problem and stating it as a problem. And something that we’ve said
in our work in the field, is that we think it’s hard sometimes
for people, especially in education, to fit with the problem. But that’s a really important part
of the continuous improvement process is really to define the problem. So we encourage you to think
about each of these questions, and not skip over them. These questions will
guide our discussion. And it’s important to spend
time with each of the questions. So I just wanted to thank
MP for calling that out. So now many of you in the chat
made reference to the PDSA, or Plan, Do, Study, Act cycle. And I’d like to start our presentation
of the Plan, Do, Study, Act cycle, which will be
something that we’ll talk about over the next many slides,
over several minutes of the workshop. Because it’s an essential part of
the continuous improvement process. It is one of several approaches
that teams could use to engage in cycles of continuous improvement. And while there are other
approaches, this process is one that we think you will
find accessible and familiar to your own work. However, while we could probably do this
kind of cycle informally all the time, the task of continuous improvement is
to engage in this work in the cycle formally, systematically,
and repeatedly. So there are four phases. And the first is the Plan phase. And in the Plan phase the team
clarifies the problem and the aim for the cycle of improvement. During this step the team will also
define both what they intend to test, such as developing or
refining a protocol or tool, and the metrics or
measures for assessing whether they have met
their aims, including both process and outcome measures. Here is where they ask, what will
happen if we try something different? Tools such as the cause and effect,
or what we call the fishbone diagram, and the driver diagram
are very useful here. And we’ll be introducing
them in the next few minutes. During the Do phase, the
team implements the change. They try it.
And they collect data. During the Study phase participants
examine the data together and consider the extent to which the
change is addressing the specific aims, or targets, for the cycle. Here they ask, did it work? For example, is the implementation
of a new planning protocol being used by all middle school English
language arts and ESL teacher teams? Is the data also showing increased
engagement of EL students? Many of the examples that you
brought up during that last activity would be the kind of things
you would look for here. And finally, there is the Act phase. And during the Act
phase, all that learning that was generated by engaging in
the process, by doing the work, and collecting, and looking at data
together, all of that is synthesized. And then some decisions are made. Here is where they decide, what next? For example, is another PDSA cycle
called for with more teachers or students in a different context? Are there changes to the protocol? Should the tool be scaled up to
other grades or subject areas? All of these kinds of questions
get answered at this step. And to really address
the problem you would have to engage in this PDSA cycle. Now we pose this question here. Can you think of
examples from daily life in which you engage in PDSA cycles? So before we move on, let’s think
about our lives and all the ways we engage in PDSA in our regular life. So, for example, we’re
stuck in the snow. And we need to figure out
how to get our car out. So we might try several strategies. You might try digging
it out, putting down sand, driving backwards and forwards. Or we’re trying to get our
baby to try a new food. We might try hiding
the food in applesauce, or using an airplane noise
to distract the child and get the peas into her mouth. And many other ways we employ
these strategies every day to make some kind of change. And this is just a reminder here,
that we engage in these kind of iterative cycles every day. So what we are presenting
shouldn’t be overwhelming. It’s just that what we
do with the PDSA cycle is that we provide tools to systematize
this way of approaching a problem. So why use the PDSA Cycle? Why have a formal process? It can be valuable for several reasons. First, engaging in the cycle helps
to clearly define the change. For example, the general idea to match
English language arts and ESOL teachers becomes very real when the
planning protocol is used. And it reveals just how
different that way of working is from the way teachers
worked in the past. PDSA cycles help to evaluate
how much improvement can be expected from a given change idea. For example, it makes real just how much
a co-planning and co-teaching model can be expected to influence students’
learning, which will have implications for how much
a school or a department might get behind that change. Engaging in PDSA cycles also
increases the buy in of participants. As Karen said in her comments
about their work in Windham, she wanted to increase the buy
in of the faculty in co-teaching. And engaging in PDSA cycles
is a good way to do that. If people engage in this work in
a small scale and see results, they may be more likely to
pursue this work in the future. If the English language arts teacher
who worked effectively with her ESL counterpart sees her students
answering more questions in class and being on task more of the time
then she may be more likely to pursue this change, and talk it up to others. Finally, engaging in PDSA cycles
supports thinking about the combination of changes that makes the difference. Is it the planning protocol
that made the difference? Or does teacher training
really yield results? Does one kind of change yield
results without the other, or are they needed together? Maybe we learned that the all-school
training provided to teachers really didn’t move the needle, but that
more one-on-one coaching is warranted. Or we learned that other
levels of the system are needed, such as central
office, to really make this kind of co-teaching model work. Again, engaging in PDSA
cycles helps to disentangle the different elements of
a change and determine what might be making the most difference. Just a note here that if you’re
following along in your workbook that we have on page 14 a planning chart
that provides guidance on what happens at each stage of the PDSA cycle. We’re going to walk through
each of these phases. And you’ll see up in the corner
a little pie piece for Plan. And we would start, obviously, with
the Plan phase of the PDSA cycle. But very first, before
we get into what’s an essential piece of
the planning phase, which is defining the problem
and the change to be tested, a few words to the wise about
how to approach the work in general. You should really start small,
specific, and discrete in what you attempt to test for your PDSA cycle. A PDSA cycle can really be as small
as trying out a new morning greeting in your classroom or
implementing a new meeting protocol during a regular team meeting. It doesn’t have to be a big change. And, in fact, it really shouldn’t be. Think about small, specific,
and discrete changes that can be implemented, tested, and studied. And pretty much have the understanding
that nothing is really too small. It’s important also–
and we’ve said this, and we’ll say it again– that
a team is engaged in this work. And you want to be sure you have
the right people: both those who have the authority to
implement bigger changes and those who every day will
be carrying out the changes. Both those kinds of people should
be included in the planning work. And that’s the group that should
define the problem and the aim or goal of the work, as well as
the change idea to implement. And as we’ve mentioned, there
are some tools to support this work, which we’ll go through now. They are the fishbone diagram
and the driver diagram. The fishbone diagram
defines the problem, and the driver diagram supports the
development of a set of change ideas that the team expects
will address the problem defined in the fishbone diagram. And I think we would like to encourage
you to be sure that you make time– and I think you’ll hear
this from our partners– be sure that you make time
to work through those, to have the right people at the
table, to not rush this Plan phase. Because a lot of important
work happens in this phase. So now we’ll start with
the fishbone diagram. As I said, the fishbone
diagram identifies the problem, the factors that
are associated with that problem, and the causes of those factors. Again, multiple perspectives
are important here. So I’m going to play
this out with an example. And you’ll have to humor us. We tried to come up with
a very accessible example, which will carry out
through the workshop, along with the English learner example. So this basic example should help to
illustrate how to use these tools. We’ll ask you to use the English
learner example for the activities, as you did just before. So for our basic example, we draw
on something many of us may face, which is trying to be healthy and fit. We want you to imagine that a woman
makes a visit to her doctor who runs some tests and determines that
she’s not in good physical shape, that physically she has
elevated levels of cholesterol and blood sugar, which are represented
by this delicious looking cheese burger. So she and her doctor determine
that she needs to get to the bottom of this issue and increase her health. So she creates a fishbone diagram
to further unpack the problem. So her doctor determines with
her that the problem– which goes to the far left of the
diagram, and then you’ll see it looks kind of like a fishbone– is high
levels of cholesterol and blood sugar. But what factors are
contributing to the problem? Well, she eats fatty foods,
and she doesn’t exercise. But what might be causing her
to, for example, eat fatty foods? Perhaps she doesn’t have time in
the morning to prepare her lunch. So she runs out and grabs fast
food for her lunch each day. And in addition to that, she
doesn’t particularly enjoy cooking. So she finds herself eating
quick and easy foods, which may be highly processed or high in fat. So you see here we’re unpacking
the problem step by step and beginning to examine the factors
that contribute to the problem, and then beneath that the causes. So she’s setting herself
up in this way to generate possible strategies to change
some of these behaviors that are creating the problem. And with that I’d like to
turn it over to Sheila. And she’s going to take you to
an activity to think about how you generate a fishbone diagram. SHEILA RODRIGUEZ: Thank you
so much, Karen, for that. So we’re now going to switch back
to the education-related case that’s focused on English learners. And remember that we have
a mid-sized school district with a high number of English
learners and limited capacity to address their needs. Despite the fact that
teachers and leaders have noted that English learner
students are not as engaged and they’re not performing
on par with their classmates. So the district has defined a problem. And they have begun to unpack the
factors that may be contributing. Now in the incomplete fishbone
diagram, they’ve identified one factor. And that is that general education
teachers do not have experience with English learner students. So here we have a
fishbone diagram, again. And what we’d like you to do is we want
you to come up with some causes that may be contributing to the factor
of general education teachers having limited experience, and
perhaps limited comfort level teaching English learner students. So for example, maybe
it’s a lack of training. So you will see there is a
chat pod below the slide. And if you can please put in
some responses of what you think would be some causes
contributing to the factor. So I see that multiple
people are trying to type in. And Karen stated here there’s no
training at the pre-service level. That EL training is not part
of the credential program. So we have another one
here stating that there’s a lack of understanding of the cultural
background of English learner students. And that could very well be
some of the causes for this. There was also, there
is a lack of training. A lot of people here are little
exposure to English learner students. Districts are hiring the wrong teachers. Another one said that it’s not part
of their teacher prep training. So that could be a factor. Also here there’s a need
for coaching teachers. You guys have a lot of
great responses here to what may be some of the causes for this. Didn’t grow up around ELLs. There’s an assumption that ESL
teachers will deal with these students. And that’s a great point too. KAREN SHAKMAN: Sheila,
I really like the way that folks are being generative here
about a whole range of potential causes that might be contributing to this. And again, the thing to
think about is that when you would do this kind
of fishbone diagram– and people should continue
to type in– the idea would be to have multiple
perspectives here so that you could generate as many ideas as possible. Not that you would necessarily
be able to address all of them through your continuous
improvement, but that you would generate as many ideas
as possible, so that all the assumptions are on the table. And then you can selects
where you go from here. SHEILA RODRIGUEZ: Great. So we’ll give you another moment here to
respond before I hand it off to Karen. And so here we have another
saying many students do not have access to the resources or exposure. We need more research, yes,
on instructional practices that are effective with these students. That’s definitely a need, and
definitely a cause to this. There’s a comfort
level in lecture style, in teaching, and discomfort
in multiple approaches to assisting English learner students. Thank you. You guys have been
really great with this. So I think what we’re going to
do is we’re going to move on. And I’m going to hand it off
to Karen, who is now going to be talking about driver diagrams.
Karen? KAREN SHAKMAN: Thank you, Sheila. So, you can see how
that activity gives you a sense of how fishbone
diagrams can really help to generate a full
range of possible issues that could be addressed. And again, that’s not to
say that they will all be addressed through the
continuous improvement process. You know, when I did work
with one of the districts they generated a lot of
potential issues that they knew they weren’t going to address. But it was important to get
them all out on the table. And that’s what the
fishbone diagram can do. Again, it’s a useful tool for generating
the problems and related factors that are contributing to the problems. So again, like unpacking
it, like peeling the onion, getting down to what are some of the
causes contributing to the problems? And with that, a driver
diagram is another useful tool that really essentially flips
the fishbone diagram on its head. So the fishbone diagram
addresses the problem. And the driver diagram uses that
fishbone diagram as a starting point to help define the overall aim or goal,
which is in essence, a restatement of the problem in the affirmative. So if the problem is having high levels
of cholesterol, or being overweight, as in the example that
we played before, then the related goal may be to lose
weight and change one’s diet. So you see how it’s kind of a mirror
of the aim or goal that you identify. The driver diagram kind of
mirrors the problem that you’ve identified in the fishbone diagram. And then the driver diagram defines
the key strategies for change ideas that might serve to address the
problem and achieve the defined aim. So in this way, the driver diagram
establishes a logical, smaller, and more tangible goals and supports,
the selection of specific actions or changes to be tried and tested. It’s also a helpful graphic
representation of the work the group does together to define
the appropriate actions to take and how they relate to the
aim or goal to be achieved. And again, if you’re following
along in your workbook periodically you’ll see on the slide. Here we’re on page 18. So a little bit about the
elements of the driver diagram. There are essentially four
elements to a driver diagram. So where the fishbone
diagram defined a problem, the driver diagram determines
an aim or goal for the work. This represents the overall vision
and what you’re striving for. And it can be specific or stated
broadly based on the context. I’ve seen driver diagrams that do both. Then the primary driver,
and the secondary driver, further define the ways
to address the problem. The primary drivers are the
factors that are expected to have some impact on the aim. And the secondary drivers are
more specific leverage points that impact those primary drivers. And if you’re sitting
here thinking, what? We’re going to show
you an example and then have you work with a different example. So they’re the change ideas finally. And they are the interventions,
or work practices, that are predicted to impact
the secondary drivers. They are what you will– ultimately
from the change ideas you identify something that you will
test through your PDSA cycle. And you’ll notice as you move along down
the diagram and you move from the aim to the change ideas, you get more
focused on actions to be taken. So I’m going to walk you
through this in the next slide, again, with our example of the woman
who’s aiming to increase her health. And then you’ll try it again
with the English learner example. So remember that our
friend’s problem was elevated cholesterol and blood sugar. What can she do to address the problem? First, she establishes her aim or goal. And we put it here, to lose
15 pounds in three months. That’s a specific aim or
goal that she’s defined. And then the drivers she generates
are actually connected to the causes she identified in her fishbone diagram. So where one factor in
the fishbone diagram was that she did not exercise, in
the driver diagram that will get turned on its head to
become a primary driver. While the details aren’t
worked out yet at this level, she knows that’s a primary driver. She knows that if she’s
going to lose weight, she’s going to have to exercise. Note that there are
several primary drivers. One alone might not be sufficient. But in combination, they’re
expected to have the desired impact; expected to affect her aim or
goal, or achieve her aim or goal. Then her secondary drivers
unpack the primary drivers to consider the key levers for change. So take the exercise example. Perhaps she doesn’t have access to
exercise because she doesn’t have a gym to attend or a class to take. Or perhaps she hates to exercise alone. So a lever related to
exercise might be to increase her social support for exercise. And then finally, how
does she translate this into actionable, specific change ideas? Perhaps establishing a formal plan,
such as taking a specific class or joining a running group,
are just the change ideas to implement that will ultimately
move the needle on her overall aim. And you can sort of follow the logic
back again from the change idea, to the secondary, to the primary
drivers, to her ultimate aim or goal. Let me just pause here and let
you take it in for a moment and see how we have
the aim, we have a set of primary drivers, that link
to secondary drivers, that lead to change ideas. Now this is not to say that she’s
necessarily going to simultaneously implement all of these change ideas. But she’s generated all
of these change ideas that she’ll then decide how
to play them out and what try. And that she can then, imagining
she’s doing a PDSA cycle, she can then collect some
data on how it’s going. And someone raises the question, is
this kind of a reverse logic model? You know, there is a way in
which this is like a logic model. But oftentimes logic
models might address– one of the things we thought
about in some of our work– is logic models might
address a much larger issue. And you might use a driver
diagram with something specific within that logic model. So again, there’s a lot
of work out there related to strategically implementing changes. But I think of a driver
diagram as a useful tool that might be implemented within
a larger theory of change, or a larger action plan. So now I’m going to turn
it back to Sheila, who’s going to take us into an
activity where you try this out, again, with the English learner case. SHEILA RODRIGUEZ: Thank you, Karen. Well now, we’re going to have you
participate in another activity on determining the primary and
secondary drivers related to the case. Now in the next slide, I’m going
to show you a driver diagram for the English learner student case. And then we’re going
to show you three polls that are each going to have the same
choices for all three questions. So here is an incomplete driver diagram. And there are three polls, each with the
same options, and each of the choices will go somewhere on a driver diagram. And your goal is to choose the
correct option for each poll. Now, we want you to first choose the
correct primary driver that you think is related to that aim, which is
to engage English learner students and increase their achievement. What do you think would be
the correct primary driver that’s related to that aim? I’m going to give you a moment
here to answer that first poll. And then once you think
about the primary driver and choosing that primary driver
that’s related to the aim, let’s now choose a
secondary driver related to the primary driver, which
is increasing the respect for ESL teachers and their knowledge. So what is one secondary
driver that you think would be related to that primary
driver of increasing respect for ESL teachers and their knowledge? So here we have on the first one I
saw on the poll the majority of you chose the increase in the
capacity of the general educators to engage EL students, which is right. And then, the secondary driver. There are still people trying
to choose a secondary driver. And so the majority of you
have chosen to establish ESL teachers of members of the team. That’s related to increasing
the respect for the ESL teachers and their knowledge. And then the third, what
is the change idea related to the secondary driver,
which is establish ESL teachers as members of the team? And I see here, a lot of you are
getting that a change idea is the ESL teachers actually
leading a discussion in a department meeting per month. This is great that you
guys are understanding the driver diagram related to
the English learner student case. Great, so we can move on. Thank you so much for your
participation in this. So as we demonstrate here in
the complete driver diagram, the aim statement is to engage
English learner students and increase their achievement. But how? So what are some primary drivers
directly related to the aim? Now remember that a
primary driver is a fact that has a direct impact on the aim. So increasing the capacity
of general education teachers with English learners students, while
not yet indicating how to do that, is certainly critical to
improving English learner student engagement and achievement. Now the other primary
driver here is to increase the respect for the ESL teachers. Now as the district believes
the ESL teachers are, in essence, an untapped resource. So what is the secondary driver,
which would be a critical leverage point for increasing respect to
establish them as more formerly members of the team so they’ll
be called on as a resource and engage in planning
curriculum and strategies? Then, how does the district
actually address the aim? What specific strategies, or
processes, might have an influence? And these are the change ideas. Now you’ll see one highlighted here. The change is to have ESL teachers
lead discussions in department meetings to elevate their status and help
promote them as colleagues and peers. Note that in building
a driver diagram we go from more general to more specific. It’s a logical progression from the
most general aim to a specific practice. So now, once we’ve done
all of this planning, you’ll note that in
the corner of the slide that we are transitioning to
the third phase of the cycle. Now, once we’ve done all this planning
and we’re implementing a change idea, we’ll need to be collecting all kinds of
data, now related both to the outcomes and processes so we can study the data
and make decisions about what worked, what didn’t, and what
needs to be modified. And so this is where
measurement comes in. And so I’m going to talk a little bit
about measurement for improvement. So measurement for
improvement is generally intended to focus on a relatively
small set of change ideas that may be implemented, studied, and refined. Now rather than advancing generalizable
theory, measurement for improvement is focused on testing
out a working theory of change in a particular context. In short, measurement for
improvement identifies which problems or opportunities for
improvement exist within the system, generates baseline data for the
purpose of assessing improvements, gathers data related to
improvements from the baseline, and gathers data about
the processes employed. So the Carnegie Foundation has
come up with this term practical measures to refer to the
kinds of measures they recommend for continuous improvement. And these are measures
that should be embedded in the regular work of practitioners
and the process of teaching or learning. Now it should not pull them away from
their work or take them too much time. They should be captured
frequently so that the data can inform changes on a continuous basis. Now you don’t want to wait
until the end of the semester to know what worked and what didn’t. You want indicators of how a
change is working all along. So that way you can make revisions,
changes, and tweaks as you go. And these measures should be
acceptable to practitioners who will administer them and who will
use the results to make decisions. So a few suggestions to
implementing practical measures is to plan data collection to align
with the daily reality of practitioners, to collect data that is relevant
and useful to the practitioners, and then consider if the relevant
data is already being collected. So what we’re going to do now is I’m
going to use the health example, again that Karen talked about before, to
think about how a driver diagram can be useful in generating
appropriate measures, both related to the outcomes of
interest, which is identified here in the aims statement, and
then related to the processes, which is identified in the
drivers and change ideas. So remember that the aim here is
to lose 15 pounds in three months. So it’s fairly obvious that a
measure of the patient’s weight is the outcome measure of interest. But is that enough? How will she know that she’s
developed a plan that is sustainable, and will allow her to take the weight
off, and live a healthier lifestyle? And so that’s where the
process measure comes in. So I want to take a little pause here
to talk about what process measures are. And so process measures are
sensitive to the processes, tools, and strategies being tried
and pick up on little changes that they’re implemented. They are able to predict the
likelihood of achieving the aim. So in other words, they
provide information that teams can use to determine
if they are on the right track. If not, then changes can be made
along the way, even small changes, and then checked. Finally, they provide information about
how and why changes in the outcome may or may not be occurring. So what we’re going to do
now is we’re going to take a look at the health example again. So here we identify, obviously,
that the weight is the outcome. So what can she do to lose weight? So one thing that she can do, is she
can increase her exercise regimen. And so, therefore, what would
be some good process measures that she can utilize to track this? And she can keep her exercise
log, and then also have a Fitbit so that she can track her progress. So, let’s take a look at
the next primary driver, which is increasing her awareness
of daily exercise and food. So what can she do to make
sure that this is happening? What would be some
good process measures? So in this one she can
actually keep a food diary and track her caloric intake so
that way she can keep track of what, and how much she is eating,
and making sure that she’s making those healthy choices. So here are some examples of the
types of process measures we might use in education: daily tracking
data, classroom observation data, or teacher and student logs all
provide information about what’s happening in the classroom. Who is participating,
how often, when, and how? It can also be helpful to
track counts of students related to specific
activities, especially if you’re looking at engagement. And finally, simple and quick
assessment, such as Do Nows or Entry and Exit Tickets will
provide quick information, but that may provide a wealth of data
about how changes are playing out. Now you’re going to hear a little
bit from our next practitioner on the kinds of data they collect
for different process measures. But first, before we go to our
second practitioner testimonial, I want to turn it over to Karen. KAREN SHAKMAN: OK there’s been
lots of good questions and comments in the chat, which I’d like
to turn to momentarily. But before I do, I want
to talk a little bit. Remember we talked about the PDSA cycle. We talked quite a bit about
what happens in the Plan cycle. In the Do cycle you obviously do the
work and you collect some data on it. And Sheila has just finished
talking about the Study phase, when you’re really investigating
what worked and what didn’t, and why, and raising questions about your data,
and getting ready to go do it again. And then we get to the Act phase. And in the Act phase, that’s
when you really make decisions about what the next steps are. And again remember, we said
that it’s an iterative process. And so you wouldn’t just
do your PDSA cycle once. You would want to do it multiple times
and learn from each of those times to implement changes as you
move into your next cycle. So you ask yourself if the
change was an actual improvement. And in doing that you
ask yourself, should the change be tested on a larger scale? If it was an improvement, if you
did see change, then you ask, should we do this again? But should we do it with more teachers,
or more students, with other schools? So again, that’s where
you would scale it up. And that would be one way that
you might act as a response to what you’ve learned from a cycle. You would also ask, do
adjustments need to be made? So maybe part of your planning protocol
worked well, but certain aspects of it did not really go well. And then you would identify
certain adjustments that you might make to the protocol,
and then try those out again. And then finally, there is always the
possibility that no change occurred. And then you need to ask
yourself whether or not the idea should be abandoned. Maybe the protocol that you
used, the planning protocol, just didn’t work well. And the group needs to go
back to the drawing board and develop a new change
idea or a new approach based on what was learned
from the prior PDSA cycle. And again, as we said,
this is iterative. And in the Act phase you make
decisions about that next cycle. And I just wanted to make
a comment before I move on, someone had raised– I think Patrice had
raised– with the example of our friend with the healthy living
that our example, identified some technical
aspects of change like exercise or eat more healthfully. But you also need to adjust the
adaptive aspects, such as finding out more about what types of
exercise the person enjoys, what types of healthy food
they like, and feel that they could become competent at doing. And there are two elements to that. One, there is some data that
you collect at the baseline. What do you need to
know– using this example again of this woman– what you need
to know going in about this person? Maybe she has an aversion to vegetables. Or maybe she lives in
a very cold climate, and so exercising outside isn’t good. So there is some baseline
information that you need to know. But then there’s also through the Study
phase, through the collecting data, you learn more. And you use that information
to design that next round. And again, this is something that’s
quite different from research. When you’re doing PDSA cycles for
the purposes of making improvements, you’re really thinking
about learning as you go and collecting data that you
can then use to learn as you go. And I think pause here and just say
that we’re going to hear something about that with our next presenter. And I’m excited to have you
here a little bit about how our friends in New Suncook
School in Lovell, Maine, addressed continuous
improvement this year. I’m going to turn it
over in just a moment to Pam Buffington, who’s our Northeast
Rural Districts Research Alliance facilitator and to Rhonda
Poliquin who’s the principal of New Suncook School in Lovell, Maine. And they will talk a little bit
about the continuous improvement work that they did, and particularly
the data piece of the cycle, and how their iterative
cycles played out, and what they learned along the way. So with that I’d like to turn
it over to Pam Buffington. PAM BUFFINGTON: Thank you, Karen. So the focus of the PDSA cycle in New
Suncook School focuses on mathematics: learning and teaching in
early elementary grade. The work that was being
done in New Suncook school at the beginning of
the year with this work was integrating the mathematics
standards and practices. And the staff, as well as Rhonda
as the principal in the school, recognized that there was a need to
really focus in more on integrating the mathematical practices. And it was important to do this in ways
that were equitable across the student population in these classes. So the teacher’s aim was to
come together and determine, what were those areas where students
and teachers were struggling most in implementing these practices? The teachers identified that
students really were not communicating and critiquing
one another in mathematics and using academic language in math. So the teachers focused in
on, what can we do to engage and elicit student communication? And through a process as
has been described earlier in the webinar of looking
at a fishbone diagram, and looking for those causes that are
contributing to this clash in culture, they determined that they would focus
in on using sentence frames and sentence starters in a mathematics
classroom and prompting students with those particular
sentence frames or starters in the context of problems
that were standard space problems in their math class. What I’m going to do
now is introduce Rhonda. RHONDA POLIQUIN: Thanks, Pam. As Pam said, I would say
our data collection was our greatest challenge in this project. Again we were, as Pam said, we
were targeting oral language and students’ math discourse. So it was difficult to
collect data about that while teachers were still teaching. Teachers tried different
systems of tallying. In some cases they also used physical
pieces, like giving cubes for students when they were participating. We were also looking for whether
we had to prompt students to use the sentence
starters or whether they were able to do that independently. So in our first round of the cycle,
we had a lot of question and issues around the data collection
and the ways to make that work while we were still trying to teach. In the second round, one of the
strategies we tried for the data collection was to look at small groups. At that point students had been
introduced to the sentence starters. So they were familiar with
that and were beginning to use them a bit more independently. So we were able to put
students into small groups. And teachers were able to
be more of an observer, and could collect some
data more easily that way. And that worked well from kindergarten
all the way through fifth grade. I think in our third round we are able
to continue with that type of data collection, but also
began to look at how we can open up some questions, which
was another issue we were running into. Sometimes the questions didn’t lend
themselves to much math discourse. So there really wasn’t
much for students to say. And we were able to
look at some strategies for opening up the questions to
allow for more math discourse. At this point I think
we’re excited that we did see some success with the project. So we are working on scaling it up to
use it more at a school-wide system and also within our district. Math discourse and the math
practices have been a focus for some special development last year. So we’d like to see that some
of the strategies that we talked about last year are being implemented. And we are incorporating
the use of sentence starters to promote some of that. The way we’re doing that to
help with the data collection is to have teachers identify
one small change they’d like to make that would impact
the ability– or hopefully the participation– of students. And we used a rubric to
help them sort of identify some different stages they
might work through or some different areas that could target. And then also collecting some
information about student discourse using a rubric that was
developed to see if the practice was having some impact on student talk. We are going to be collecting
that data through observers, through walk-throughs that are
happening from two administrators and also from some peer observations. And then using that data
to meet during grade levels every couple of months to see
where we are, to tweak and make any changes as we’ve talked
about, and then figure out what our next steps might be. I think that the whole cycle
has been really helpful for us. Usually when we implement
professional development strategies, we do it and kind of talk about it,
but there’s no real data collection to see if it’s having any impact. And we usually don’t
talk about as a group how we’re going to tweak
things to make it better or to see if we’re even
having any impact at all. So it’s nice to be able
to have the opportunity to go through the process in several
cycles to see how it’s working, and what we might need to do to
change, and to do any revamping that we might need to do along the way. PAM BUFFINGTON: Thanks, Rhonda. I just wanted to add a couple of things. One, that as teachers were
engaged in this process, and they were implementing those
strategies of sentence frames and sentence starters,
they found that there were times and circumstances
within that implementation that they were more
successful than others. So having that opportunity to
come together in iterative cycles where teachers could share with one
another what was most successful, and where they were not as
successful allowed them to then engage in additional
professional learning to support refinements of the strategy. So for example, eachers reported
that when they were working in a problem solving context where
they had open questions, the types of questions being asked allowed
students multiple different routes to the answer or
multiple solutions, they were more successful in engaging in
the kind of mathematical communication and critique they had hoped for. So there were opportunities
provided to learn more about creating open questions, how to
implement those kinds of strategies, how to differentiate based on where
students were at in their process, and also in terms of
their learning targets. And so therefore, that strategy
could be refined over time. Because ultimately they wanted
to provide not only rich math communication, but also
equitable engagement across all students in the classroom. And by having time to
implement and learn about different strategies to
support, the engagement of teachers was increased. And I noticed there’s
a question in the chat about how Rhonda you, in
fact, got teacher buy in and maintained buy in across time. So I’m going to turn it back
to you to answer that question. RHONDA POLIQUIN: Sure, I
think, again, part of our work started with just helping people
become aware of the math practices and what was meant by the math practices
that are outlined in the Common Core. I think we used a lot of video,
actually, of other classrooms that’s available online. And you could hear what
students were saying and teachers feeling like, that’s not
what we’re hearing from our students. How can we get there? I think it was a desire. I think we kept the
buy in because teachers were seeing success with students. I think it was exciting to hear students
use sentence starters like, “I agree with so and so because,”
and being able to reason mathematically, and explain
their thinking, and have students agree or disagree with them. It was exciting for teachers to see. And I think that with the
way we kept the buy in going, it was a volunteer
piece that we started. It was an opportunity for
professional development. We tried to offer some choice
in professional development within the district. So it was a place that teachers felt
they wanted more support and more help. We were fortunate to be able to team up
with Pam, who was able to provide some of that support for us
and also from the REL to provide some background with
the continuous improvement model that sort of both pieces kind of came
together for us at the same time. PAM BUFFINGTON: Another question
that came up in the chat, if the rubric could be
shared more broadly. And what we can do is put the
information into the chat. There are resources available through
the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics around
mathematics discourse as well as adaptations
that were made locally. So we’ll circle back with
Rhonda and with you all to get that information to you as well. Any other thoughts or questions, Rhonda,
before I move on to the next slide? RHONDA POLIQUIN: No, I think we’re good.
It’s been interesting. I’ve been able to also work with
another administrator on some of the walk-throughs and just kind
of calibrating some of our data collection, which has been
really helpful in trying to do it on a more regular
basis so we actually have some good data to look at. So that will be interesting
to see how that plays out. The rest of the staff that was not
involved with the initial project are still learning about the process. We’ve done an overview, but we hadn’t
really gone through a cycle yet. So I’ll be interested to see
how the whole process plays out, to be able to revisit it often and talk
about how it’s going with actual data to look at. PAM BUFFINGTON: Thank you very much. I’m going to hand it back
to you at this point, Karen. KAREN SHAKMAN: Thank you. So before we move on I just wanted
to highlight a couple things that I hope shine through in this example. One is about leadership and the
idea that Rhonda, as the principal of the school, was really
invested in this work, and sat side by side with her teacher
colleagues to look at these videos, to talk about the problem, to
generate the fishbone diagram, to think about how
they might address it, to participate in the
professional development. I would attribute some of the success in
the district to the role of leadership in sort of a walking hand in hand
with teachers in implementing that continuous improve project. I think that can’t be stressed enough. The other thing that
I think came through is that there is some content
expertise that is kind of necessary. So there was the infusion of some
additional pedagogical content knowledge into the
discussions of what problem the teachers were going to focus on
and change idea they might implement, looking at videos of practices
that they might try to emulate, having Pam’s content expertise around
math education support the work. So there’s got to be
this balance of knowledge about the continuous improvement process
and yet also some content knowledge related to the general focus area for
the continuous improvement process. So again, both sort of need
to be in place for success. And that takes us to this assessing
your readiness slide here, which looks at what are
some of the things that need to be in place to be successful
with continuous improvement, whatever it is? But before I get there, I also want to
comment on a question that was posted much earlier that I think is really
important to address before we close, which was this question
about a couple folks when we were talking about
generating the fishbone diagram said, what about big causes like poverty? Or shouldn’t you focus on things
that are within your control when you’re doing the fishbone diagram? And I think that raises a really good
question, that I think we’ve addressed, but I just want to come
back to briefly and say that I think when you’re in the phase
of generating the fishbone diagram, it’s really a generative phase. And you want to get out on the table
as much as possible about what might be contributing to the
problem that you see, including assumptions or
biases that might be in place. And similar to when you do a logic model
and you generate a set of assumptions, you want to generate all the different
factors that might be contributing to the problem, knowing
that not all of them are going to be within your control.
You get them out there. And then in that process
you then sort of siphon to what it is that you, as your group of
teachers, or your group of colleagues, think that you can address. And you might also think about the
order in which you might address them. Maybe there are multiple problems
that are somewhat within your control, but you’re going to start
with one change idea, and then slowly make your
way to some of the others. So I just wanted to make sure we
didn’t leave that question hanging. Now finally, I want to talk
about Kim in the chat had asked are there any tools for
assessing your readiness? And this is taken from the
Institute for Health Care Improvement, modified a little bit. But I think these three ideas
are critical to think about. So before a team embarks on a
continuous improvement project, whatever the content, whatever the
focus, whatever the group, it’s important to take the temperature
to assess whether certain elements are sufficiently present so that the
continuous improvement process may be carried out successfully.
So what are these three elements? The first is will. Is there the collective will
to embark on the process? Are the key players involved, including
leadership, just like with the example of Rhonda and her work? Then there are ideas. You have a combination of the
subject matter knowledge– like we talked about with Pam
and the math content knowledge and the videos they looked at– and
continuous improvement expertise, that together will contribute
to sufficient, viable ideas to guide the work forward. Are there change ideas
that can be generated? And finally, execution.
So you might have the will. You might have a lot of good ideas. But do you have the capacity
to execute these ideas? And again, this is a place
where leadership is important. Is the leadership ready and
willing to support implementation? Does that mean teacher relief time? Does that mean contributing
professional development time to participating
in meetings associated with the continuous improvement? And all of these things
need to be in place. Do they all need to be high? Not necessarily, but you need to
have some level of will, ideas, and execution to successfully implement
a continuous improvement process. And we would encourage
you, if you’re thinking about engaging in continuous
improvement to have a close look at those three elements. And maybe, if there are a
group of people involved, have each person in the group kind
of do their own check of readiness. And then discuss it. Again, this is a useful tool. If you want a more elaborated version of
the tool you can look at our workbook. And we have some resources at the end. And you’ll find a little
more about this there. So a few final thoughts. We hope that you found
this workshop valuable. We’ve really appreciated
all the comments and questions that have been raised. Again, if you haven’t yet downloaded
the workbook or the slides we encourage you to do that
and spend some more time. The way we’ve laid out the activities
in the workbook are with room for you to engage them. You can make copies of those activities
and share them with your colleagues to sort of participate in it together. But with final thoughts
we just want to close with some final thoughts
about continuous improvement that we hope you’ll carry with you. First, continuous improvement engages
participants in a process that focuses on specific tasks, processes, or
tools; tests them in real contexts; studies this process; and prompts
actions based upon what they learned. So in a nutshell, that’s what
continuous improvement is. And it relies on systematic
processes, such as the PDSA cycle, to test the change in
a real-world setting. So again, these tools and
resources really in a way force people to slow down and take
a step-by-step approach to making change in their local context. And with that, it
promotes collaboration, so fostering the collective engagement
of all participants in the change as they define the goals, develop
the plan, and study the impact. Continuous improvement really
is about a collaborative effort. And it encourages practical
measurement, which Sheila talked about at some length. And again, really
reminding people to think about, I think in our work
with the three districts where we did this work in the last
year and to continue to be engaged, the measurement part is– the data
collection, and studying that data, and talking about that data–
is really both the hardest part, I think for practitioners, and
also the most useful for them in growing their skills and
helping them to kind of think about how they can use data
in ways that really inform their practice on a regular basis. So we encourage people
to think about engaging with practical measures, measurement
that is accessible and doable by teachers and other practitioners. And we just want to encourage you to
think about continuous improvement as a practical and doable approach,
even for districts or schools with limited capacity and resources. In both the examples
we talked about today, there were not endless
resources or capacity. And yet they were able
to successfully implement these processes in their schools. And I think we can all learn
from this way of working, this continuous improvement
approach, to improve our practice and the work that we do
with and for students. And again in final thoughts, as the
video outlined in the beginning, continuous improvement is more than
just a set of tools and processes. It’s really an attitude.
It’s a way of thinking. And it’s an approach to
systems change that requires constant curiosity and some humility. With that, we would like to turn
your attention to the survey so we can learn a little bit about
how this workshop was for you. It’s important to us
to have your feedback so we can continuously improve our
work and be sure that we are providing the field with useful tools and
learn if there’s anything more we can do to help all of you to implement these
kinds of processes in your own context. So with that, I just want to
put out our e-mail addresses. There were many comments
and questions that we could only answer in the briefest way. And we encourage you to follow
up with us and send us e-mails. We’d be happy to respond, hear
more about what you’re doing, and provide our thoughts. And with that I’m going to turn it back
to my colleague Erin to say farewell. Thanks so much. ERIN STAFFORD: Thanks Karen. And thanks to all of you
for joining us today. In approximately two to three weeks
you will receive an e-mail from us with a link to the webinar archive. Please feel free to download
the slides and the workbook. And we appreciate your completion
of the feedback survey. Have a great day everyone. Thanks.

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