School Mental Health Project

Maintaining Momentum for Sound Systemic Changes When the Superintendency Changes

Over and over, the tale is told about essential system changes and initiatives being set back and even swept aside when a new administration and staff take the reigns. Despite the awareness, little usually is done to anticipate the downside of new leadership by ensuring that good systemic changes continue to move forward. This has been especially the case with respect to efforts to move toward a unified and comprehensive system of student and learning supports for addressing barriers to learning and teaching and re-engaging disconnected students.

The need is for strategic planning that accounts for the likelihood of leadership turnover (e.g., ensuring full integration into board policies, school improvement planning guides, capacity building efforts – especially changes in operational infrastructure and professional development, etc.).

Recently, we developed a brief set of policy notes related to this, entitled: Leadership Changes: Minimizing the Downside

Previously, in our work on systemic change and sustainability, we have touched upon related matters; see the Center Online Clearinghouse Quick Finds –

>Systemic Change, and the Diffusion of Innovation in Schools (the Implementation Problem)

>Sustainability of Initiatives

Over the next few months, we plan to collect as many examples as possible about succession and sustainability plans, in general, and those related to development of a system of learning supports in particular. We will then draft a guidance brief to share widely with superintendents (state and district), principals, and other policy leaders.

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In addition, see the list of Emerging Issues identified over the years by the Center and used as a stimulus for discussion on our Net Exchange -

Previously highlighted hot issues