Net Exchange Response

Title: Needed: Ideas for getting administrative buy-in for improving student and learning supports

Date Posted: 7/27/2015

Question: I am looking for anything related to getting administrator buy-in for improving student supports

Response: Education decision makers are busy folks. That is why we make jokes about needing an elevator speech when proposing something to a superintendent. Of course, major ideas for improving student and learning supports are not likely to gain traction because someone has crafted a three minute speech.

As part of efforts related to system transformation and sustainability, we have developed some resources that can be adopted/adapted in communicating the need and a proposal for improving student and learning supports. These have been designed specifically for superintendents, school boards, principals, and other critical decision makers.

From our experience, the first step is for a group of advocates to prepare a proposal and then send it to the administrative leadership. This first message can’t be too lengthy, but it does have to outline the imperative driving the need for change. In stressing the imperative, we recommend emphasizing how the improvements will

  • better address barriers to learning and teaching and re-engage disconnected students by ending the considerable fragmentation and redeploying current budget allocations to fill significant gaps;
  • enhance the type of equity of opportunity that can raise test scores for all students;
  • help overcome limitations related to existing school improvement policy and planning.

We outline some ideas and steps we use in our work in the following Guidance Notes:

In following up, the need is for a brief overview of the ideas being proposed. This can be done with a brief power point presentation – see for example, the 30 min. introductory webinar we use for our work:

If appropriate, we also follow-up with a Brief Introductory Document – see for example,

To follow this up, we draw from a range of Center documents, such as:

We also try to anticipate the questions that will be raised and prepare a Q & A handout. See

Other aids we have found useful in making the case are in the Center’s System Change Toolkit. One example includes: