Battelle for Kids Human Capital Director Emily Douglas explores effective human capital strategies for recruiting, selecting, developing, and recognizing educators and non-instructional staff in schools to ensure the best learning experience for students.
This entry was written in collaboration with Battelle for Kids' Strategic Communications team. Effective change leadership is essential to implementing any educational-improvement initiative.
Partnering with professionals who have experience implementing educational-improvement initiatives can be highly valuable. When it comes to effective communication you must tell people once, tell them again, and then tell them what you told them. I can't emphasize enough how important communication is to the successful implementation of a new program.
When states and districts create opportunities to recognize excellence, people develop an appetite for it.
The opinions expressed in K-12 Talent Manager are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications. However, many districts and states struggle with how to effectively communicate, build support for change, and engage various stakeholders or customers. Successful change leaders seek out leadership and guidance from all constituencies, get their input, keep them informed, and let them lead. A trusted, knowledgeable third party can provide strategic counsel and tactical support to help districts and states develop a change leadership and communications plan aligned with their unique improvement goals. If you've connected stakeholders to the larger vision through meetings, communications, and input, they will believe it's worth it.

Some districts have a trained staff to assist with leading change, while many others do not have the resources to support a large communications team.
Talent managers play an important role in the change process, from selecting and onboarding new employees to communicating new programs or services to staff to promoting cultural changes within an organization. It can be easy for those on the ground responsible for implementing change to get discouraged and lose sight of the ultimate goal.
This also ensures that improvements remain institutionalized and are never about a single person.
Sometimes having another set of eyes to review and provide feedback on an idea can be helpful.
Transformational change occurs when teachers and principals understand their students' achievement and learning progress and are aware of the resources, data, training, and support available to ensure college and career readiness for every child. But remember to consider all stakeholders educators at all levels, students, parents, business and community leaders, media, unions, partners, and others. No matter the size, there are opportunities for every district to communicate with stakeholders. Consider how you can communicate the sense of urgency necessary for change, while recognizing and building upon the genuine successes of the past. It is critical to connect these efforts to the state or district's larger educational-improvement vision. Powerful coalitions are built when leadership is shared and supported; it also makes it harder to give up when the going gets tough.
Many districts that I've worked with have said they enjoyed having a neutral third-party facilitate meetings.

If teachers know how to interpret and make instructional adjustments based on data, their students will perform at higher achievement levels.
Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, as well as blogs, websites, and email can all be easy and effective ways to share information with large groups of people. It's important to celebrate progress made, while sharing efforts to continually raise expectations to ensure student success.
Stakeholders need to understand that their hard work will have a long-term impact and is not temporary. I believe that involving a cross-functional or diverse stakeholder team works best for collaborating and finding consensus around change.
It is also important for administrative and support staff to understand how and why they can influence student achievement and progress, and help achieve other district goals. Developing a culture of appreciation (whether through strategic compensation or innovative rewards) is key.
Abstract messages get lost in the shuffle--make your messages ring true by keeping them down-to-earth. If we are going to talk about ways we need to improve, we must celebrate when we meet our goals!

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