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Focus Area 4

Practice Continuous Improvement

Establish a structured, ongoing process to collect, reflect on, and use implementation and outcome data to inform school-level decisions and drive improvements to SEL implementation.

Overview

Schoolwide SEL implementation is driven by a process of continuous improvement. As you implement your SEL plan, you will likely come across obstacles that delay or hinder your progress, or new ideas that could increase your effectiveness.

Continuous improvement refers to a deliberate and structured process to address problems or improve outcomes. To reach your goals for schoolwide SEL, you’ll need to plan and implement action steps, track your progress, examine and reflect on outcome data, and adjust course as necessary.

You can build this process into structured team meetings for reviewing and refining your overall SEL implementation plan. At the same time, you may want to develop shorter continuous improvement cycles that allow your school to test out new ideas or innovative approaches that help keep staff excited about schoolwide SEL.

This focus area will support your school in developing robust continuous improvement practices to drive SEL implementation through the following key activities:

Continuously Improve Schoolwide SEL Implementation: Use a continuous improvement cycle to drive high-quality schoolwide SEL implementation.

Test Innovative Strategies: Use shorter continuous improvement cycles to refine new strategies.

Note: Continuous improvement doesn’t replace rigorous research studies, cost-benefit studies, or other evaluation approaches to establish evidence for school-based practices (Cody et al., 2015). Through continuous improvement, schools can test the effectiveness of their strategies without having to work with an external evaluator.

Focus Area 4

Administrator Action

Administrators have an important role in fostering an “improvement-focused culture.” They articulate why data are to be used for improvement, outline clear norms for using data, and foster a high l…More

Administrators have an important role in fostering an “improvement-focused culture.” They articulate why data are to be used for improvement, outline clear norms for using data, and foster a high level of trust that data won’t be used to judge, but instead to promote a thriving learning community (Marsh, 2012).

Continuous improvement takes practice, patience, and perseverance. An SEL team can thrive when administrators allow enough time, resources, and staffing to put these strategies into practice.

Administrators Actions:

  • Create a culture where learning from mistakes is not only accepted but also celebrated through clear and consistent communication and modeling.
  • Provide the SEL team and other involved staff with access to high-quality data.
  • Model your own reflective practice with data.
  • Offer opportunities for staff to cultivate knowledge and skills for analyzing data and presenting it to others.
  • Articulate a structured process to learn from data in a low-stakes, improvement-focused manner.
  • Ensure that staff have authority to act on what they’re learning.

Administrator Resources:

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