A Plate Full of Initiatives

by Janet Mobley

With the holiday season approaching, think of all of the food that will be prepared as families and friends gather together.  Just for a second, envision how someone’s plate might look with turkey, ham, dressing (delicious), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, carrots, green beans, salad, bread, and gravy.  Also, make sure not to forget the pumpkin pie, pecan pie, cookies, cake, fudge, and brownies. Who has a plate big enough for all of that? It’s all good, right?

Schools can have the same dilemma.  District and school administrators have plates that are full of programs and initiatives: reading, math, writing, technology, behavior, parent engagement, dropout/truancy prevention, and study skills.  All of these are good, but it sometimes feels like a platter is needed instead of a regular plate!

Many districts are rich with initiatives, but implementing these initiatives is challenging - and it’s even more challenging to sustain them. Click To Tweet

Many districts are rich with initiatives, but implementing these initiatives is challenging – and it’s even more challenging to sustain them. Responsible Innovation Design (RIDe), is the platter needed to support the initiatives and leads to student success. Innovation is defined as the introduction of something new; a new idea, method, or device.  This definition is enough to make some educators sigh and think, “Here we go again!” But, responsible innovation attaches accountability to the process. This accountability involves being intentional and implementing items with a positive impact on student learning.

George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset, stated, “Innovation is not reserved for the few; it is something we will all need to embrace if we are to move forward. It is a way of thinking that creates something new and better.”  Couros adds, “Innovation is less about the tools and more about how we use those things.” We would be remiss as educators if we neglected to iterate our processes and methods to create quality learning experiences for our students.  Committed educators are constantly learning and seeking better ways to facilitate learning in their classrooms. The challenge is not what to add, but how are we using the tools we have to get the results we desire.

Committed educators are constantly learning and seeking better ways to facilitate learning in their classrooms. The challenge is not what to add, but how are we using the tools we have to get the results we desire. Click To Tweet

A responsible and well-designed rollout is key to seeing a return on your investment.  Consider the following questions when designing responsible innovation:

  1. What initiatives are currently in place?
  2. What is the purpose of each and who does it benefit?
  3. How does each initiative align with  your district’s mission and beliefs?
  4. What needs to stay, and what needs to go?
  5. What is best for our learners?

At engage2Learn, simplify is our mantra; sustainability is our goal.  We know that innovation is more about implementation and iteration than ideation so we walk more than we talk.  

Holidays are wonderful and the food is great.  However, it seems the first thing we do after the decorations are put away is diet.  We analyze our calories, fats, and carbs. We make sure we are only putting into our bodies what is healthy and best.   Just like responsible eating, educators need to analyze the programs and initiatives we implement for our students. RIDe is the healthy option for our schools and it should be our lifestyle. Learn more about engage2Learn RIDe solution here.


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