Approach

The Vision-to-Action systemic change process brings about whole school reform, including the transformation of student guidance, teaching, the learning environment, and student expectations. Using the Vision-to-Action process, schools and communities work together to implement the cultural changes needed to raise student achievement.

VTA diagram

PLANNING PHASE (year one)

The Vision-to-Action change process is VISION-BASED. School faculty and the community work together to develop a common vision which describes the way students, learning, and education would be if all of the school's and community's dreams for their young people came true. The visioning process helps the faculty and community identify their core convictions and invites them to live by these core convictions every day.

The Vison-to-Action change process is DATA-DRIVEN. Achievement data is always expressed as the percentage of students who have met a specified standard. The faculty and community begin by identifying lofty vision data which would indicate that their vision has been realized. The faculty and community then conduct a Student Achievement Self Study to identify their current data. This data is disaggregated by gender, ethnicity, economic level, and in the high schools, curriculum pathway. Each school and community identifies one data field that they find disturbing. This become the focus of their energy. The final step is to establish a data target for the disturbing data field. The data target answers the question, "Realistically and with hard work, where would we like this data to be two years from now?"

The Vision-to-Action change process employs a force field analysis to help schools bridge the gap between student achievement data and strategies. Schools and communities examine sixteen force fields in the areas of guidance, teaching, learning environment, and expectations of students. Each force field is analyzed using force field data, a perceptions survey (faculty, students, and community), and a faculty-community discussion of inquiry questions related to the force field. Using this information, the school and community identify key force fields which are most likely to have an impact on the data target.

Once the targeted force fields are identified, the school and community select strategies to impact those force fields. Strategy research is conducted to help the school and community discover or develop strategies that promise to have the highest degree of leverage. After the strategies are selected, a strategy plan is developed for each strategy. The strategy plan includes an implementation plan, professional development plan, resistance plan, and evaluation plan.

IMPLEMENTATION PHASE (years two and three)

The final step is action. As the strategy plans are implemented, the Vision-to-Action process evolves from the Planning Phase to the Implementation Phase. Only when the plans are implemented do students benefit. The Implementation Phase turns vision to action, and if the plans are sound and sufficiently implemented, student achievement improves. As soon as schools begin implementing their strategy plans they begin collecting follow-up data immediately to determine if 1) the strategies are having the desired impact on targeted attitudes and behaviors; and 2) the new attitudes and behaviors are having the desired impact on student achievement. Informed by their new data, teams reestablish their achievement data targets, strategies, and strategy data targets on an annual basis.

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT PHASE (subsequent years)

Following the Implementation Phase, schools are invited to continue using the Vision-to-Action process to improve student achievement. The vision statement and force field analysis are redone every third year.