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Implementing Positive Action on a small scale does not require extensive planning. These guidelines have been prepared to assist with the initial planning of larger implementations, where coordination is required at the school or district level.
In many instances a school or district may commit to implementing Positive Action but does not have the immediate resources to purchase all the required kits. A common strategy is to phase-in Positive Action over time as resources become available.
Positive Action recommends that schools start with all the classrooms of the lowest grade levels , and the participation of the Principal with a Climate Development Kit.
Districts that are struggling with funding issues should start with their lowest performing elementary schools. Efforts should stay focused on the target schools until school-wide implementation has been achieved.
This is formally called the feeder effect and is further detailed in the Research Primer. The feeder effect will change the opinion of Teachers who are reluctant to teach Positive Action.
The process of building support for a program is formally called buy-in, and the Large Scale Implementation section covers strategies that are useful when cultivating buy-in among reluctant participants. The feeder effect and word-of-mouth are powerful agents for building support.
It's important to remember that the effects of Positive Action are cummulative. Students who learn Positive Action throughout elementary school will be easily identified by secondary Teachers. By starting early, district and school leaders are setting the stage for easy and engaging secondary implementations.
Some schools and districts elect to pilot Positive Action in a small setting. This approach has advantages and disadvantages. A pilot program can help build support for a school-wide implementation.
The disadvantage to piloting is that other Teachers and classrooms will want Positive Action and the resources may not be available. Without long-term planning and a clear roadmap, piloting can lead to issues of equity and fairness within a school.
If a school or district is intent on piloting, Positive Action recommends that the design include all the classrooms of a particular grade level, and the participation of the Principal with the Climate Development Kit.
When preparing to implement Positive Action on a large scale it’s important to inform all the stakeholders. This primarily includes outreach to teachers and parents.
In most instances, the initial teacher reaction is a sense of dread as another mandated program or initiative is perceived as a distraction from quality teaching time with their students. teacher and program fatigue is widespread.
It’s the responsibility of school leaders to address these concerns and begin discussing how Positive Action aligns with classroom objectives. When teachers realize that Positive Action can help them in the classroom, participation becomes commonplace and the school begins to flourish.
Positive Action also encourages school leaders to inform parents about the program. The skills and concepts that students learn from Positive Action will affect their family life. By reaching out to parents about Positive Action, school leaders can prevent any misunderstandings a parent may have when their child comes home talking about positive actions and the TAF circle.
It may be beneficial to review our Best Practices, which includes additional information that is useful when preparing to implement Positive Action with fidelity.