Monday, November 10, 2008

It is All About the Timelines...

You have heard in elections that “It is All about the Economy Stupid.” Fortunately in our industry the economy has very little to do with grant implementation. However, successful grant implementation and evaluation has everything to do with proper planning – planning of what you will do and almost as important, the timeline to support that plan.

You may look at a district that has successfully implemented their grant and think, “Wow, they must know something I don’t,” or “They must have access to tools that I don’t.” In both cases, you would be wrong. Their personnel are no more talented, skilled, or committed to proper grant implementation that you are. They most likely do not have access to armies of personnel to help them in their efforts. What they do have that you may not is a detailed strategy for implementation of their project.

I have discussed putting together a detailed implementation plan in the past. I will focus instead in this article on the actual timeline and how you should put your first one together.

First you need to evaluate your evaluation needs. Start your assessment process as soon as you can. Evaluate your students, teachers, and process as required by your project. Set clear dates for when you want to conduct the pre and the post-test so that you can plan the rest of your schedule around those dates. Optimally, you will conduct your pre-tests before you begin the actual modifications to curriculum, introduce staff development, and purchase new equipment.

Next, look at your equipment orders. When can your suppliers get you the equipment that you need. Your equipment needs to arrive before the supporting staff development sessions and curriculum introduction. I have clients who have tried to reverse this order and it is less than effective.

Shortly thereafter, plan the dates for your staff development sessions. You most likely scheduled release time for your teachers, so getting this on to the schedule will be dependent on your district process and the amount of lead time they require to schedule substitutes. Make sure you do the paperwork and get the subs scheduled. Send a email to the building principal letting them know the sessions are required if they would like to receive the mountains of equipment that you have purchased. 99.9% of principals will comply. A quick call to your superintendent will make sure that the late bloomers do.

This is the majority of the timeline. Now it is time to start to fill in the gaps. Make sure you set deadlines for your PE Instructors of when you require student test results. Provide clear expectations to your PE Instructors and they will know what your expectations are. How to motivate them to do so will be the subject of the next post.