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Pilot New Ideas as a Team

STRATEGY: Provide time to pilot new ideas, reflect, and refine; set up team time for planning, grading, and review of student work.

Effective school leaders provide time to pilot, reflect on, and refine new ideas; they create systematic, iterative processes to design, implement, and evaluate innovation to improve teaching and learning. By allocating time, effort, and other resources to innovation in education, school leaders create conditions necessary for staff members to engage in a cyclical process of continuous improvement that provides timely solutions to priority needs. When school leaders establish routines for addressing innovation from the point of inception to the point of implementation and evaluation, they take teaching and learning to a new level of excellence, accelerating student growth.

These leaders also set up team time to plan, grade, and review student work to guide the school improvement process. Through this commitment, school leaders create conditions necessary for staff members to develop a greater understanding of standards, curriculum, instruction, and assessments that lead to student success. Through this collaborative review cycle, school leaders promote curriculum alignment within and across grade levels to achieve a common understanding among teachers and contribute to the collective growth of students across multiple dimensions. By establishing systems for planning, grading, and review of student work, school leaders afford teachers a strategic way of engaging in structured, collegial goal setting with future actions in mind.


This strategy includes multiple practices represented in a two-pronged statement. Each prong of the strategy, when implemented independently, makes a positive impact on student outcomes. When implemented together, each prong complements the other to create a seamless system for continuous improvement. Critical practices of piloting, reflecting on, and refining new ideas, when leveraged by school leaders, provide teachers with a clear pathway for introducing timely responses to pressing issues through introduction, implementation, and incorporation of innovation into the fabric of the school. Provide time to pilot new ideas, reflect, and refine Piloting a new idea provides an entry point for innovation and builds the capacity of schools to drive change in response to specific needs of their students. When piloting an innovation, effective school leaders support teachers by allocating time to identify challenges, design innovations in response to those challenges, and measure effectiveness of the innovations for potential replication and scale. Reflecting on and refining innovations are embedded as integral components of the piloting process. Set up team time for planning, grading, and review of student work While planning, grading, and review of student work exists as an independent process, the series of interrelated steps also operates within the piloting cycle to strengthen outcomes realized from the innovation. Effective school leaders allocate structured time to engage teachers in examining student work collaboratively; they analyze the effectiveness of planning, grading practices, and review of the student work to improve student learning.

First Steps to Consider

Complexities & Pitfalls

Guiding Questions