Implementation:  A Deep Dive


The Central Rivers AEA Literacy Team has been taking a deep dive into the study of implementation.  At our agency, we do an excellent job providing professional learning both at the agency and in districts.  We also, over the last 5 years, have improved our coaching supports. Now, we regularly provide ongoing support along with professional learning.   We recognized, however, that we did not have a handle on how well new learning was being implemented. We also knew that we could do more to build the capacity of district leadership to understand levels of implementation and determine how to best support teachers through the study of implementation.  

We began by learning more about our agency tools that support studying implementation.  The Concerns Based Adoption Model taught us how to write and utilize Innovation Configuration Maps (IC Maps) to monitor the implementation of new learning.  An IC map can be used to study the implementation of best practices for instruction in any content area. The descriptions are to act as “word pictures” that lay out the success criteria.  They support implementation and provide teachers with lots of examples and ideas as they get started at implementing new learning. As we learned more, we began to see how IC maps were our success criteria.  Just like we have success criteria based on the Iowa Core for students. The IC Map became the “standards” for implementation of comprehensive literacy instruction.

At the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, we partnered with a company to support how we might collect and use data from an observation using an IC Map. Our agency purchased an electronic system called KickUp and through a collaborative process with that company, we were able to put our IC map into an electronic form in order to easily collect data through classroom observations and teacher perceptions. This has allowed us to:

  • Provide a clear picture of what the innovation looks like when implemented with fidelity
  • Support administrator’s & instructional coach’s knowledge of quality instruction and provide look fors
  • Provide data for leadership teams to analyze and support professional learning decisions
  • Align appropriate supports for teachers based on the data

This tool has made data collection much easier for us.

The study of implementation and the use of IC Maps has helped our Literacy team to be in alignment with our work because everything we do, connects back to a part of the IC Map and the Iowa Core Standards. All consultants, who are providing coursework or PD in districts on a variety of topics, are all basing the content on the success criteria of the IC Map.  Our districts are getting similar, high quality professional learning. And… we have data to support our work. The below video highlights our work on the study of implementation.  You can also visit the Central Rivers AEA website for many examples of IC Maps and reach out to a Central Rivers AEA Literacy Consultant.