Educators are always looking for ways that they can improve their respective schools. Many initiatives are put forward, some take root, grow and help make our schools better, whilst others fizzle out and are just a flash in the pan. Sadly, it seems to me that more initiatives fall by the wayside than actually take hold, which can lead to frustration and cynicism regarding school improvement efforts.

Just because we may have a proposal for improving our schools, it does not necessarily mean that our proposal will be fulfilled. Having an idea and a vision for improvement does not mean that a subsequent initiative will be translated into reality. Ideas and initiatives for school improvement compete for ‘air time’ and for attention, we have to understand that we cannot do everything all at once. Even if an initiative is chosen as part of the school improvement effort, it still needs to be implemented. Herein lies the problem.

Too many ideas and initiatives in our schools lack implementation consideration. Oftentimes, there is not enough understanding as to what is needed to bring an initiative to fruition and then embed it as part of a school’s culture, so that a positive difference is really achieved.

It is both the responsibility of educators coming up with initiatives for school improvement and school leaders to take the necessary time to map out the implementation steps and fully consider the resources needed.

Poor implementation leads to wasted time, energy and resources, not to mention if an initiative fails it may take years for the initiative to be resurrected, no matter how good it may be. Teachers remember the failed improvement efforts, scarred by the commitment that they gave last time, it may difficult to get them on board in future. Added to that, failed school improvement initiatives only gives more ammunition to those educators seeking to preserve the status quo.

Implementation is so important to ensure that any school improvement efforts are enduring, grandiose visions must always be accompanied by the nuts and bolts required to realize the change we wish to see. The more this is understood, the more success we will have with improving our schools.