Blog · Mar 10, 2021
We developed the Too Good Implementation Center to guide program administrators in planning and organizing for high fidelity lesson delivery to maximize student and process outcomes from the implementation of the Too Good programs. This comprehensive series has thus far covered the first four phases of implementing a high-quality prevention education program from Exploration to Full Implementation. This week, we’ll review what we have covered in the series and explore one of the most important phases of implementation: planning for and ensuring program sustainability.
In the first installment of the series we looked at selecting the right program to meet your goals during the Exploration Phase. The primary goal of the Exploration Phase of implementation is to identify and articulate your community needs for change, conceptualize targets for your intervention, and to select the right Evidence Based Program (EBP) to meet those needs. As implementations depend on thorough planning and capacity building, cohesive plans outlining what needs to change, how and for whom, are essential to achieving those change goals. An informed approach to program selection will set you off on the right foot for achieving the desired student outcomes in your target population.
Once you’ve identified the best program to achieve your goals, you’ll begin the process of installing the program. In the Program Installation Phase, you’ll appoint an Implementation Team to establish the structural components of program delivery including site and staff readiness, communication and training protocols, and data collection and quality assurance strategies. The quality assurance strategies defined in the Installation Phase provide a strong foundation for the sustainability of your program, as these strategies will allow you to spot performance gaps as you monitor program fidelity and make adjustments to ensure your program reliably produces effective student outcomes.
Set Quality Assurance policies and procedures to review student and process outcomes regularly.
When planning is complete, the Initial Program Implementation Phase can begin. During this phase, you will put your planning, coordinating and protocols to the test. As part of your pilot lesson delivery the implementation staff will monitor lesson delivery for gaps in instruction, program drift, and other barriers to effective lesson delivery not anticipated in the Installation Phase. Your team can assess staffing needs, refine communication protocols, draft contingency plans, and bolster staff training to address problems revealed in your pilot delivery. When you have confidence in the integrity of your implementation plan, the Full Implementation Phase can begin. In this phase, you will expand lesson delivery to all sites and teams will be supported by well-established systems for ongoing coaching to mitigate drift and ensure effectiveness.
With a high-fidelity program implementation in place realizing improved student outcomes, it’s critical to plan for and prioritize the long-term sustainability of your program. All of the investments to date will require ongoing quality analysis in order to sustain program effects. Effective sustainability planning includes maintaining a strong data driven case, performing ongoing quality monitoring, and nurturing buy-in from community stakeholders. Climate shifts in the broader community, changes in funding streams, and shifting leadership and organizational priorities may affect your program’s future. With effective planning and quality control measures, your program can continue to demonstrate positive student outcomes for years to come.
Whether or not your funding source requires a Quality Assurance Review, we recommend that your plans include your own quality control measures. To maintain your implementation’s effectiveness, you’ll need to institutionalize a quality assurance mechanism to evaluate your organization's collection and use of data. This will allow you to assess the effectiveness and quality of your Too Good implementation and adapt your program to external forces while maintaining a high-fidelity implementation.
Set Quality Assurance policies and procedures to review student and process outcomes regularly. Regular site visits to monitor lesson delivery will reinforce a quality mindset, and let your implementation team consult with instructors to make adjustments to the delivery strategy or to make acceptable adaptations to the program delivery model. Plan to assess the effects of these changes to ensure that changes do not weaken the implementation or negate program effects. Allocate budget for training and Technical Assistance to support instructors, avoid drift, and maintain program continuity. This protocol for Continuous Quality Improvement will provide program administrators and staff with data to inform delivery and structural improvement year after year.
Nurture stakeholder relationships and maintain buy-in by committing to sharing the positive impact of your program with students, parents, and the community at-large. Ensuring that your stakeholders are familiar with the challenges your program is working to overcome and the positive outcomes your program is driving will assist in making the case for continued program funding and delivery.
Maintaining a clear-eyed focus on student outcomes as they relate to your community, program staff, and program delivery is a continual process in prevention program execution. Planning for sustainability and including outreach, evaluation, and quality control in your ongoing processes is the best way to ensure your investment can continue to produce positive student outcomes in your community.