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Massachusetts Charter Schools

Creating Conditions for Successful Dissemination

While reflecting on their own dissemination efforts, many current charter school leaders highlighted a need to approach dissemination in a thoughtful manner to create conditions for successful cross-sector dissemination and collaboration. They indicated a number of common-sense, yet sometimes challenging, approaches to foster successful dissemination efforts. The suggested steps below integrate suggestions from current charter school leaders with the 2012 study "Charter School Dissemination Grants in Massachusetts, Successes, Challenge and Recommendations."
Determine your school's best practices:
  • Identify innovative or unique elements, programs, or best practices that have been developed by your school or the best practices that have been successful at your school. Practices chosen for dissemination should have a track record of success at your school.
  • Be honest about your own strengths, weaknesses, autonomies, and gaps.
Conduct a needs assessment and set objectives
  • Designate someone with the necessary capacity to lead your school's dissemination efforts.
  • Establish clear objectives for dissemination within your school. Set specific, measurable, time-bound goals for the dissemination efforts and measure their success.
  • Ensure that your plans for dissemination will reach your intended audience. Conduct a needs assessment of other public schools that could possibly benefit from replicating the best practice.
  • Consider the methods that could be used to share the best practice (see "Sharing Resources and Information" below).
  • Research grants available for dissemination or grants that support the identified best practice(s).
If the school's goal is to develop a partnership
  • Work to establish relationships in your host district or the surrounding communities before introducing the possibility of dissemination.
  • Understand and appreciate the educational landscape of your host district and calibrate the potential impact of how you approach the work.
  • Collaborate with district schools or other charter schools that have similar best practices to disseminate.
  • Acknowledge the autonomy and capacity required for a partner school to implement or adapt the best practice.
  • Identify the right strategic partner(s). Be honest about partner's strengths, weaknesses, autonomies, and gaps.
  • Ensure that there is a specific partnership agreement in place.
  • Make sure all parties are on the same page about mutual or different goals.
Examples

"When we think about disseminating, we think about the practices that are institutionalized at our school and are driving results for our students. We aren't focused on our latest innovations or things we are trying in hopes that they will yield results but on the practices that we have honed and are executing consistently. We then think about how we can document the practice in a way that will make it realistic for another team to implement the practice in their school. When we have a practice that yields results, can be replicated in a different school context and codified in way that makes it actionable…we've hit the dissemination trifecta." — Rachel Romano, Veritas Preparatory Charter School

"Schools should plan for ongoing support for dissemination of practice as part of their administrative responsibility." — Stephanie Callahan and Sarah Morrill, Salem Academy Charter School


Last Updated: August 5, 2016
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