Heléne Clark Director, ActKnowledge. Sarah Jonas Director of Regional Initiatives, National Center for Community Schools - PDF

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Heléne Clark Director, ActKnowledge Sarah Jonas Director of Regional Initiatives, National Center for Community Schools Keeping It All Together: Planning Vision Comprehensive Collaborative Coherent Committed

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Heléne Clark Director, ActKnowledge Sarah Jonas Director of Regional Initiatives, National Center for Community Schools Keeping It All Together: Planning Vision Comprehensive Collaborative Coherent Committed Action Evaluation Dissemination Theory of Change for Community Schools Building a Practical Foundation for All Stages of a Community School Initiative Overview for this Session What a Theory of Change is How a ToC is Used in a Community School Context Benefits Being an Informed Participant or Decisionmaker on Whether or Not to Use ToC in Your Initiative THEORY OF CHANGE Definition The set of beliefs that guides thinking about how and why a complex change process will unfold How to Use TOC: As a roadmap of your Outcomes how you get where you want to go Your plan The agreement of all partners about what needs to happen and who does it Your framework for implementation On-going check-ins to see if you are on track Your basis for evaluation What s Different About TOC? You work backwards (start with the vision) It HAS to be participatory and transparent It is a living, and changing framework that improves as you learn Your theory explains why what you do will work That makes you think about each activity and if it is really producing the results you want. The process begins with OUTCOMES and PRECONDITIONS Map Your PATHWAY to Change Outcomes are Easy, Right? Children are healthy Children are ready for school Parents are literate Students enter college or vocational school OUTCOMES! But what are PRECONDITIONS? THEY ARE OUTCOMES NEEDED IN ORDER FOR ANOTHER OUTCOME TO OCCUR. AN EXAMPLE WILL BE CLEARER: PRECONDITIONS What HAS to change if the long-term goal is going to happen? This helps you avoid doing things that are good, but don t get you where you want to go Health Clinic in a School Students do well in school Lots of other preconditions! Students attend school regularly Students asthma is controlled Parents register for asthma medication at school Parents understand importance of getting child to school Theory of Change Visual Language Accountability Ceiling Ultimate Outcome Long Term Outcome (Rationale) A Precondition (Outcome) 1 (Intervention) Precondition (Outcome) Theory of Change Components 1. Outcomes, modeled in causal pathways 2. Interventions (activities), leading to the relevant Outcome(s) 3. Assumptions 4. Rationales 5. Indicators 6. Narrative KEYWORD WHY? What Do We Do (usually)? Create good programs, have great ideas for activities, and keep track of who we serve? But are we getting the outcomes we want And In the most cost-effective/high impact way? How Do You Know Which Programs and Activities Will Get You Where You Want to Go? You Start with Your Long-Term Goal And, Work Backwards Don t settle for abstract GOALS DEFINE THEM! School Readiness? For who? What does it mean to be ready? What does it look like? Create a PATHWAY to Change Health Clinic in a School Students do well in school Students attend school regularly Indicator: Attendance All students achieve 95% attendance rate Students asthma is controlled Parents register for asthma medication at school Parents understand importance of getting child to school We work from TOP to BOTTOM, But it is okay to draw it from LEFT to RIGHT (same thing you read it backwards and work from where you want to go) Outcome that are Preconditions Long-term Outcomes Ultimate Outcome That s the start Now, you are ready to: 1. Identify measurable indicators for each outcome (what will be your evidence that will satisfy you?) 2. Add the activities that are most likely to bring about each outcome. 3. Summarize your map and tell your story in a way that is easy to understand, but not simplistic. Participatory work to identify outcomes and how to achieve them is messy work, but fun and exciting OUTCOMES After a lot of discussion, complex initiatives start to look manageable Outcomes after discussing how change happens How Do We Know If We Have a Good Theory? Plausibility Doability Testability And, most of all, learn through your work and revise your theory with every lesson Being clear about OUTCOMES is hard, but rewarding Activities planned to meet goals are more likely to be successful You can tell if you are on track You can show others you DO make a difference Theory of Change Why Develop One? Participatory Process Creates realistic program expectations Creates a safe place to be reflective Can improve evaluation Allows others to understand what you are doing Stakeholders are asked to be clear about their assumptions Gaps between steps and outcomes become evident Novel solutions may emerge The initiative is more likely to be effective And.. Evaluations based on a theory carry more weight Evaluation plans and criteria are transparent to everyone A broader base of knowledge is created Contact: Heléne Clark Sarah Jonas
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