Change Management for School Leaders: Strategies for Implementing Change in School Settings
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Change frequently occurs in education, creating an environment where school leaders need to be skilled in the art of change management. To many, such as Crum and Sherman (2008), "Change is . . . an innate component of education . . . and something that principals must contend with as they work with their staff" (p. 575). Alberta Education (2020) outlined criteria required for visionary and instructional leadership, including "enabling positive change and fostering commitment to continuous improvement" (p. 3) with the goal of "[ensuring] every student has access to quality teaching and optimum learning experiences" (p. 4). O'Donnell and White (2005) outlined that the primary responsibility for school leaders "[was] to facilitate effective teaching and learning with the overall mission of enhancing student achievement" (p.56). O'Donnell and White (2005) elaborated students often achieved higher grades and more academic success when the principal delivered instructional leadership. Research demonstrates that school leaders that consider the impact of a change and the reason behind the change while encouraging input from stakeholders and thinking about the well-being of stakeholders most impacted by change seem to establish a more impactful change initiative. Consequently, the process and methodology of change directly impact the well-being of both staff and students in the system. When starting the change process, school leaders, skilled in the art of change management, ask questions such as, "Why is the change necessary; How much change needs to occur; Where should the change occur; [and] Who will participate in the change process" (Frontier & Rickabaugh, 2015, p. 1). The models of change examined in this capstone study include DuFour and DuFour's (2006) Professional Learning Communities at Work, Fullan's (2006) Change Theory, Kotter's (1995) Eight-Step Change Model, Baird and Clark's (2018) Look-Ahead Professional Development Model, and Shannon and Bylsma's (2007) Nine Characteristics of High Performing Schools. Each change model provides a framework that school leaders can use in various settings to initiate change in a more organized, thoughtful, and deliberate manner. An extensive literature review outlines promising models of change and practices when implementing institutional change. To answer questions concerning which change model to choose when implementing change and how to measure its impact, Chapter 2 outlines five different change models and provides information about how leaders measure change to determine its effects. Chapter 3 includes the implications of this capstone study and three recommendations concerning how Principals and senior education administration can approach change in a meaningful, long-lasting manner, with the goals of trust, developing leadership capacity, and creating sustainable change.