Vision, Urgency, and Measuring Effectiveness

I've been involved in several discussions about leading change, which started with vision and urgency. Everyone needed to be on the same page about the vision (the what), have a sense of urgency (the why), and know how we'd measure progress towards our goal.

Having the vision relevant, tangible with benchmarks, and feedback reminded me of successful classroom practices. In the classroom, I made sure my students knew what we were learning, how it was relevant to them, how we'd measure progress towards our goal (the what, why, and how), and involved them in the process. I realized leading change had some of the same foundations, such as starting with the vision.


In order to be purposeful about change, the vision for what is wanted must be clear by everyone. If I asked, "What does it mean to be a 21st century, student-centered school district?" the answer must be clear in the minds of everyone. It must be clear to the administration, the teachers, the staff, the students, the families, and the community.

What does it mean to be a 21st century, student-centered school district?

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of facilitating discussions with our Collaboration Coaches and Principals about what a 21st century, student-centered district looked like. We set goals to improve our school's professional development and coaching by focusing on what it meant to be a 21st century, student-centered district.

I used Donald Clark's review of Kirkpatrick's model to create our template for setting these goals.

In a few months, we'll gather back together and collaborate to create a tool to measure growth towards our goal.

Final thoughts

This was uncharted territory for us, and I'm confident that we won't be doing business as usual. Instead, we'll be evolving and growing into the 21st century, student-centered district our learners deserve.
  • How does a clear vision eliminate the distractions, and help you move forward?
  • Change is a risk, and a leap into the unknown. How does transforming and learning together empower us to make the necessary changes for achieving our vision?
  • How else did this post (or training) connect with you?
This was a continuation I mentioned in "Lead, Coach, and Build Capacity."


  1. Tracy,
    How exciting! I know it's not easy for everyone to catch the same vision, but it seems like you are on your way to facilitating just that. It really doesn't work to go it alone, so it's worth the investment in nudging people along in the journey, even if everyone doesn't yet have the sense of urgency.

    I am in a small school, but I am blessed to have a few people who, with me, are learning the vision and urgency of what 21st century, student-centered learning looks like. Not everyone has the same vision, yet, and for now, I think the jury is still out on our measuring effectiveness.

    It's exciting to see what you are doing in Apache Junction. Keep up the great work!


    1. Thanks Denise! It is exciting to experience the momentum and watch some great changes in culture take place. A few years ago, the idea of working together in learning communities to create 21st century, learner-centered classrooms would not have been well received.

      I'm very encouraged by the changes I've seen even in the past few weeks since this training. One principal is considering a block schedule at the elementary school to allow teams to learn together -- quite innovative. Another principal will reconfigure the school teams to allow more opportunities for growth and 21st century learning -- another innovative change which demonstrates that trying new things is a positive thing.

      We have 5 weeks left in this school year, so looking forward and putting things in motion by setting our focus on the vision is exactly what we needed. I look forward to working with them again in 7 weeks to develop the evaluation tool collaboratively. If I just give it to them, then nothing will really change; yet when developed collectively, the final product will be a better tool that has been built by various voices throughout then entire district.

      Thanks again, Denise, for taking a moment to share and encourage us on this journey!

      Kind regards,

    2. This was a great post, Tracy! I know our group's discussion at and following the training was very productive and led to some exciting new ideas. I feel lucky to work with people who feel that sense of urgency and are willing to take risks in an effort to do what's best for kids.


    3. Thanks, Shauna! I am very inspired by what your group is doing! The impact on students has been fabulous!

      Kind regards,


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