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Right From the Start

Right From the Start
The Essential Guide to Implementing School Initiatives

Foreword by Douglas Fisher, A co-publication with Learning Forward

June 2023 | 280 pages | Corwin

Finally, clear guidance on how to design programs that last

How many initiatives start with great fanfare only to end up accumulating dust on a shelf?  Right From the Start tackles this challenge head on by offering a reliable, evidence-based implementation process.  With upbeat clarity, this book examines the meaning of initiative, provides an intuitively sequenced structure and eagerly shares a vast array of tools. This is quite simply the book all veterans wish they had years ago.

Drawing on Marshall’s thousands of hours evaluating educational programs, this guidebook walks through the entire process of implementation, from needs assessment (more important than you think!) to evaluation—while providing strategies that yield predictable results. Organized to allow for reading cover to cover or to focus on a particular stage, the book includes

  • Tools for analysis so you can effectively determine where you are and what you need

  • Opportunities for self-assessment and reflection

  • "Tales from the field" to help you avoid pitfalls and glean best practices 

  • Discussion questions for professional learning communities

Every educator and policy maker has ideas and knows exactly what will improve their school.  That’s the easy part.  But does the solution really fit the need of the school? Do the school players have the commitment or readiness to venture forward? To get it right the first time, apply Marshall’s model of implementation in your school.

List of Figures
List of Tables
About the Author
Foreword by Douglas Fisher
Introduction: If Any Outcome Will Do...
Part I: Getting Smart Through Needs Assessment
Chapter 1: Success Starts with Understanding Needs
Chapter 2: What's Going on Here: Barriers and Strengths
Chapter 3: The People
Chapter 4: The Organization
Chapter 5: Summing Up Barriers and Strengths
Chapter 6: Let's Get Smart
Chapter 7: Collecting Needs Assessment Data
Chapter 8: Coming Closer to Clarity: Summarizing Needs
Part I Wrap-Up: Linda's Needs in Focus
Part II: Designing and Launching the Initiative
Chapter 9: Designing the Initiative
Chapter 10: Your Solution: Leading Initiative Design
Chapter 11: Facts About Fidelity
Chapter 12: Mapping the Initiative to Your School or District
Chapter 13: The Initiative Plan
Chapter 14: Leading Implementation Action Planning
Chapter 15: Early Wins
Chapter 16: Leadership to Sustain and Promote Programs Over Time
Chapter 17: Advice for Scaling Programs
Part II Wrap-up: Lessons in Leadership, Inventing the Initiative
Part III: From Implementation to Impact
Chapter 18: Continuous Monitoring and Adjustment
Chapter 19: Program Evaluation Planning
Chapter 20: The Evaluation Plan
Chapter 21: Three Program Evaluation Models
Chapter 22: Developing Evaluation Questions
Chapter 23: Data Collection Decisions
Chapter 24: Lining Things Up: A Critical Point in Evaluation Planning
Chapter 25: Making Findings Persuasive and Actionable
Chapter 26: Making Results Useful
Part III Wrap-up: Initiative Impact
Epilogue: Looking Ahead

Every educator and policy maker has ideas and knows exactly what will improve their school. That’s the easy part. But does the solution really fit the need of the school? Do the school players have the commitment or readiness to venture forward? To get it right the first time, apply Marshall’s model of implementation in your school.

John Hattie
Emeritus Laureate Professor, University of Melbourne, Co-director, the Hattie Family Foundation

This is the strongest and most comprehensive book I have read on the topic of implementation. James Marshall has a deep understanding of how school leaders and teachers need to implement initiatives, and he lays out how to do just that.

Peter DeWitt
Corwin Author

Right From the Start offers poignant examples, tools, and processes, and it inspires confidence in the potential for program and organizational transformation in multiple contexts. If you are seeking powerful, practical advice, this is the resource you’ve been looking for.

Michelle D. Young
Dean, Loyola Marymount University School of Education Professor of Leadership and Policy

James Marshall has a wise and dynamic approach to program design. I wish I had found this book years ago.

Virginia E. Kelsen
Assistant Superintendent, Glendora Unified School District

James Marshall’s practical guide offers schools an invaluable tool to plan and strategize efforts that will ensure the expected student outcomes. This is a must read for leaders who are passionate about equity and excellence for all students.

Jose Francisco Escobedo
Executive Director, National Center of Urban School Transformation

Every leader who strives to make a difference can benefit from James Marshall’s practical guide with its clear language and powerful examples. I wish I had studied this book 40 years ago!

Joseph E. Johnson
Founding Director, National Center for Urban School Transformation Professor and Dean Emeritus, San Diego State University

Right From the Start provides leadership teams with a simple yet detailed framework they can utilize to examine the suitability of a program and to develop suitable programs for their context. It will help you identify key elements for consideration to ensure a higher level of implementation success.

Ray Boyd
West Swan (Dayton) Primary School

These tools support planning, selecting, monitoring, evaluating, and revising your programs collaboratively to raise teacher and student performance. The intentional practices and questions lead from knowledge to action to reflection, with appreciative inquiry.

Helene Alalouf
Educational Consultant

James Marshall provides guideposts to avoid common mistakes. You will find common sense approaches to building good programs—understand the audience, the needs, and the design with impact in mind. Stick with Marshall’s wise observations and guidance to get it right for the long term.

Debra Tica Sanchez
Senior Vice President, Educational Media and Learning Experiences Corporation for Public Broadcasting

This is an essential guide for moving ideas into practice. All too often we are disappointed when the intended outcomes of our initiatives are not achieved. Marshall’s work provides what leaders need for action and success.

Andi Fourlis
Superintendent, Mesa Public Schools

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ISBN: 9781071913444