Implementing I-Connect in your School District

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I-Connect is a mobile app, but it’s more than that!

Implementing any innovation in your school district can feel tricky and overwhelming at first. Implementation stages can help to organize how you bring I-Connect to your district and help team members know what to expect each step of the way. Before you get started it is helpful to remember…  

  • Implementing the I-Connect intervention is a mission-oriented process that takes time! It involves multiple decisions, actions and corrections.   
  • The I-Connect implementation process includes four “stages” which will lead to the sustainability of this intervention in the context of a changing world. These stages are not linear, they do not have a crisp beginning or end.  
  • There are key components and processes to pay attention to during each of the stages that can guide the systematic and intentional approach for managing system change and building sustainability of the I-Connect intervention.

Stages of Implementation

Stage 1: Exploration

Is your community a match with the I-Connect intervention? 

The goal of the Exploration Stage is to allow time to assess the potential match between school needs, the I-Connect intervention requirements, and resources and to make a decision to proceed (or not). In addition, potential barriers to implementation are assessed (e.g., relating to funding, staffing, referrals, and system changes) and cataloged in the Readiness Assessment. During this stage, it is suggested an I-Connect Implementation team is identified as a subommittee of an existing school team, stake holders are engaged for feedback, and an Action Plan for moving forward is created.

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Stage 2: Installation

What to accomplish before implementing I-Connect Intervention?

Once the I-Connect Implementation team has determined readiness for implementation and created an action plan of which needs to be accomplished before the change in practice begins, these activities will define the Installation Stage of implementation. At this early stage of implementation the following are confirmed: the essential components or drivers of the intervention are in place, a small group of implementors are trained, and plans are made for providing coaching support.  

Stage 3: Initial Implementation

Ready to try your I-Connect Implementation Action plan? 

I-Connect is available for use to trained mentors, but it is important for implementors and stakeholders to know adjustments are anticipated- even the best laid out plans offer opportunities for learning and rapid cycle improvement.  This stage is known as the “awkward stage” and a good motto to keep in mind is to “get started and then get better”. The support of administrators I-Connect Implementation Teams is critical during this stage since new challenges emerge from staff due to the challenge of taking on a new task. During this stage, it is important to solicit feedback frequently from implementors (mentors) and stakeholders (including parents and students) to ensure I-Connect works well for students and is easy for teachers to use. Implementor and stakeholder feedback is critical in this process, as is the willingness to learn from mistakes and develop system solutions when appropriate, rather than allowing problems to re-emerge and re-occur.  

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Stage 4. Full Implementation

Full implementation of I-Connect occurs once the use of I-Connect becomes sustainable, meaning I-Connect is integrated into school policies and procedures, and is routinely selected as an intervention to support students. Typically, a full school year is needed to reach Full Implementation with I-Connect. Once full implementation is reached, it is important to continue to assess fidelity of the intervention regularly as this will ensure its effectiveness continues. I-Connect Implementation Teams can help ensure that implementation data are used for decision-making, fed forward and back to key stakeholders, and new issues are addressed quickly. 

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