The Zigler Center staff provides training and consultation for the steps involved in implementing the School of the 21st Century. These services are provided on-site, in New Haven, or via phone consultation, depending on the needs of the school.
Training and assistance covers such topics as:
One of the early steps in the implementation process is conducting a needs assessment. The purpose of the needs assessment is to determine the needs and the resources in the community. 21st Century Schools often use a combination of surveys, focus groups, and interviews to collect information about their community, as well as collecting existing data that indicates the needs of children and families. Zigler Center staff provides sample needs assessment tools, gives advice on how to include hard-to-reach populations, and helps schools present their findings in understandable and persuasive ways. The process of conducting such an assessment can also help publicize the new program and build a cohesive workgroup.
For a 21C program to be truly successful, schools staffs and other members of the school community must believe that 21C is important and necessary. Zigler Center staff can travel to school districts to discuss the program’s potential impact on the school and the larger community. 21C staff can also meet with local Board members to explain the program, the research findings, and implementation lessons in more detail.
New programs require funds for initial renovations, staff training, and other start-up expenses. Established programs need reliable, continuing support for program maintenance and new support for program expansion. The Center staff is experienced in the art of fundraising and can offer 21C schools, both old and new, helpful advice on seeking support.
The Zigler Center asks 21C schools to develop a three to five year action plan, outlining how they will implement the components of the program. The plan should include the strategies and activities that the school will use to reach its 21C-related goals, as well as a timeline and evaluation methods. Zigler Center staff assist schools in developing their action plans by helping schools select appropriate goals and proven strategies. Yale recommends that schools adopt a phase-in implementation strategy for 21C, using the community assessment to determine which components to implement first.
Collaboration is a challenging and often difficult undertaking, but it is a key to the success of 21C programs. There are many good reasons to collaborate, including creating better services for children and families, avoiding duplication of services, securing additional funding, and making services more comprehensive. Zigler Center staff help schools identify potential partners, explain the 21C program to key stakeholders, and support schools through the steps involved in collaboration.
Once a 21C program is operational, parents, school officials, program staff, legislators, and funders want to know if the program is meeting its goals. The Zigler Center staff helps schools devise an evaluation strategy early in the planning process, so that evaluation data about both the process of implementation and outcomes can be used to continually upgrade the program. The Zigler Center can also provide various evaluation services, including analysis of the implementation process and assessment of program outcomes.