Have you decided where your ESSER money investments will be most beneficial? If so, how do you ensure these decisions actually reach your goals? How can you prevent outside factors from “raining on your parade”? The success of a decision depends on the success of its implementation and the active management of the risks. An ideal decision poorly executed will ultimately look like a poor decision.
Preparing for Rain
Once decisions are made, we look forward to reaping the rewards, but like the potential rain on the celebratory parade, smart leaders prepare for all possible eventualities. We have recently worked with several districts that are using Potential Problem Analysis to ensure successful implementation of ESSER-funded projects/products/programs. As an example, Special Education Leaders in Cumberland County (NC) recently used Decision Analysis to determine which technology products would give them the best possible results with the Exceptional Children in their district. A good decision-making process gave them confidence in their choices. But they wanted to go one step further to ensure the successful deployment and implementation of their purchases. They used “potential problem analysis” questions to consider the risks and mitigate possible roadblocks.
The decisions you make about ESSER funds have an impact on instruction, personnel, programs, students, etc. How can you help support the staff who are essential for this implementation? Here are 4 key questions to ask before planning for implementation:
- If we choose to spend ESSER funds in this way, what are the potential problems that may arise? What could get in the way of success? What could possible rain on your parade? Think in terms of the risks to various stakeholders, the schools and district. Of these risks, which pose the highest threat?
- What could cause the highest threat potential problems to become reality?
- What actions can we take to prevent the likely causes of our potential problems? By when and who will be responsible?
- And finally, If the potential problem does occur, what actions can we take to minimize the damage? Ah, yes – “plan B.”
Spending a little bit of time upfront preventing potential problems can ensure that you have an umbrella of protection once the decision is executed. Most importantly, it will ensure your decisions on how to spend your ESSER funding will realize their full potential. Kudos to those leaders who recognize the need to protect important decisions and think through how best to mitigate the risks that could prevent their success.