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February 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to the Wing Institute at Morningside Newsletter for January/February 2022. In this issue, you will find a discussion of the importance of the Implementation Team, four reviews of recent research that can be helpful in informing educational decisions, and summaries of two original papers from the Wing Institute at Morningside. I hope you find the discussion interesting and stimulating.

Morningside Academy is seeking an experienced behavioral educator to join our leadership team. The Lead Instructional Coach will support the implementation of the Morningside Model of Generative Instruction (MMGI) in our laboratory school classrooms through the training and coaching of classroom teachers. To learn more, please visit the Morningside Careers webpage.

Wing Institute Commentary

Focus on Implementation: Implementation Teams

Regardless of the size of an implementation effort, changing the behavior of implementers is necessary to produce changes in student behaviors. Whether implementing a support plan for a single student in a single classroom or implementing a new instructional curriculum for an entire school district, the process is essentially the same. Planning and coordinating across individuals within the system is necessary. Establishing an implementation team is considered best practice within implementation science to facilitate these efforts. The ultimate purpose of the Implementation Team is to make sure all of the necessary actions are completed as the innovation (the intervention) moves through the stages of implementation. The sequence of the stages of implementation is captured in Figure 1. 

Depending on the stage of implementing the innovation, the focus of the Implementation Team changes. During the Exploration phase (the first stage), the function is to determine the need for change, a process for evaluating the various options, a method for gaining input from all stakeholders, and finally, deciding which program (e.g., behavior support plan, curriculum, self-created) to adopt and develop, and a means for communicating the decision and rationale to all stakeholders.

During the Installation phase (second stage) of implementing an innovation, the emphasis of the Implementation Team is to assure all necessary personnel is hired and required training is accomplished. In addition to addressing staffing and training issues, it is essential to acquire all the necessary resources to implement the innovation. Finally, the Implementation Team has to prepare the organization for the change. Every segment of an organization with contact with the innovation will have to change its practices to support it. For example, when introducing a new, school-wide behavior management system that might involve tangible reinforcers, a reliable, efficient method for obtaining and replacing items will have to be developed. To do this might involve levels of the organization, such as purchasing budget that at first glance may not seem to be a part of the intervention. Another example could be introducing a supplemental reading support curriculum for struggling readers. Coordination will be necessary to make sure each student continues to receive all of the required instructional minutes for each content area rather than, for instance, pulling a student from math instruction to support additional reading support.

The first step in actual implementation is a small-scale initiative, perhaps at one school or class. The purpose of this initial implementation is for the Implementation Team can identify barriers and resolve issues without involving the entire system in adjusting the details of the implementation plan. It is inevitable that adjustments to the original plan will have to be made and often require several iterations of possible solutions before the implementation process is running smoothly. Some implementers can become discouraged that "getting it right" takes multiple efforts, and the magnitude of change is greater than expected. Another critical function of the Implementation Team during this phase is to keep everyone motivated and focused on the plan rather than prematurely abandoning the project before benefits are obtained. 

Once the initial implementation efforts have proven successful, the innovation can be introduced into a second school or more classrooms. Once again, the Implementation Team is responsible for identifying barriers in these settings and developing possible solutions. This process continues until the innovation is introduced in all schools or classrooms that were part of the original plan. Fixsen and colleagues (2018) estimate that it takes 2-4 years to reach full implementation. When the intervention is fully implemented, the Implementation Team's role is to continue monitoring the quality of implementation to identify strengths and "drift" from the plans that may limit the effectiveness of the intervention. Given the complexities of a system, maintaining high-quality implementation involves a team dedicated to the task. One person cannot do it alone. It should be assumed that the intervention will require attention and adjustments beyond implementation. Consistent monitoring of the implementation efforts is essential for as long as the intervention is in place. The work of the Implementation Team is on-going. High quality implementation ensures continuous benefits for students.


What Variables Influence Educators' Adoption Decisions?

In recent years, Federal regulations such as the No Child Left Behind and Every Student Succeeds Act, encourage the use of scientifically supported interventions. To accomplish this, it is necessary that educators adopt programs that have empirical support. Little is known about the variables that influence educators' adoption decisions. Pinkelman and colleagues (2022) recently published a small qualitative study that asked district-level and school-level administrators about the variables that influenced their most recent adoption decision. The results are interesting. Three general themes emerged from this analysis: (1) Establishing Need (2) Identifying Options (3) Elements of Program.  Read More.

What is the Cost of Adopting Unsupported Programs?

Even though there is increasing support for schools adopting programs that have strong empirical support for various reasons, schools continue to adopt programs that have no or limited empirical support. Often an unanswered question is what are the costs for implementing programs with limited or no scientific support when well supported programs are available? The challenge for schools is to adopt programs that will produce the greatest benefits for students and do so in a way that is cost-effective. A cost-benefit analysis is one approach to identifying the costs and benefits of a particular program. Essentially, it a ratio of benefits over costs. Read More

What Does it Take to Assure High-Quality Implementation?

A fundamental assumption of evidence-based practice is that interventions will produce benefit only if there are high treatment integrity levels. High levels cannot be assumed in the usual course of practice in education. It must be planned for and routinely monitored. Often, there is not the time and resources to do that in schools, so effective interventions fail to produce the expected benefits for students. Read More

Is Real-Time Performance Feedback Effective?

Performance feedback is often considered a necessary part of training educators. the challenge is to provide the feedback in a timely manner so that it positively impacts skill acquisition. Often times, the feedback is delayed by hours, or days, which may limit the impact of the feedback. Real-time performance feedback is considered optimal, but may be considered unfeasible in many educational contexts. Read More

Original Papers from the Wing Institute at Morningside Academy

Kendra Guinness of the Wing Institute at Morningside Academy provides an excellent summary of the importance of contextual fit and how it can enhance the implementation of evidence-based practices. Practices are often validated under very different conditions than the usual practice settings. Read More


Want to learn more about best practices in education? Join us for Morningside's 32nd Annual Summer Institute!

Click Here To Apply!
Weeks 1 & 2: July 11-22, 2022
Week 3: July 25-29, 2022

Weeks 1 & 2

Every morning, you'll participate in a practicum as a teaching assistant in one of our reading, writing, or math summer school classrooms for children. You'll receive direction from the classroom teacher and in-classroom coaching from our highly skilled MSI professional consultants.

Every afternoon, you'll attend workshops that teach the Morningside Model of Generative Instruction (MMGI).

MMGI workshops teach the 7 main aspects of MMGI, including:
(1) Introduction to Instructional Design.

(2) Initial instruction, including Direct Instruction and other methods that conform to Tom Gilbert’s Mathetics.

(3) Practice to fluency with celeration, focusing on Precision Teaching.

(4) Application, focusing on reinforcer sampling and establishing operations that promote real-world application of the facts, concepts, principles, skills and strategies that the teacher directly taught.

(5) How to design and sequence instruction to promote generative responding. Instruction in generative responding teaches students how to figure out how to do something that they have not been directly taught, based upon what they have been taught. Generative responding procedures include our well-known reasoning technology, Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS).

(6) How and when to probe their learners for evidence of generative behavior. Generativity probes assess whether students can engage in the upcoming lessons without instruction.

(7) We also devote three afternoon workshops to the best reading, math, and writing curricula to implement with MMGI.


Week 3

Continue your morning practicum. Afternoon sessions will focus on topics in instructional design or an additional practicum in an afternoon class.  Everyone must attend the first two weeks in order to be eligible for participation in the third week.

Click here to learn about Summer School Institute
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