Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

Stages of Implementation

The Stages of Implementation lay out the necessary steps, stage-by-stage, for full implementation of evidence-based practices, scaling-up practices, and sustaining the effort. Below are the activities in each stage organized by the essential support structures, with links to some associated tools and materials.

Stage 1: Exploration & Planning

The goals of this stage are to identify the need for change, determine what set of practices are likely to meet that need, decide whether to move ahead with the implementation process, and if so, map out a plan for the work. A State Leadership Team (SLT), supported by the State Coordinator, guides this and all other stages of implementation.

Activities by Essential Support Structures

Exploration activities by the SLT determine if there is a need to implement selected evidence-based practices, and which practices are most likely to result in the desired outcome(s).

Planning activities lay the groundwork for successful implementation of the evidence-based practices. This involves determining whether there is widespread commitment to implement the practices, and if the necessary resources are available for implement the selected practices effectively.

Exploration

  • State Leadership Team
  • Data and Evaluation

Planning

  • State Leadership Team
  • Professional Dev. Network
  • Implementation Sites
  • Data and Evaluation

Stage 2: Installation

The goal of this stage is to build system capacity that will support the implementation of the new practices at the selected sites. Building system capacity requires examining and strengthening the system components necessary to assure success.

Activities by Essential Support Structures

Installation activities focus on building infrastructure, the “getting-ready" work: site and staff selection; arranging for training for each group; developing coaching resources, plans and processes; and establishing the infrastructure for data collection and evaluation.

Installation

  • State Leadership Team
  • Professional Dev. Network
  • Data and Evaluation

Stage 3: Implementation: Initial to Full

The goal of initial implementation is to put the new practices in place at selected implementation sites. Site-level Program Leadership Teams (PLTs) guide the implementation process, review data, make decisions, and provide feedback to the SLT on successes and challenges.

The goals of full implementation are to assure high fidelity implementation of practices and achievement of expected outcomes at all initial sites. With a focus on both fidelity and sustainability, all professional development and organizational structures are fully functioning and working together to support practitioners.

Activities by Essential Support Structures

Initial implementation activities include: establishing feedback loops between the SLT and implementation sites; beginning training and coaching at the sites; establishing the site-level PLT; and, collecting data and using it to measure progress and make decisions.

Full implementation activities include: selecting demonstration sites from the initial implementation sites that have reached fidelity on implementation of the practices; building statewide capacity for new and continuing implementation sites; continuing the collection and use of data at all levels for making decisions, targeting assistance, and building public awareness.

Initial Implementation

  • State Leadership Team
  • Professional Dev. Network
  • Implementation Sites
  • Data and Evaluation

Full Implementation

  • State Leadership Team
  • Professional Dev. Network
  • Implementation Sites
  • Demonstration Sites
  • Data and Evaluation

Stage 4: Scale Up

The goals of this stage are to increase the number of sites using the selected practices with fidelity, while maintaining the existing implementation sites. By increasing the number of sites across the state, more children and their families will have access to effective interventions and supports.

Activities by Essential Support Structures

Scale-up activities focus on taking the initiative statewide. The SLT will plan for and provide the infrastructure needed to support new implementation sites, and maintain and support existing sites. All aspects of the initiative are affected by scaling-up in terms of needed resources.

Scale Up

  • State Leadership Team
  • Professional Dev. Network
  • Implementation Sites
  • Demonstration Sites
  • Data and Evaluation

Learn More

The stages above show how to use a specific implementation process, but to learn more about implementation in general, see the ECTA Guide to the Implementation Process: Stages, Steps, and Activities. This interactive module takes a comprehensive look at implementation science.

You may also gain insights from this video of MN’s experience in implementing evidence based practices (EBPs) statewide:

Tools

All Statewide Implementation Guide tools and materials are listed on the Tools webpage.

  • IDEAs that Work: Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P170001 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

Project Officer: Julia Martin Eile     © 2012-2018 ECTA Center

  • UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute