Turn ideas into goals—and goals into impact The road to school improvement and student achievement is paved with good intentions—so why does the destination seem so far away? If you’re like most educators, the answer is a pothole known as the implementation gap. This book provides a road map to bypassing that gap in your school or district, offering a carefully researched, field–tested methodology that takes leadership teams, professional learning communities, and educators all the way from good ideas to systematic impact. Following the five Ds, you’ll:  • Discover goals worth pursuing and problems worth addressing  • Design instruments and actions that generate deep impact  • Deliver interventions and collect data  • Double-back to monitor your progress and evaluate the impact  • Double-up to enhance, sustain, and scale your success You became an educator to make a difference in students’ lives. With this playbook, you’ll transform research and ideas into achievable actions—and make maximum impact.

D1: Discover

D1: Discover

Agree on ONE education challenge that’s worth progressing above ALL else

  • Establish a Backbone Organization
  • Decide the Education Challenge
  • Explain the Education Challenge
  • Agree on What Better Looks Like


Human history is resplendent with brilliant acts of accomplishment. These include the crafting of the Pyramids, Stonehenge, and the Great Wall of China to more modern feats like carving out the Panama Canal, putting astronauts on the moon, and (more controversially) undertaking the Manhattan Project to unleash nuclear capabilities. We have become deeply skilled at bringing complex goals to life.

None of our greatest feats emerged through osmosis. They each started with a clear goal or challenge. They each leveraged the collective knowledge, capabilities, and technology available at the time. ...

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