Steps in Sustainability Planning and Implementation
The following seven steps may be used as a starting point to design a process for sustainability planning and implementation. Your state’s process will be unique and should be connected to its early childhood vision and goals. We recommend that sustainability planning be incorporated into strategic planning and implementation.
- Assemble the sustainability planning team. Consider an inclusive and diverse team made up of key staff from one or more public early learning agency, as well stakeholders and partners.
- Clarify your vision, mission, and guiding principles and confirm a shared understanding of them as the foundation for sustainability planning.
- Establish criteria to determine what to continue, modify, or eliminate, and analyze current programs, policies, and systems. Use data to inform this work. Consider using an equity toolkit or the following equity questions to be better understand the needs of all children
- How well are different racial and ethnic groups and low-income populations doing in comparison to the population within your state?
- How does your state compare to other states regarding how different racial and ethnic groups and low-income populations are faring?
- How effectively are your state programs and policies aimed at diverse populations?
- Create options based on the vision and analysis, and determine sustainability strategies.
- Identify the essential collaborations and partnerships needed to support and carry out the sustainability strategies.
- Develop and follow through on action steps.
- Monitor and evaluate implementation of the sustainability plan in cooperation with your collaborators and partners, modify as needed, and document and communicate your sustainability successes. In other words, apply the basics of continuous quality improvement in a deliberate manner.
The final sustainability plan should include careful explanation of the goals and purpose of what is being sustained, an evaluation of the current context and criteria that informed decisionmaking, identification of options considered and selected, engagement with stakeholders, and an ongoing mechanism for reviewing progress on implementation and making plan modifications as needed.