The field of out-of-school time (OST) is often the champion for new initiatives—from social and emotional learning (SEL) to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), to college and career readiness and beyond—given the creativity and flexibility that is inherent to OST programming. As new initiatives gain popularity and increase in prevalence, OST practitioners, intermediaries, and funders embrace these ideas, committing resources to learn new content and adopt new practices only to be hindered by implementation issues.
Research and experience suggest that implementation readiness is a critical factor for quality implementation. The need to implement new initiatives successfully is not something that is going to change or go away. So, what can we do? We can overcome these hurdles if we recognize the importance of implementation readiness and then work to understand, measure, build readiness for implementation going forward.
With the support of the Wallace Foundation and the Susan Crown Exchange, AIR is developing a tool that enables OST practitioners to (1) measure their readiness to implement new initiatives and (2) access resources and professional learning that are aligned with their level of readiness. It is our goal to support the OST field—that is, organizations and individuals—in building readiness and undertaking effective change management in preparation for and during implementation.