All the values, principles, and continuous activities described in chapter 8 apply to the change process for a school. Only the sequential activities are significantly different across the two scopes of change addressed in this book. This chapter opens with an overview of the process for changing an entire school; it then provides more detailed guidance for sequential activities grouped into 4 phases. 

1. Prepare for the change process

A building needs a foundation.  So does the change process. Preparing a school for paradigm change is critical to successful implementation of PCBE.  It is important to choose a process facilitator, enhance school readiness, marshal leadership support, form and develop a small prelaunch team of leaders of all stakeholder groups, and enhance school capacity for paradigm change.

Change Process for a   School

2. Create a shared ideal vision, expand capacity, and develop a strategy for change

Developing a shared vision of PCBE reduces resistance to change and promotes learning, mindset change, and commitment.  The pre-launch team expands into a school leadership team that includes leaders of all stakeholder groups in the school to lead this activity. Each leader engages others in their stakeholder group (akin to pyramid groups), to share and evolve thinking and seek input to the vision.


During this time, the leadership team develops the school’s capacity for change.  This primarily entails developing a culture for change, enhancing the change process skills of participants, engaging the community, forming input groups, and learning about existing PCBE schools.


Finally, the leadership team develops a strategy for their implementation approach (either whole-building or school-within-a-building) and decides which grade levels to transform the first year of implementation.  The leadership team decides on ways that the ideal needs to be scaled back for the initial implementation of PCBE in the school, taking into account the need to make sufficient high-leverage changes right away.  And the leadership team decides how many and which teachers will transform in this first iteration, and those teachers are formed into task forces that prepare detailed designs for the initial studios (classrooms) on each of the selected grade levels.

3. Implement the vision

Time and money are allocated to procuring necessary resources, (for example, hands-on learning materials, digital tools, online tutorials and assessments), finding or designing projects and other activities for students, engaging teachers in professional development for effective use of the tools and design of the projects, and remodeling facilities.


This is also the time to recruit students and hold a student orientation to prepare them for their new roles.  A parent orientation is also held.  Then the school implements high-leverage changes for its vision and makes other changes as the need emerges.  Leaders continuously evaluate and improve the new system.


Finally, additional teachers are recruited each year and form task forces to expand the implementation to other classrooms on the same grade levels, as well as to the next-higher grade level.

4. Evolve the implementation

The school makes additional changes as needed or desired in order to support the high-leverage changes.  Formative evaluation is key.  No summative evaluation should be done for about five years to give time for the evolution to overcome inevitable problems. Eventually, the school forms a new leadership team to develop and evolve toward a new ideal vision.