Sustaining Changes – Supplementary Session
Facilitators Planning Worksheet
1 hour, 15 minutes

Introduction | Learning Outcomes | Agenda | Exploring Change | Principles of Sustainability | Wrap-Up | Reflections

Handouts – Handout #1 | Handout #2 | Handout #3 | Handout #4 | Handout #5

Sustaining Changes

(2 hours, 30 minutes - total)

Learning Outcomes


Table to show agenda and time
Agenda Length Facilitator
Introduction and Overview 25 minutes  
  • Agenda & Outcomes
5 minutes  
  • Agree on Ground Rules
5 minutes  
  • What Is this Thing We Call Sustainability?
5 minutes  

Exploring Change

15 minutes  
Principles of Sustainability 50 minutes  
  • Introduction to Sustainability
8 minutes  
  • View Sustain the Quest video
12 minutes  
  • Sustainability Discussion
30 minutes  
Application to Practice 45 minutes  
  • Dyad Discussions
30 minutes  
  • Large-Group Discussion
15 minutes  
Wrap-Up 5 minutes  
Reflections/Continuous Improvement 10 minutes  

Facilitation Team and Presentation Information
Facilitation Team Presentation
Name/Family Voice: Date/Time:
Name/Early Care and Education Voice: Location:
Name/Early Intervention Voice Number of Participants:


What you will need:

Audio/Visual Equipment:

LCD Projector and Screen of TV
DVD Player


Sustain the Quest

Charting Equipment:

Flip chart and markers
Masking tape or pins

Handouts (English/Spanish):

  1. Learning Outcomes
  2. Change Worksheet
  3. Sustainability Ideas to Consider
  4. Acknowledgements: Sustain the Quest
  5. Sustainability Strategies


Important Considerations

The goal of sustainability is to ensure that innovations become part of everyday practices and continue to be implemented by programs and communities for many years. Sustainability requires intentional use of evidence-based strategies to support inclusive services. To be effective these strategies should be used everyday by families, staff, and the community and be modified as new information becomes available. For example, when new policies are developed, each policy should be examined with the lens of inclusion prior to the policy being implemented.

Sustainability should be considered at individual, team, program, and community levels. For example,

This session presents six principles that have been identified, through reviews of research and SpecialQuest evaluation data, as sustaining the use of an innovation. Much of the literature suggests that maintaining an innovative practice is as hard, or harder, than making the initial change or implementing an innovation. The data show that SpecialQuest has influenced individuals, programs, and communities to develop effective ways to provide inclusive services to young children with disabilities and their families, and to expand, modify, and sustain those innovations.

Participants in this session will be encouraged to apply the principles of sustainability in order to maintain changes they have already implemented, and to continue learning in order to modify innovations and sustain new practices. Participants will view a video that highlights concrete examples of how SpecialQuest graduates have used the six principles to sustain inclusive practices in their programs and communities.

This session was originally designed for teams to make plans to sustain their innovations. The session activities have been modified so that individuals, as well as teams, have the opportunity to explore the principles of sustainability and plan to apply them to newly implemented innovations.

Introduction | Learning Outcomes | Agenda | Exploring Change | Principles of Sustainability | Wrap-Up | Reflections | Back to Top

Handouts – Handout #1 | Handout #2 | Handout #3 | Handout #4 | Handout #5

Sustaining Changes

(2 hours, 30 minutes - total)

Introduction and Overview (10 minutes)

Welcome to “Sustaining Changes.” My name is (insert your name here). I represent the voice of (insert role here) (family, early intervention, early care and education). Facilitating with me today are (insert name here) (name/voice) and (insert name here) (name/voice).

Facilitators briefly introduce themselves and describe the unique background and experiences they bring to this session.

In this session we will discuss the concept of sustainability and how we keep innovative practices alive and growing.

Add participant introductions/openers, as needed.
Review the Learning Outcomes and Agenda.
See Facilitators’ Guide.

Introduction | Learning Outcomes | Agenda | Exploring Change | Principles of Sustainability | Wrap-Up | Reflections | Back to Top

Handouts – Handout #1 | Handout #2 | Handout #3 | Handout #4 | Handout #5

Learning Outcomes

Handout #1: Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes for this session are:

Introduction | Learning Outcomes | Agenda | Exploring Change | Principles of Sustainability | Wrap-Up | Reflections | Back to Top

Handouts – Handout #1 | Handout #2 | Handout #3 | Handout #4 | Handout #5



Introduction | Learning Outcomes | Agenda | Exploring Change | Principles of Sustainability | Wrap-Up | Reflections | Back to Top

Handouts – Handout #1 | Handout #2 | Handout #3 | Handout #4 | Handout #5


Agree on Ground Rules (5 minutes)

See Facilitator’s Guide.
Chart and post ground rules.

Introduction | Learning Outcomes | Agenda | Exploring Change | Principles of Sustainability | Wrap-Up | Reflections | Back to Top

Handouts – Handout #1 | Handout #2 | Handout #3 | Handout #4 | Handout #5

What is this thing we call sustainability?

What does the word "sustainability" mean to you?

Take a few comments from the group.

We are going to focus on what your programs can do to integrate and sustain all your innovations around inclusive services, at the same time that you continue to make improvements in your communities.

But first, we want you to think about change and how you make change on a personal level.


Exploring Change (15 minutes)

Think about a change that you made or are trying to make – for example, a change in diet or exercise.

Refer to handout #2: Change Worksheet.

Point out that the things that keep us from making change are at the bottom of the worksheet. Some individuals may choose to start at the top and work down, others may want to start at the bottom and work up.

Discuss with a partner, the change you have just thought about. Ask each other the questions on the worksheet and write down your reflections about:

In a few minutes we will share what holds us back, what helps us make change, and what keeps the change going.
Chart 3-4 responses for each question.

Thinking about change in our own lives – the challenges to making change, the supports for initiating change, and the things that keep the change in place – can help us think about this idea in relation to change at work and change that involves others.


Principles of Sustainability (50 minutes)

We will now discuss six principles of sustainability that were gathered from a comprehensive review of the literature. These principles were identified as being key to sustaining new innovations. They address how innovations become integral to the operation of organizations. Successful organizations were found to use several strategies for each principle in order to sustain innovations. The more principles applied, and the more strategies implemented for each principle, the better the staying power of the new practices.

This session focuses on the principles of sustainability and the development of strategies to sustain change. The goal is for you to develop lots of great ideas on how to sustain practices that promote inclusive communities.

The principles of sustainability are closely interrelated and overlapping.

All of the principles are important to consider as you work to maintain the inclusive practices that you have developed in your community.


Introduction to Sustainability (8 minutes)

The six principles of sustainability are:

  1. Clear direction and vision
  2. Administrative support
  3. Active involvement by all
  4. Reciprocal community partnerships
  5. Time and practice (to implement new skills and procedures)
  6. Continuous improvement

SpecialQuest graduates have shared with us how these elements have helped them sustain the innovations they developed through their participation in the SpecialQuest training.


Sustain the Quest (12 minutes)

We are now going to view a video developed by the Hilton/Early Head Start Training Program. The video features SpecialQuest graduate programs from across the country talking about strategies for sustaining innovations in inclusive practices.

Refer to handout #3: Sustain the Quest Video Acknowledgments
Refer to handout #4: Sustainability Ideas to Consider

The handout has examples of concrete strategies for creating sustainable change. The handout includes a place to record additional strategies you hear in the video. After the viewing the video, we will be discussing strategies that you have used in your own programs and communities. You may want to jot down some of those ideas on your handout as well.

Show Sustain the Quest video (12 minutes)


Sustainability Discussion (30 minutes)

Timing: 2-3 minutes per principle.

What are your initial observations about this video?

What stood out for you as you listened and watched?

Let’s go through each of the principles of sustainability and hear what you observed in the videos and also hear examples of what you are doing in your program and community. We’ll take a few examples for each of the principles.

The literature shows that innovations are sustained when program staff, families, and communities have a clear purpose and direction. It is important to have a vision that is concisely stated, written down, and shared with and adopted by others.

What examples of having a “clear direction and vision” did you observe in the video?

What are you doing in your program and community to ensure you have a “clear direction and vision” for inclusion?

Administrative support is a key principle for sustaining innovation at the organizational level. It helps assure that the continuation of an innovation is not dependent on a particular person or a single effort.

What examples of “administrative support” did you observe in the video?

What are you doing in your program and community to get “administrative support” for inclusion?

In order to create and sustain inclusive practices, it is critical that all individuals who are involved with a child and family understand and are actively engaged in supporting inclusion. This requires personnel from different organizations, as well as individuals in a variety of roles within an organization to work together with families. The diversity of perspectives ensures that all aspects of change have been examined and addressed. Once changes have been made and the benefits for children and families are evident, the change is more likely to be sustained with broad support at all levels throughout the community.

What examples of “active involvement by all” did you observe in the video?

What strategies have you used to get “active involvement by all” for inclusion in your program or community?

Successful collaboration provides benefits for everyone — although not necessarily all at the same time. As in any relationship, sometimes one partner gives more than the other, but over time both get as much as they give. All partners need to be prepared to give and to receive.

What examples of “reciprocal community partnerships” did you observe in the video?

What strategies have you used to build “reciprocal community partnerships” particularly with respect to inclusion?

To assure that the changes you have made will continue, you must commit the time and energy it takes to learn new skills, modify old ones, and practice until new skills are mastered. Time must be allotted to support learning and change, and to incorporate new practices.

What examples of “time and practice” did you observe in the video?

What strategies have you used to ensure there is sufficient “time and practice” to incorporate inclusive practices, policies, and procedures in your program and community?

When we think about sustaining innovations, we must also be open to new ideas and information that comes along over time. This requires continual re-evaluation, refining and adjusting as we go along, learning from our experiences, and incorporating new information into our thinking and practices. Sustaining change is a dynamic process. . . .not simply maintaining the original innovation.

What examples of “continuous improvement” did you observe in the video?

What strategies have you used to support a process of “continuous improvement” for inclusive practices?


Application to Practice (45 minutes)

At this point, we want to give you a little more time to think about what this looks like in practice so that you can apply the principles of sustainability to your programs and communities.

We want you to identify one accomplishment or successful innovation for inclusion that you want to sustain. Consider how you might apply the principles of sustainability and some of the strategies we’ve discussed to this accomplishment or innovation.

Refer to Handout #4: Sustainability Strategies

You will be working with a partner to share your inclusion success and identify sustainability strategies. Share one inclusion success with each other. Pick one of the inclusion successes that you shared to work through.

At the top of the handout, write the successful innovation or accomplishment that you want to continue to implement and refine. Write in strategies or examples of what you have done or might do to keep this practice going. Be sure to consider strategies for each principle of sustainability.

You will have about 30 minutes to identify these sustainability strategies. Please pace yourselves so that you can get through all 6 principles. We will assign each pair a principle to focus on for your share–back.

Please record on the handout your ideas for sustaining the accomplishment you’ve selected and be prepared to briefly share one strategy for your assigned principle with the large group. If someone mentions your strategy, choose another.

Assign one of the six principles to each pair. Have them start with the assigned principle and then work through the rest of the principles. It is important to help participants work through all six principles during this time.


Share-Back (15 minutes)

Facilitate the shareback, starting with “clear direction and vision” and moving down the page. Ask for two to three strategies for each principle.


Large Group Discussion (10 minutes)

One of the challenges to sustainability is staff turnover. Staff turnover is a significant issue in early childhood care and education. Across the nation 30-40% of early childhood staff are new each year. As you consider strategies to assure commitment of all staff throughout the various programs in the community, you need to address the issue of staff turnover in your plans. Some people jokingly talk about “cloning” staff who are leaving by orienting new staff well enough that they are able to effectively implement and sustain the changes for inclusion that were made prior to their arrival. A benefit of turnover is that the person leaving can take these inclusive practices with them, providing an opportunity to sustain innovations by sharing them with staff at their new program.

How can you maintain the commitment to inclusion as people move on?

What orientation processes do you have in place to ensure new staff know, and are able to implement, inclusive practices in the manner the program has come to expect?

What training and support do you offer to assure that these inclusive practices are incorporated into new team members’ roles and responsibilities?



Wrap-Up (5 minutes)

Often, when we set out with a new idea or innovation, either in our own life or in a program, we do not consider how we will maintain that change. That’s one reason so many innovations just disappear after a while. Also when the person who initiated an innovation leaves, the innovation is no longer maintained.

People need to plan to sustain innovation. The six principles we’ve discussed can help you to plan for sustaining what you have already accomplished. And, concrete actions, such as the strategies that you have suggested here, will assure that your efforts are part of your community for years to come.

Review Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes for this session are:


Reflection/Continuous Improvement (10 minutes)

We would like to give you an opportunity to think about how this session applies to your work situation. Please take a few minutes and list 2–3 strategies you can start to use right away.

Gather Continuous Improvement feedback.
See Facilitator’s Guide.

Your suggestions for improvements help us to make our sessions responsive to your needs as learners. We’d like to hear about what worked for you in this session, and what could be done to facilitate your learning.

Divide a piece of chart paper into 2 columns, as shown.
Entitle 1 column “What worked?” and the other column “Suggestions for improvement.”

CI Chart
What worked? Suggestions for Improvement

Chart participants’ comments without rebuttal or discussion. Facilitators can act on these suggestions, as appropriate, in future training sessions.

We appreciate your participation today.

Introduction | Learning Outcomes | Agenda | Exploring Change | Principles of Sustainability | Wrap-Up | Reflections | Back to Top

Handouts – Handout #1 | Handout #2 | Handout #3 | Handout #4 | Handout #5

End training session


Learning Outcomes – Handout #1


Change Worksheet – Handout #2

  1. What keeps you going on your path?
  2. What helps you get started?
  3. What keeps you from getting off the ground?


Sustaining Changes – Handout #3

Clear Direction and Vision

  1. Families and staff know and understand the shared vision for inclusion
  2. Staff and families are familiar with and underestand research and recommended practices
  3. The vision is shared throughout the community
  4. There is a plan for actualizing the vision of inclusive practices
  5. Staff implement inclusive practices

Clear Direction and Vision – Ideas to Consider:

Administrative Support

  1. Administrative policies reflect inclusion as a core value
  2. Budget supports resources and materials for inclusion
  3. Policy council membership represents stakeholders who value inclusive practices
  4. Recruitment and enrollment policies support inclusion
  5. Administrators model respectful relationships with families of children with disabilities
  6. Administrators develop partnership with other organizations
  7. Staff selection, hiring, and training support inclusion

Administrative Support – Ideas to Consider:

Active Involvement by All

  1. Team members understand each others' roles and responsibilities for inclusion
  2. All staff model inclusive practices
  3. Inclusive practices are discussed and used throughout each day
  4. Plans for inclusive services are embedded into agency plans
  5. Inclusive practices are institutionalized

Active Involvement by All – Ideas to Consider:

Reciprocal Community Partnerships

  1. Community relationships are based on giving and receiving
  2. Interagency relationships are developed and maintained at all levels
  3. Families and staff at all levels embrace interagency efforts and cross-pollination of ideas
  4. Interactions reflect respect and commitment to collaboration
  5. Written policies reflect a shared vision and philosophy
  6. As individuals change roles or positions, collaborative practices remain in place

Reciprocal Community Partnerships – Ideas to Consider:

Time and Practice

  1. Scheduled times for team meetings to plan and implement innovations
  2. Training activities include follow-up, practice, and mentoring
  3. Innovations are prioritized and given focused attention over time
  4. Professional development includes reflective supervision, observations, sharing ideas with peers, on-site follow-up, etc.

Time and Practice – Ideas to Consider:

Continuous Improvement

  1. Expectations and practices foster skill development
  2. Openness to identify challenges and to try new ideas and practices
  3. Belief in staff that "we can always do it better"
  4. Systematic approach to implementing and evaluating new practices
  5. Input from diverse stakeholders on implementation of practices
  6. Staff and families celebrate successes

Continuous Improvement – Ideas to Consider:


Sustain the Quest Acknowledgements – Handout #4

We would like to acknowledge the following individuals and programs for their contributions in the development of this video. The “Sustain the Quest” video was produced by Joan E. Porter and Gary Christian Film and Video, in collaboration with the Hilton/Early Head Start Training Program in 2006. Many families and service providers across the country participated in the videotaping and interviews. We particularly want to acknowledge the children, families and staff from the family child care homes and centers of the Early Head Start, Fairfax County Office for Children. Our sincere appreciation is also extended to the families and colleagues behind the scenes.
Video Interview Participants (in order of appearance):


Sustainability Strategies – Handout #5

What we are going to sustain?

Ideas for sustaining this change:

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