Introduces a four-stage framework for scaling up education reform through community college system innovation to strategically increase the odds of successful expansion, impact, and sustainability relevant to K-12 systems, four-year colleges, and workforce development initiatives.
“The challenge of ‘getting to scale’ is a growing preoccupation among educators, policymakers, and funders who are impatient with the pace of change and of the limited adoption of effective practices and programs” (p. vii). “[Jobs for the Future has] produced a definition of scaling up and of the conditions for its success and sustainability. [They] have identified distinct phases of scaling up, from initial planning to institutionalization and sustaining...Scaling up is an ongoing process, with distinct phases. While each statewide scaling-up initiative is unique in content and context, all share an arc that begins with preparation and planning, then moves into initiating and expanding, and then comes to sustaining, with changes in practices and norms” (p.viii). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

Four stages of scaling: • “PREPARATION AND PLANNING…The first step in scaling is identifying an innovation to test and scale that addresses an identified need. Once the innovation has been selected, effective planning for scale requires thinking systemically and systematically even if a program is only being piloted in a few colleges” (p.ix). • “INITIATING: The next step is to identify and engage likely colleges for initial implementation. Central office leaders create guidelines, organize data systems, and build pathways for communication, while the actual work of program development—refining and adapting the model—takes place at the colleges” (p.ix). • “EXPANDING: The third stage is expanding—bringing more colleges into the network and expanding the program at each college” (p.x). • “SUSTAINING: The act of sustaining is dynamic, requiring both continuity and flexibility. Without the novelty or excitement of start up, sustaining relies on changing the norms of practice and keeping successes visible. The strategies and activities that brought a program to scale—such as professional development, communication, and peer learning—need to be ongoing to sustain it” (p.x). Lessons learned: • “The strongest message from state systems and colleges is the need to think and work toward scale from the beginning—from the top down, the bottom up, and through the middle. The vision of scale—in terms of proportion of the target population to be reached, expansion strategy and timeline, and fiscal sustainability—has to drive planning and implementation from the outset” (p.x). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)