What model can school leaders use to guide the change necessary for creating inclusive school environments?

Page 4: Kotter’s Model of Change


The real challenge … is changing old assumptions and practices to reinvent schools rather than simply making additions or corrections to existing practice.

Ferguson, Kozleski, & Smith, 2005

Although legislation and professional standards outline the what and how of educating all students, uncertainty over the exact nature of the steps to implementing change can make achieving real-world outcomes a frustrating challenge. Fortunately, principals have a number of successful models to help guide their decisions and plans toward inclusion. One such evidence-based model is Kotter’s eight-step change process, developed by John Kotter, the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership at the Harvard Business School. While consulting with hundreds of organizations, Kotter observed the myriad difficulties associated with change efforts, distilled their common themes, and turned them into a practical framework. An adaptation of this framework applied to the creation of an inclusive school environment is shown on the right. Click on the illustration to view a description of each step.

John Kotters eight inclusion steps

Adapted from John Kotter’s Leading Change (2000).

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Though it may be tempting to skip one or more of these steps to get right to the action, doing so jeopardizes the success of the change effort. Without the solid foundation established by all of these steps, any change action is unlikely to take hold and survive in the long-term.

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