Third Circle of Reflection: Mapping a Path Forward and Ready to Act

In this section, you will learn about the Third Circle of Reflection where participants will review all the information, feedback, and data generated in the first two Circles and use those insights to create one to three 90-day action plans as well as establish longer term goals.

Purpose of the Third Circle

The purpose of the Third Circle is to reflect on the strategic direction identified in the First and Second Circles, complete 90-Day action plans, and determine longer term goals. The Third Circle also establishes the ongoing commitment for the state education agency (SEA), Tribal education department (TED), and local education agency (LEA) participants to continue the work together.

Let’s Get Started with the Third Circle

Mapping a Path Forward

This exercise begins to illuminate how SEAs, TEDs, and LEAs can be a part of a networked improvement community.

Before the Circle convenes, the facilitator will review the Resource Bank for key resources that will inform the group. The facilitator will then guide the group through a review as well as a discussion of the data collected from the prior Circles, including:

  • Narrative descriptions of the SEA’s supports for each item across the categories from the First and Second Circles

  • Responses to the SEA’s level of support for each item in the Reflection Questions across the categories from the First and Second Circles

  • Topics identified as high priorities in the Second Circle

Through these discussions, the facilitator will organize and cluster the participants’ feedback by priority and feasibility while watching for action items that naturally emerge. The participants will then evaluate these action items for inclusion in the 90-day action plan that they will develop in the next phase, Ready to Act.

“Everything’s about impacting and inspiring our students to be the best version of themselves, whatever that is…We all know that a well-rounded, culturally responsive education is a game changer for all children, and it’s very critical for our Native youth. So, us being able to collaborate and utilize some of the tools that were provided by Circles of Reflection, it’s helping me as a district move forward to provide better services for our students.”

Rich Pawpa Broken Arrow Public Schools

Ready to Act

In this phase, the group will take the action items that emerged from the first two Circles to create 90-day action plans and set more ambitious, longer term goals.

90-Day Action Plans

The facilitator will guide the group through reflective exercises to identify strategies that will help accomplish the action items. The facilitator will make sure that the discussion accounts for systemic or political barriers, challenges, opportunities, resources, solutions, and best practices while also fostering collaboration. Once the strategies surface, the group will translate them into implementation steps for short-term, 90-day action plans.

The Third Circle members will use the SEA 90-Day Action Plan Template to create a plan with:

  • Implementation/action steps, person(s) responsible, time, and notes

  • Collaborators/partners

  • Resources needed

  • Evaluative measures

To ensure the action plan’s effectiveness, the group will need to agree on how to use the plan and how to get buy-in from others who did not participate in the Circles. The group will also establish a process to maintain accountability with set check-in points and checklists to be monitored by a selected champion of the action plan.

Longer Term Goals

In addition to the 90-Day action plans, the Third Circle will identify ambitious longer term goals to start a steady process of continuous advocacy. Accomplishment of these goals will pave the way for establishing policy at all levels.

The group will discuss strategies to gain the endorsement of SEA/TED leadership to incorporate the ambitious goals into agency planning, policy, and legislative actions.

Based on the in-depth examination of the data, the reflective discussions, and the collective establishment of action items, the facilitator will guide the group to imagine the possibilities of the accomplishments the SEA, LEAs, and TEDs can achieve together. This discussion will lay the foundation for the description of ambitious goals, which can be recorded in the Ambitious Goals Template.

Sustaining the Effort

Finally, during the Third Circle, the group will put a strategy in place for sustaining the collaboration and implementing the action plans, including how the Regional Comprehensive Center (RCC) can support the work moving forward.

Up Next:
Materials and Resources

Continue to the next section for easy access to all the materials shared throughout Circles of Reflection: A Toolkit for SEAs as well as the Resource Bank.