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Heroic Change Agents Use Data to Fight (and Win) the Good Fight

5 min read
Sep 27, 2022 8:00:00 AM

Learn how to make implementation easier for teachers moving to a student behavior management platform — like SchoolMint Hero!

Someone I used to work with once said, “The only people who like change are wet babies.” It resonated with me then, and it still does so today. Let’s face it — change is hard for folks!

Even when you provide compelling data and a strong rationale for a new approach, the initial momentum can quickly subside as people return to their comfort zones.

A student behavior management platform like SchoolMint Hero allows a school to establish consistent practices in a more effective and efficient way.

Yet as the implementation moves forward, some school users really embrace. Others may revert to what they have always done, since that feels more comfortable. They think to themselves, “This too shall pass.”

Then, before you know it, the momentum and aligned systems approach you have successfully launched starts to sputter.

And even if things are going well and you see peaks in desired outcomes, there are always some natural valleys and dips where we see student behavior falter and implementation fidelity suffer.

So how do you sustain your momentum? And how do you align and scale your efforts so that change continues?

three people discussing implementation of student behavior management

The first thing to consider is that while your absolute non-negotiable goal is to bring about improved outcomes for all students, much of what you must first focus on is your teachers.

It really is indeed about the adults — and not so much about what they are not doing, but how you can provide support, systems, and structures so that as their beliefs continue to shift so do their actions and practices.

School can no doubt be stressful for both students and teachers.

Their “buckets feel empty,” and their social and emotional “bank accounts” are overdrawn and lacking the needed deposits.

As a result, there may be an increase in student behaviors and teachers’ ability to respond to them in proactive, positive, and patient ways do not come as naturally.

School leadership and your team of champions can help by planning and scheduling times during the week to model reinforcing students and to also reinforce or acknowledge teachers for their efforts in using your chosen student behavior and tardy management platform.

man sitting at desk looking at computer and smiling

Simple things are examples of investments that will yield high returns and have their buckets overflowing in no time. Here are some things you can try:

  • A handwritten note in their box
  • A comment on a post it note left on their desk after a class visit
  • A Hero icon placed on their door
  • A shout out in a staff email, at a staff or team meeting, or on your school’s social media account

Even more powerful? Reinforcing their efforts in way that speaks to the language of your school-wide expectations!

For example, say one of your expectations is Here is how that may look in practice:

Kudos to Mr. Jones for being prepared today when our server went down! Although his students were working online, he had a backup plan that allowed learning to continue.

Also, help your staff reflect on what they can control:

  • Working as a team with school goals in mind
  • Using Hero consistently and strategically
  • Approaching student behavior errors as they would learning errors
  • Focusing on what students are doing well and reinforcing these desired behaviors
  • Considering why some students are struggling and addressing things differently
  • Treating every day as a new one (no grudges or taking things personally)
  • Actively planning for effective instruction and student engagement
  • Creating and sustaining a positive climate via modeling
  • Using proactive classroom management practices to foster an atmosphere of trust — one where students feel safe and compelled to demonstrate desired behaviors

Revisit Expectations

Use Hero data to help identify what expectations may need the most reteaching and what students need some additional encouragement or support. Then use this data strategically to mindfully reinforce desired behaviors.


Use Data and Take Time to Celebrate What is Working

Tap into colleagues as a support network, and champion students and each other. Create chances to do this regularly at all levels (Hero team, leadership team, and PLCs or grade-level teams, school-wide, grade levels, and at the classroom level).

Also, celebrate the small wins so that you can make progress toward even bigger wins.

When using Hero data to help celebrate, praise, and reinforce staff efforts, be mindful of how you approach things if the data is not looking so good.

If the data suggests there is a systemic or school-wide issue, then as team do some problem solving first prior to possibly addressing the staff.

For just as you should first reflect on your own practices if student behavior is not ideal, so should you if staff behaviors and usage are not what you would expect. There may be some simple tweaks or systems you could implement to help.

Consider Other Data to Use, Such as Surveys, for Feedback

Use these pre-, during, and post-implementation of SchoolMint Hero to help make needed adjustments. Have a staff feedback box or online form for more regular feedback. Carve out time during team meetings for a quick check in and review of how things are going.


If data reveals it is only a few staff members or a particular grade level or team not using Hero effectively, that is a conversation you have with them directly.

While it is easy to send an all-staff email or address it during a faculty meeting, doing so will dampen morale and the good will and momentum you have built as a collective unit.

So praise in public, and address concerns more privately with the relevant parties — and let data lead the conversation.

Oftentimes, a simple “Help me understand” will disarm folks in a way where they acknowledge things, take ownership, and express a more open view about some support to improve their practices.

As you review data regularly and make adjustments in your approach, remember the classic DuFour PLC questions to reset and guide your work.

These same questions can also be asked when you reflect on how to support staff members:

  • What do students need to know and be able to do?
  • How will we know when they have learned it?
  • What will we do when they have not learned it?
  • What will we do when they already know it?

While change is hard and systems or culture change indeed takes time (the full process can take anywhere from three to five years for sustained change), the investments you make now and beyond are worth it.

Paying attention to the data and strategically using it to guide your efforts around how you support both students and teachers will lead to improved outcomes for all stakeholders.

And that, my friend, is truly heroic.



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