Making Change

Weave data and local knowledge together
to design a change process that reflects
your school, district, or community.

Our goal is to support communities, schools, families, and children to chart their own course toward improving the lives of children during these critical years of growth and transition.

Significant change can and must occur at many levels – individual relationships, classroom environments and activities, school culture, community services, and government policy. At each level – big and small in scope – there are opportunities to improve child well-being now and see benefits across the lifespan.

We want to help you:

  • Identify where and how change will begin
  • Design innovative and concrete action plans
  • Advocate for attention on social and emotional programs for children in the middle years
  • Integrate small steps that result in change over time
  • Create a cycle of study, planning, action, evaluation, and celebration to sustain your work

The Essentials

Engage with others around the data.

  • Share your data with others to start the conversation around strengths and challenges in your school or community.
  • See your MDI data as way to prompt questions, not answer them. Provide time for questions and discussion so everyone can understand how the data fits into your local context.
  • Conversations with educators, families, and community members will help you discover which ideas resonate the strongest–channel your efforts in this direction for your change work.

Set clear goals and build a plan for action.

  • Choose goals that are measurable, achievable given your resources, and which provide something concrete for people to rally around.
  • Seek opportunities for action everywhere. Well-being in middle childhood is built across all contexts: at home, in school, with friends and during after-school activities. Consider who else could support this goal and what else is happening locally you can integrate with.
  • Plan for the medium and long term. Resist the temptation to use your data as a way to diagnose problems in need of quick fix. Improving child well-being is a long-term, thoughtful endeavour.

Take steps to sustain your journey.

  • Build in evaluation from the start. Before you begin, decide what success looks like and how you’ll measure it. Check in during implementation of the project to see if initiative is working well – or not. Keep track of successes, failures, and unexpected results to help you refine the change process as you go.
  • Celebrate and promote your work. Recognize the efforts you and your team have made at regular intervals and remind each other of your commitment to the enterprise. Publicly share your goals and to garner support and connect with other individuals and institutions whose work complements your own.


Additional Resources