PLE 5: Module 1

PLE 5: Taking action (planning for change)


The purpose of this PLE is to develop candidates’ capacity to change or improve conditions to address an issue or problem, on behalf of children, families, schools and communities. It introduces candidates to a structured planning process and draws on the issues and arguments selected in earlier PLEs. Through guided support from peers and instructor, candidates develop an actionable plan. Through this, participants will be able to:

  • Formulate an actionable plan
  • Use POME as a planning tool and applying it to acting to change an issue or condition
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of advocacy-focused action plans

Essential question

What elements are essential in formulating an actionable plan?  Elements include: what needs to be identified?  What is the problem?  What are the activities that are needed to address the problem and what would be the benchmarks to indicate that the project is working to assist the problem?

About the PLE

This PLE uses POME as planning tool to identify essential elements in formulating an advocacy plan to take direct action to change a problem, issue or condition. Participants begin with their selected issue or problem, as narrowly focused in PLE 2, ideas about a possible change action to improve the issue, problem or conditions, and the policy levers to use (as identified in PLE 2a).

This PLE will take approximately 3-4 hours to complete.

Learning environment

This PLE is designed to be completed in a large classroom or other large setting, where there are Smart boards or newsprint available for small groups to work. The room should also be flexible enough to allow participants to post their political group maps and enable a gallery walk among all participants.

Pre-session work

This PLE builds on PLEs 2 and 2a, in which each participant identifies an issue, analyzes the core policy mechanisms and decision making systems, and the nature of different interest groups. It also makes use of the persuasive argument drafted in PLE 4, in order to propose a plan for change.

In preparation for this PLE, participants should complete the required readings and have sketched out ideas for a specific action they would propose to take for their selected issue or problem.


The PLE consists of four parts:  the role of strategic planning as a form of advocacy, introduction to the POME as a framework for action planning, trying out the POME on a selected action strategy, and comparing and contrasting outlined plans for feedback and reflection. The PLE takes about two hours and can be used with small or large groups, but best with groups of 15-20.

    1.  Discussion about strategic planning as a form of advocacy.

To learn more about strategic planning as form of advocacy generally before focusing on their own proposed action, the instructor and participants will view the short video presentation on a taskforce report presentation, and engage in a discussion of the key elements described in the presentation.

board meeting on a full service school model—taskforce report.

Discussion questions:

      • Based on the video, what key steps to developing the taskforce report were identified?
      • What key elements of the proposed model were reported?
      • What was the purpose of reporting? How does the forum fit in the policy-making/decision-making process?

The instructor and participants will chart answers to these questions and draw conclusions in getting ready for the next step of developing formal action plans for their own selected action strategies.  At the end of this activity, the group will identify four essential elements needed in formulating an action plan.

    1.  Introduction to action planning

The instructor will explain the elements of an action plan, introducing the POME outline, shown below with an early childhood education example.  The instructor will walk through the POME, explaining each element and its purpose in-depth, providing examples from different fields. In this process, the instructor will work with the participants to define the core elements and examine examples from other action plans:

      • Problem or issue
      • Objectives
      • Methods/workplan
      • Evaluation

Participants must be able to succinctly identify the area being addressed.  Articulate the issue and identify who the issue serves. POME Outline

  Examples of action plans are as follow:

Alaska System for Early Education Development (2008).  ALASKA’S PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN For the Early Care and Education Workforce. University of Alaska, Southeast.

An action plan for special education reform in the District of Columbia.

America’s Promise Alliance. Dropout prevention action planning worksheet. author.

    1.  Drafting a POME-based action plan for selected advocacy-related strategy

Working in small groups of 3-4, participants will use the POME outline to develop their own draft action plans. The instructor will circulate, answers questions and offering small group instruction and guidance. Based on the whole group’s initial drafting experience, the instructor will provide follow up whole group instruction on developing action plans, addressing commonly experienced challenges such as differentiating goals and objectives, developing good objectives, selecting appropriate, actionable strategies, and planning for evaluation.

  1.  Comparison and reflection

Participants will be asked to compare and contrast (within and among their groups) their experiences in developing action plans. They will reflect on the process of identifying essential elements and to identify next steps in formulating actionable plan. Among the reflection questions the instructor would raise are:

  • What did you learn?
  • What stood out for you?
  • What patterns did you see?
  • What new ideas or strategies did you learn?

Action Plan/ POME Annotated outline and process


Problem /Issue/ Need: The problem section of an Action Plan introduces the issue/need and explains why the plan is important and therefore; some compelling reason/s why the Action Plan is needed/necessary, an outline of the specific issue/need (as outlined in PLE 2) for the Action Plan must be included.

  • Describe the problem/issue/need in terms of people it’s intended to serve and identify the exact issue addressed in this plan.
  • Start with the largest manifestation of the issue/need and work down to the specific issue and target population  (e.g. Across America young children are not given the opportunity in school settings to engage in “Play base activities. “There is a growing problem in the way school environments are responding to “play in the classrooms”.)
  • Support the need with citations from research and reliable sources. Use the most recent information available.
  • Describe the issue in terms of the positive potential impact the Action Plan can make on the issue/need.
  • List goals and objectives. Goals are the major achievements expected to be attained
  • Identify potential distracters and their related concerns


Objectives are measurable steps on the way to reaching a goal/s. What outcomes will we be able to say we achieved at the end of the Plan.

  • Objectives arise directly out of the needs or issues identified and are backed up by data analysis and research. Generally, each issue/need described is associated with an objective.
  • Objectives describe who or what will change in terms of a behavior or situation. Outcomes can be expressed in terms of enhanced learning, (knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, or skills.
  • Objectives are often measurable.
  • Objectives are often framed using verbs such as increased, improved, and expanded. A well worded objective addresses who, what, when, and how.

Methods/ Work Plan: In this section the work undertaken is described to achieve the objectives.

  • Identify actions, strategies/treatment to be uses to correct the problem and achieve your objectives.
  • Identify activities that are most important. These can include: workshops, seminars, classroom coaching, mentoring classroom visits, etc. Well described activities will provide a general idea of who the participants are, how often the activity will take place, and some idea about the content of the particular activity.

Evaluation: What will be needed to assess progress and determine if the objectives have been achieved? Evaluation activities should be both formative and summative.

  • Think about the evaluation in terms of data collection as a measure of progress toward attaining an objective.
  • Describe the evaluation activities and plan. Link back to specific objectives.
  • Evaluation tools can include pre-and post surveys, test, focus groups, interviews, participant reports.
  • Data analysis often can include studying results from the above tools.
  • Reflection on the process and next steps.


As an assignment, participants are to draft a 3-5 page paper choosing one essential element as a focus, and develop a POME-based action plan. They are to draw on the required readings, and identify next steps for review and implementation.  Incorporate relevant charts, graphs and visual presentation to guide the reader about the proposed plans and an executive summary.

Extension activities (2 hours)

In a follow up session, participants can share their draft plans with each other and solicit feedback from their small work groups and the group as a whole.

Field work applications

As a field work extension, each participant could solicit feedback from his/her internship supervisor on the action plan and take steps to launch it. Through reflection, participants could document their feedback and launching experiences.

Assessment rubric

The instructor can use the rubric below to evaluate the participants’ plan.






Goals are clearly described





Objectives link to relevant actions





The plan is Complete





The plan is actionable





The action steps are relevant and reasonable to the issue or strategy





The plan incorporates relevant readings






Required readings

Chang, C. G. (2006). Strategic planning in education: Some concepts and steps. New York: UNESCO (education sector).

Copland, M.  A. & Knapp, M. S. (2006). Connecting leadership with learning: a framework for reflection, planning and action. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. (sample case studies)

Love, N. (2006). Using Data to Improve Learning for All: A Collaborative Inquiry Approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. (Chapter 4)

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2007). Schooling by design: Mission, action, and achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. (sections on the backwards planning process).

Suggested Readings

Darling-Hammond, L. (2010) The flat world and education: How America’s commitment to equity will determine our future. Teachers College Press: New York

Pinata, R., Cox, M., & Snow, K. (2007) School readiness and the transition to kindergarten Paul Brookes Publishing Co: Baltimore

Polakow, V. (2007) Who care for our children? The child care crisis in the other America .Teachers College Press: New York, NY

Robinson, A. & Stark, D. (2002) Advocates in Action Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

Kemmis, S. (2001). “Critical Theory and Action Research”  in Bradbury, H. & Reason, P. eds. (2001).  International Handbook on Action Research. London: Sage.

Atweh, B., Kemmis, S. & Weeks, P. (1998). Action research in practice: partnerships for social justice in education. NY: Routledge.

Suggested readings in early childhood education

Zeichner, K., & Melnick, S. (1996). The role of community field experiences in preparing teachers for cultural diversity. In. K. Zeichner, S. Melnick, & M. L. Gomez (Eds.), Currents of reform in preservice teacher education (pp. 176-196). New York: Teachers College.