Nothing was ever improved by sitting on the couch. You have to get up and go out the door. As one Hobbit said to the other “It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” (Tolkien, 1994). It is, therefore, important to know your route as well as where you are going.
Before one can travel the road to success, you have to start. This is what is called the Baseline, where we are currently. These are the processes that are in place as well as the applications and programs that are use. It is important to know what you have as a resource and how to use this resource. Does ‘program X’, let’s just call it Accelerated Reader, really help to improve student reading? Knowing how an application functions is also part of the process. Back to our ‘program X', is it just a very expensive way to collect data on what books students are reading? Taking stock of one’s Baseline is the first step in the journey to greater success.
We know where we are starting from and now we need to know where we are going. This destination can also be called the strategic plan and so the next level of programs and applications are at a strategic level. These are programs and applications what are two or five years away from implementation. It is suggested that market leaders are identified and investigated at this level. What is the next best program that our reading intervention classes could be using? Cost and effectiveness must be an issue, as well as data management and standardization.
But like some New England poet, we might want to think about roads not taken on our journey towards success. This is what is called the emerging level. These are possible future programs and applications that will be examined for availability and need. These are programs new to you and me and may already be in common use in other districts. Asking questions like, ‘what are other districts using for successful reading intervention programs?’ becomes crucial at the emerging level. This is the place where you have taken the journey, you have reached your destination, and now you are looking toward the horizon, for the next best place.
There is always the next best thing out there. On the road to success, one must keep their eyes open for new and improved destinations. It should also be noted, that the journey is as important as the destination. How one reaches success is as important as the success itself.
Tolkien, J. R. (1994). The fellowship of the ring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.