Four Ways to Ensure Teacher Buy-In


Here are four easy strategies you can incorporate right now to help your staff become more invested in Kickboard and your positive school culture goals.

It’s basic human nature to want to take care of things that truly belong to us. We spend time cleaning, maintaining, painting, and decorating homes we own to keep them in good shape. But we likely don’t go to such extremes for a hotel room or a vacation house – they just aren’t our concern in the end. The same is true for change initiatives. Those we own, we’re more likely to nurture and champion whereas those we aren’t invested in might not get our full attention.

If school leaders are intentional about gaining and maintaining teacher buy-in with Kickboard and school culture initiatives, schools are much more likely to achieve the positive outcomes they desire.

Here are four easy strategies you can incorporate right now to help your staff become more invested in Kickboard and your positive school culture goals.


Validate the need for improvement with data and share a common goal.


Teachers need to realize the need for Kickboard before they’re able to use it with fidelity and there’s no better way than to use data to help open their eyes to the need.  A simple mandate of “We’re going to use Kickboard this year” will not be as effective as guiding teachers to realize the need themselves.  Did your staff have any input in your decision to adopt or continue Kickboard? Did you and your teachers use data to identify behavioral pain points?  If the leadership alone made these decisions, you can still take steps to help staff realize the need.  


Consider what data points you can share and get staff input on such as:

  • Last year’s suspensions
  • Number of office referrals or send-outs
  • Amount of total hours of instructional time lost
  • School Positivity Ratio from Kickboard
  • A specific behavior escalation (from Culture Analysis)


Make sure you provide time for dialogue and reflecting upon the data. Then, collaboratively determine a school-wide goal to achieve together this year. Here are some goals our schools have used successfully in the past:

  • By the end of 2015-2016, Mid-City Elementary will reduce suspensions and office referrals by at least 65%.
  • Central Academy will build a more positive school culture by achieving a 4:1 positive-to-negative behavior ratio overall for the 16-17 school year.
  • By the end of 2015-2016, Middle Elementary will increase the time students spend in class receiving academic instruction by 50%.

Giving staff the voice and the opportunity to come to the same conclusion you did will go a long way toward gaining a critical mass of teachers invested in the improvement efforts. Working together toward a shared goal will boost the synergy for improvement even more.


Ask the experts.


The beginning of the school year is always a good time to reflect on potential changes to your Kickboard site as well as to make tweaks to your internal positive behavior support systems.  Teachers are closest to the behaviors in action every day, so put them in the position of expert and offer them the chance to give you their advice.  


Provide time to gather staff input on what’s working and what needs adjusting regarding school culture elements such as:

  • Behaviors to track
  • Quick buttons
  • Consequences to automate
  • Consequence rosters to opt in to for real-time text messaging notification
  • School-wide positive incentives
  • School-wide expectations
  • Timing and frequency of culture data meetings

Here’s a simple activity you can use for getting teacher input on which behaviors to track—download it here and use it for revising behaviors from last year or generating a new list altogether. Friendly reminder: make sure you act on some of their recommendations! Nothing frustrates teachers more than spending time on something and then learning that their recommendations didn’t make a difference.


Build a cadre of teacher culture leaders.

If you strategically light a few sparks about Kickboard throughout your campus, you will soon have your whole staff on fire about it!  Start by selecting a group of key influencers to serve on your Kickboard Culture Leadership Team.  Empower the team to set the school’s climate and culture goals, plan campus climate and culture initiatives, help ensure consistency, and be the continued voice for their colleagues. Be sure to calendar out regular check-in meetings where you analyze school-wide data trends and progress toward your goals, plan ways to motivate staff, check on school-wide positive incentives you’ve initiated for students, and make necessary action steps to continue the progress.


Plan how you will use the data together.

The most powerful way to build teacher investment in Kickboard is to get your staff to a point where they can’t live without the data.  Schools that use their culture data systemically, find that buy-in isn’t even an issue anymore.

Before the school year starts, make some decisions about how will you use the data:

  • Calendar it!  If you make using culture data a part of your regular way of doing business, teachers will come to see the value in it. So make culture data analysis a regular thing–weekly or bi-weekly.
  • Determine who will be at the table.  Do you want to analyze data and action plan as a team (grade level or department) or individually (just coach and teacher)?
  • Create a data meeting protocol. Creating a standard meeting template can offer predictability and efficiency.  Having clear-cut expectations and processes for guiding the conversations also helps create a safer environment for transparent data conversations. Be sure that your protocol includes what data points to analyze and has a spot for documenting the action steps participants will take in response to the data trends. Here’s our Kickboard Culture Data Meeting Protocol you can download for free and adapt as you wish.


Teacher buy-in won’t happen without intentionality and true school-wide transformation won’t happen without significant teacher buy-in. But once leaders take action toward helping their staff become true owners of the change, the magic can begin!


Need help planning and leading the change? Kickboard Leadership Coaching can help you move from simply using the Kickboard software to achieving a true transformation in school culture. Contact us at 504-327-5782 and let’s talk about how we can help you as a leader!