Leadership Toolkits

Toolkits are developed by our experts to guide leaders with a framework for complex solutions.

  • K12 Reentry Toolkit

  • Crisis Communication Toolkit

  • Transform Feedback into Action: Engage Stakeholders by “Rolling Out” Results

  • Communicate with Greater Clarity: Leveraging the Execution Triangle Toolkit

  • Return to Learn: Execution and Improvement Toolkit

Planning for a successful reentry to schools header

Leading a Successful Reentry to Achieve Organizational Excellence

A guide to reentry planning along with nine interactive tools that leaders can use to create a solid and flexible plan for reentry. This resource provides a framework for reflecting and scenario planning for the new academic year during unexpected and extended emergency situations.

This toolkit includes two sections:

Section 1: Measures that Matter, Communication, After Action Reviews and Scenario Thinking

This section of the toolkit starts with a self-assessment to determine where you can shift fears to opportunities. It also includes a scorecard to define measures that matter, reviews a communication template to use throughout the reentry planning process, an After-Action Review to reflect on past decisions and engages in high level thinking about possible reentry scenarios. You will use this information to design a reentry plan.

Section 2: Comprehensive K12 Reentry Plan

The resources in this section of the toolkit provide leaders and teams with helpful tools for reentering schools. You will use this toolkit to provide the best benefits for your team. Leadership teams can go through all the resources or select the resources that are most helpful. Feel free to modify any tool to meet your needs.

Your work is more important than ever as we face the challenges ahead. With great leadership, you can achieve results on the measures that matter most and that are focused on student success. High performing people within your organizations want to help students and families thrive in these challenging times. We are confident that working through the current challenges with resources like the ones in this toolkit will make schools better places to work, and where your people are making a difference as they are engaged in the most worthwhile work possible, educating our children. Let’s take on this challenge to build better systems to support student success.

Before you work through the resources in the toolkit, designate or create a Reopening Leadership Team. This team serves as the guiding team for the plan development and reentry process. Use an existing team or designate a team of 5 to 7 people to serve in this capacity. This team will include executive leadership representation and possibly other high performing employees that others trust.

We hope you find value using this comprehensive resource for reflecting and planning to enter the new academic year during COVID 19 and any other unexpected and extended emergency situation.


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Interactive Tools and Resources:

Tool 1: Fear to Opportunities Self Assessment

To start the process, we provide a self-reflection tool for people to use to gauge how they are feeling about shifting fears to opportunities. Use this tool with leadership teams to gauge where you are as a team.

Tool 2: Organizational Scorecard Template

Use this tool to track and communicate progress toward key measures aligned to each pillar for success.

Tool 3: Communication Template

Use this tool to record necessary actions and create a timely message for the right people at the right time with key words to turn anxieties into opportunities.

Tool 4: After-Action Review Process

In this three-part template, you will identify key actions taken in response to the crisis, reflect on the effectiveness of those actions and then begin brainstorming possible scenarios.

Tool 5: High Level Scenario Thinking

Use this tool with your leadership team to create the three most-likely scenarios for reentry and discuss the pros, cons and implications of each.

Tool 6: Reentry Questions By Topic

Assign workgroups to the topics in this tool, and ask them to respond to the provided set of questions for each topic.

Tool 7: Reentry Questions By Template

Use this template to transfer the topic, question and answer for one or more scenarios. Feel free to modify the scenarios to meet your needs.

Tool 8: Reentry Plan Template

The reentry plan document should serve as a high-level overview. It is used as a reference point to answer questions that employees, students and families may have about the decisions made around how schools will be managed. Use this template as a guide to assist the team in creating the plan. Use the headings provided, or create ones that are most significant for your district.

Tool 9: Stoplight for Tracking Execution of Plan

Using your Reentry Plan and this template, map out 30-, 60- and 90-day high-level actions. These actions will be used by divisions and departments to create detailed action plans to execute the district actions.

Leader communicating to employees critical news

What the Best Leaders do to Communicate with Employees During Critical Times

Employees need to hear the voice of the leader. That’s what this leadership toolkit is about – how the best leaders in the best organizations communicate with employees during a crisis.

This toolkit includes two sections:

Section 1: Leadership Mindset for Crisis Communications

The first section focuses on our “leadership mindset,” which is understanding what we stand for by connecting our personal values to organizational values. Also, structure is more important than ever when we are managing a crisis. We focus on routines and rituals and how the two influence the way we communicate. Therefore, our values drive the attitude behind the actions we take. It’s important to get that right as part of our mindset.

Section 2: Essential Communication Tactics and Tools

The second section shares essential communication tactics and tools that provide executive leaders with communication approaches that are simple yet have a tremendous impact on keeping people focused and engaged to work through a crisis.

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Tactic and Tool Highlights:

Daily Huddles

Daily Huddle Sample Agenda

Executive Leader Daily Communication

Sample Virtual Broadcast Outline

One-on-One Connections

3-2-1 Reflection Tool

Key Words at Key Times

Suggestions for using Key Words at Key Times to communicate

Image of department leader conducting a results rollout meeting

Transform Feedback into Action: Engage Stakeholders by “Rolling Out” Results

This toolkit will guide you through the rollout process after a survey is completed to make positive changes by sharing the results and effectively communicating action plans. The toolkit will help you train team leaders in the rollout process that our partners use, get valuable input from stakeholders and make improvement decisions based on the data.

This toolkit is divided into three sections, providing guidance about how to prepare for a rollout, what to do during a rollout meeting and how to ensure action and communication occur after the rollout meeting.

When the survey is complete and the data have been collected and analyzed, you can begin the rollout process. The steps of the process are:

Section 1: Prepare for the Rollout

Step 1: Train leaders on the rollout process
Step 2: Executive leader communicates the rollout process and timeline

Section 2: Host Rollout Meetings

Step 3: Leaders roll out results to all stakeholders
Step 4: Stakeholders evaluate rollout meeting

Section 3: Take Action and Communicate

Step 5: Leaders develop and communicate action plans
Step 6: Leaders celebrate wins and communicate progress

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Resources to Put Results Rollout into Practice:

Communication Template

Sample department manager letter—employee engagement rollout meeting

Evaluation Form Template

Survey discussion evaluation form—measuring the effectiveness of the results rollout session

Action Plan Template

Interactive short cycle action plan

Confused about an email header image

Communicate with Greater Clarity: Leveraging the Execution Triangle

This toolkit focuses on how to leverage the principles of the Studer Education Execution Triangle to enhance the clarity of your written and spoken communication. You will learn to leverage strategies to enhance the reliability, consistency and accountability of your communication.

This toolkit includes three sections:

Section 1: Leveraging Reliability to Communicate with Greater Clarity

Reliability forms the foundation of the Execution Triangle. In this section of the toolkit, we share tools based off of the four key principles that make our communication more reliable: empathy, transparency and accuracy, timely and follow-through.

Section 2: Leveraging Consistency to Communicate with Greater Clarity

Two principles of consistency in communication are key: repetition of key ideas and one voice. In this section of the toolkit, you’ll dive deeper into each of those principles with communication examples and templates for you to use to build consistency in your communication.

Section 3: Leveraging Accountability to Communicate with Greater Clarity

The concept of accountability is key in communication. Accountability is at the apex of the Execution Triangle because it all comes down to someone feeling it is their job to get the job done right. In this section of the toolkit, you’ll learn how to communicate intentionally to build accountability in your communication.

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Tool Highlights:


Tool 1: Begin with empathy to build reliability in your communication
• Sample Key Words at Key Times

Tool 2: Relay key information with accuracy and transparency to build reliability in your communication
• Crisis Management and Communication Plan Template

Tool 3: Choose your words carefully to build reliability in your communication
• Change vs. Adjust Sample

Tool 4: Be Timely to build reliability in your communication
• Manage Up Template


Tool 5: Message frequently to build consistency in your communication
• Sample Communication and Reflection Activity

Tool 6: Message with one voice to build consistency in your communication
• Key Words at Key Times Template and Pre-Determined Talking Points Example


Tool 7: Stage communication intentionally to build accountability in your communication
• Communication Staging Template

Return to Learn Toolkit Header Image

Return to Learn: Organizational Excellence Execution and Improvement

To support leaders and teams in achieving these goals, the Organizational Excellence Execution and Improvement Toolkit provides resources aligned to creating a scorecard, using a scorecard to apply a short-cycle improvement process and turning meetings into improvement conversations.

This toolkit includes two sections:

Section 1: Create a Scorecard to Use as Part of an Improvement Process

In this section of the toolkit, we summarize and provide examples of the scorecard components that set the stage for engaging in improvement conversations with leaders and teams. This section includes defining pillars, creating aligned “measures that matter” and aligning strategic actions to achieve the outcomes associated with the “measures that matter.”

Section 2: Apply a Short-Cycle Improvement Process

After establishing scorecard measures and goals and creating strategic actions to achieve the goals, you’ll apply a short-cycle improvement process to determine how well  actions are working to achieve the goal. In this section, we provide an overview and resources for weekly short cycle improvement meetings, 30-day short cycle improvement meetings, and a 30-, 45-, and 60-day improvement cycle template.

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Tool Highlights:

Define the Pillars

Pillar definition examples

Measures that Matter

Sample Scorecard

Short-Cycle Improvement Meetings

Weekly stop light report
Weekly short-cycle improvement meeting agenda

30-Day Short-Cycle Improvement Meetings

30-day short-cycle improvement questions for results trending at or above goal
30-day short-cycle improvement questions for results trending below goal
30-day short-cycle improvement meeting agenda
30/45/60-Day Scorecard short-cycle improvement review template