Setting Up a COP to Outlive Your TTA Program

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One of the benefits of establishing COPs is that they may outlive a TTA program through the relationships that have been formed and the shared assets that have been developed. After the completion of the TTA program, COPs may continue to meet, but less frequently. Their meetings may be less structured if their common organizational needs are no longer pressing. However, COPs may opt to maintain a shared workspace through which to have virtual discussions and resource exchanges. If COPs and their members continue to find value in interacting with one another, it’s important for them to define for themselves the appropriate way to continue. Your role as a TTA provider is to position the COPs to continue extracting value long after the completion of your TTA activities.

There are several strategies to help COPs outlive your TTA program.

As a TTA provider, it’s important to think ahead about how COPs can outlive your TTA program. By employing intentional strategies along the way, you lay the groundwork for COPs to continue on their own. Here are some strategies you might use:

      • Collect, collect, collect!  During the time when you’re actively supporting the COPs, maintain good relationships with the leaders. Periodically ask them for completed case studies, promising practices, lessons learned, and other documentation of innovations and problem-solving. Then you can preserve this information and share it across all COPs and with future TTA participants.
      • Create a shared work space for all members of all COPs.  Toward the end of your TTA program, invite all COP members to join an online workspace where they can find the items listed above from the other COPs.  Although this forum is likely to be un-moderated, this strategy creates the potential for further collaboration and learning.
      • Encourage COPs to document their work and set up resource storing systems that will outlive the group. Consider Jive, SharePoint, Google Docs, Wiggio, Ning, or other free and low cost services that can be found by searching the Internet.
      • Encourage COP members to get connected on social networking sites. Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook help ensure that professional connections remain intact and that obstacles to getting back in touch are reduced.
      • Create groups for your COPs on social networking sites. This will facilitate making contact with all members as needs arise down the road.
Click to open interactivity Check your understanding of strategies that can help COPs outlive your TTA program.

Check your understanding of strategies that can help COPs outlive your TTA program.

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You can help your COP groups prepare for transitions and endings.

Here are some ways to work with COPs as they’re winding down:

      • Acknowledge the transition. As the TTA program winds down, acknowledge that although the COP may continue to meet, these meetings are likely to be very different now that TTA support is near its end. Explain that the end of the TTA program doesn’t necessarily mean the end of their COP. Express your hope that the relationships formed will continue to be valuable. Planting this seed a few weeks before the end of the TTA program will help members think about what they want from their COP beyond the course of the TTA program.
      • Recommend that COPs plan for the end of the TTA Program.  COPs that are connected to TTA will lose this support at the end of the program.  With this in mind, TTA providers can be intentional about having the COPs consider the type of group they would like to have when this transition occurs. You might consider providing a modified action plan template to allow the COP to strategize about the best way to move forward independently.
Click to open interactivity Use these questions near the end of your TTA program to help COPs reflect.

Use these questions near the end of your TTA program to help COPs reflect.

Use these questions near the end of your TTA program to help COPs reflect.

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