Now more than ever, K-12 schools and higher education institutions are in the process of integrating health and sustainability as part of day-to-day facility operations and management. In doing so, an institution will ultimately be on a journey to activate, facilitate, and embed new ways of setting priorities, making decisions, allocating resources, and defining success to successfully integrate health and sustainability as part of the day-to-day facility operations and management. This process requires managing change, which in turn requires a consistent, structured, strategic, and sustained effort.  

Navigating the complexities of implementing change, especially in dynamic environments like educational facilities, can be daunting. Change often demands a structured approach, and maturity models can offer just that. Maturity models offer a consistent framework for organizations to assess, plan, and execute change effectively. 

What Are Maturity Models? 

Maturity models are tools used by organizations to assess the effectiveness and sophistication of various processes or areas within the organization. They provide a roadmap for continuous improvement, allowing organizations to identify their current level of maturity in a specific domain and understand what steps they need to take to reach higher levels of efficiency, effectiveness, and sophistication. 

A school may already use the concept of maturity models without even knowing it. Imagine a high school initiating a simple recycling program guided by a maturity model, evolving the program based on lessons learned and continuous improvement, and then expanding the recycling program to all schools within the district. Maturity models can facilitate a systematic approach to embedding sustainability into school culture, starting in one building and branching out. 

Similarly, higher education institutions undoubtedly engage with maturity models. For example, a university that has committed to the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment and is aiming for carbon neutrality may use a maturity model to set clear milestones and systematically achieve and maintain this goal. 

Maturity models assist with facilitating change in three ways. First, they clarify the path forward. They offer a clear roadmap for institutions, breaking down the change process into manageable, recognizable stages. 

Maturity models also ensure consistent improvement. They encourage consistent, gradual improvements, helping organizations build on their successes at each stage. 

Finally, they allow institutions to develop customized strategies that suit their unique context, needs, and current progress. 


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Why Maturity Models Make Sense for Educational Settings