Based on our February coaching calls, we know that everyone is immersed in the Community Readiness Assessment (CRA) process. Because of the level of effort and time needed to conduct and score each of the key informant interviews, it is unlikely you are thinking about the next step of the CRA process. Though the key informant interviews and the subsequent scoring of the interviews are crucial for understanding a community’s readiness to address language acquisition/language retention, with the insight you have developed from scoring each of the dimensions, you are now ready to develop goals and strategies for improving community readiness.

The first step is to look at the distribution of scores for each of the six dimensions. Are they all about the same? Are some high and some low? If you have one or more dimensions with lower scores than the others, it is suggested to focus efforts on goals and strategies that will increase a community’s readiness for that dimension(s). Be sure that level of the intervention or strategy is consistent with the score for the dimension. This is of utmost important because to be successful in increasing community readiness for any of the dimensions, all efforts toward making change within a community must begin with a goal and strategies appropriate for the stage of readiness (the goals and strategies section of the of the Community Readiness Model handbook begin on page 35).

For example, if your scoring of the Dimension B. Community Knowledge of the Efforts yielded a score of 4.6, the “Preplanning” phase, you would follow the strategies that address the goal of the phase, which is to Raise Awareness with Concrete Ideas. In this phase, it is suggested that you use the following strategies:

Introduce information about language acquisition/language retention through presentations and media, with a goal of raising general awareness.
Visit and invest community leaders in the language acquisition/language retention efforts.
Review existing efforts in community (curriculum, programs, activities) and consider the degree of success of the efforts.
Conduct local focus groups to discuss language acquisition/language retention efforts and related issues and develop some basic strategies.
Increase media exposure through radio and television public service announcements.
Remember, it is the dimension score that serves as a “roadmap” to documenting efforts that need to be exhausted before attempting progression to the next phase of community readiness. This increases the likelihood that the “brainstorming” of ideas to operationalize activities are in congruence with the phase strategies.

Happy planning for your future language acquisition/language retention efforts!

This article is based on the work of Barbara Plested, Pamela Jumper-Thurman, and Ruth W. Edwards.

Source: Plested, B.A.; Jumper-Thurman, P.; & Edwards, R.W (2006, September). Community Readiness: Advancing Suicide Prevention in Native communities (Community Readiness Model handbook). Center for Applied Studies in American Ethnicity, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.