Making the Case for Quality

               Continuous Improvement in Public
               Schools Through ISO 9001:20...
Quality as a Vehicle                                                      1) Internal customers – principals and teachers
satisfaction, and operational efficiency. Metrics for each objective                English Language Learners (ELL) studen...
Student Engagement                                                                                                        ...
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Continuous Improvement In Public Schools Through Iso 90012000


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Continuous Improvement In Public Schools Through Iso 90012000

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Continuous Improvement In Public Schools Through Iso 90012000

  1. 1. Making the Case for Quality Continuous Improvement in Public Schools Through ISO 9001:2000 by Dr. Stephen Miller Like urban public school systems across the country, the Racine Unified School District (RUSD) seeks to insure academic success for a diverse student population in the most lean and efficient manner possible. With just under 50% of our students identified as economically disadvantaged and more than $41 million in budget cuts over the last 12 years due to rising costs and state-imposed limits on spending, we face an At a Glance . . . especially urgent challenge to provide high quality services to students, parents, and schools. Thomas A. Hicks, our superintendent and chief executive officer, developed the Racine Unified School • The Racine Unified School District Quality District Model in cooperation with administrators and teachers. This model for school District is one of only a few improvement provided the framework for a change in how we fulfill our role as a service organization school districts in the United to the students and parents of our community. However, in order to make progress along this path, we States to achieve ISO needed an additional component in the form of a management system and related processes to carry out 9001:2000 certification focusing on processes that our mission to “Educate all students to succeed.” address both student In 2003, we implemented a quality management system to improve student achievement, student engage- achievement and ment, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency. Now, three years later, the Racine Unified School operational efficiency. District has become one of only a few school districts in the United States to achieve ISO 9001:2000 • Since implementing its quality management system certification focusing on processes that address both student achievement and operational efficiency. in 2003, the district has Racine Unified School District made notable progress in closing the achievement gap between demographic Approximately 21,000 students, from four-year-old kindergarten through 12th grade, groups in reading and are enrolled in the public schools of Racine, WI. Demographics of the community math, improving have changed dramatically since almost 25 years ago when the school district was a attendance rates and highly praised model educational institution and an attractive employer of teachers decreasing truancy and and administrators. Our school population is currently 45% minority, 18% special suspensions, and education, and slightly under 50% economically disadvantaged. increasing parent satisfaction. The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation has mandated a set of requirements that have • Aligning ISO 9001:2000 brought greater attention to the success of all students, but having a large, diverse, economically chal- certification, its Quality lenged student body has made progress difficult. Four of our schools did not make “adequate yearly District Model, and policy progress” in 2005-06 under the state’s accountability plan; the possibility of others joining them within governance has been key the next two years as the state’s Annual Measurable Objective, the mandated percentage of students to the district’s success. who score proficient and advanced on the Wisconsin State Assessment System, increases and thereby intensifies our challenge. The American Society for Quality ■ Page 1 of 4
  2. 2. Quality as a Vehicle 1) Internal customers – principals and teachers 2) External customers – parents of our students, as “purchasers” Our desire to increase the customer service orientation of all of educational services for their children. employees and aspects of our organization, both academic and operational, as well as the realization that only a highly focused Our central office staff has subsequently focused on service to data-driven change orientation would take us where we needed these customers in alignment with four prioritized quality objec- to go, further pointed us in the direction of quality principles. tives: student achievement, student engagement, customer Figure 1 RUSD metrics Two primary indicators, state exams (Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam—Criterion-Referenced Test) and district diag- Quality Objective Metrics Tracked nostic tests (Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Student • Results of the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam— Academic Progress), suggested that our previous strategic plan Achievement Criterion-Referenced Test (WKCE—CRT), administered in had not had a notable positive effect on student achievement. We grades 3 through 8 and grade 10, are the mastery metrics for were not showing the growth we needed to keep pace with state accountability of the district and schools under NCLB. • The Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic standards for student achievement. Progress, a computer-adaptive test administered three times per year in grades kindergarten through 9, provide the virtu- Nor had our previous strategic plan succeeded in changing the cul- ally real-time results necessary to identify students’ instructional ture of the way we do business on a day-to-day basis. The way we levels, adjust instruction, set targets, and monitor progress in reading and mathematics. engaged in decision making, planning, and collaborative endeavors Student Key metrics include the following: lacked a common set of beliefs and expectations. We sought to Engagement • The number of school staff trained in responsibility training formalize decision making by embedding the Kepner-Tregoe and control theory—self-discipline approach—a method of conducting situational appraisal, problem • Attendance rate analysis, and decision analysis—in our Quality District Model and • Truancy rate • Suspension rate quality management system (QMS). These, among other decision • Expulsion rate making screens, are an important component of our improvement • Graduation rate action proposal process. Ultimately, our organizational culture • Student activity participation rate (extracurricular activities, from baseball to chess) needed to change so that employees’ time and energy would be Customer Results of an annual customer satisfaction survey, administered to prioritized, focused, and aligned to our quality objectives. Satisfaction all parents/guardians of students, indicate satisfaction related to 10 statements: Training for all teachers, administrators, and support staff in funda- 1. My child looks forward to going to school. mental work-related competencies was necessary to bring about 2. If my child has a school-related problem, school staff will change; this individual attention to capacity building was well inform me of the problem. 3. If my child has a school-related problem, school staff will offer received by the majority of staff. A better means of tracking progress adequate support in solving the problem. and insuring accountability was also necessary. Fortunately, local 4. I feel my child is being challenged to do his or her best in school. business and community groups supported the change we needed 5. When I contact or visit the school I am treated with respect. 6. When I have a request I feel my request will be given fair and expanded their support to that end. These various forces have led consideration. the district to a point at which we have aligned three principal compo- 7. I feel that the school staff makes it relatively easy for me to inter- nents for success—ISO 9001:2000 certification, our Quality District act with them about things that are important to me as a parent. Model, and policy governance—to aid us in achieving our purpose. 8. When I contact or visit the school, I feel I receive accurate information. 9. I feel that my child’s school is working to help my child succeed. RUSD’s Quality Journey 10. Overall, I would give my child’s school a grade of: A (Excellent), B (Good), C (Average), D (Fair), F (Poor) We began this journey in 2003, when a previous administrator Operational The number of NCs—defined as problems related to district expec- sought to create separate ISO units of each of our 35 schools. Efficiency tations, or problems that create inefficiencies or difficulties for staff and students—is our primary metric. Within NCs, two types of Upon the departure of this senior administrator, as well as the measures are tracked: reconfiguration of the former Research and Assessment depart- 1. Expectations 2. Process ment into its current Standards, Assessment, and Accountability • Alignment to district • Related to central (SAA) role under the direct supervision of our superintendent, mission office functions • Personal responsibility • School facilities we made changes to the overall organizational structure to • Service to students • Materials and/or services develop and implement our ISO 9001:2000 system. • Supporting environment to schools • Resource availability • Internal communication Our chief officers for academics, finance, and operations serve as • Systems approach • Parent satisfaction • Feedback • Student satisfaction controlling authorities in our quality management system; and, • Professionalism • Curricular and two administrators in the SAA serve as coordinators of manage- • Collaboration institutional enrollment ment review, improvement actions, nonconformances (NCs), and • Honesty or placement internal audits. However, the key component of this revised • Access and knowledge • Clear purpose model was the identification of two groups of district customers: The American Society for Quality ■ Page 2 of 4
  3. 3. satisfaction, and operational efficiency. Metrics for each objective English Language Learners (ELL) students exceeded the state (see Figure 1) are tracked, monitored at regular quality meetings, averages in reading at grades 4, 5, 7, 8, and 10, and in mathemat- and reported to our school board during management review. ics at grade 4. Student achievement is our priority objective, and all employees are asked to connect their professional efforts to this goal. In sup- port of our most challenged students, as well as in alignment with Figure 3 WKCE-CRT Results, Hispanic Students NCLB, our student achievement efforts have targeted continuous improvement in reading and mathematics as the most significant WKCE-CRT Reading Hispanic Students data. Our approach to instructional improvement has contributed November 2005 to our being named an American Society for Quality (ASQ) 100 National Beta Test site for meeting the challenges of NCLB. 80 Percent Proficient and Advanced 60 Results 40 We reached an important milestone early in 2006 when our 20 quality management system was registered to ISO 9001:2000 0 Gr 3 Gr 4 Gr 5 Gr 6 Gr 7 Gr 8 Gr 10 standards. Our implementation assessment did not result in any RUSD 52 67 60 64 71 65 68 nonconformances, which is highly unusual for a first-time audit. State 57 62 64 64 63 65 81 Along with our certification, we have achieved notable results for WKCE-CRT Math Hispanic Students each of our four quality core objectives: November 2005 60 Student Achievement 50 Percent Proficient and Advanced 40 RUSD Asian students exceeded the state averages in reading and 30 mathematics at grades 4 through 7 and in math in grades 3, 8, 20 and 10 (see Figure 2). 10 0 Hispanic students exceeded the state averages in reading and Gr 3 Gr 4 Gr 5 Gr 6 Gr 7 Gr 8 Gr 10 RUSD 35 51 42 50 54 47 39 math at grades 4 and 7 (Figure 3). State 47 47 48 52 52 49 42 Figure 4 WKCE-CRT Results, ELL Students Figure 2 WKCE-CRT Results, Asian Students WKCE-CRT Reading WKCE-CRT Reading Asian Students English Language Learners November 2005 November 2005 100 100 80 80 Percent Proficient Percent Proficient and Advanced and Advanced 60 60 40 40 20 20 0 0 Gr 3 Gr 4 Gr 5 Gr 6 Gr 7 Gr 8 Gr 10 Gr 3 Gr 4 Gr 5 Gr 6 Gr 7 Gr 8 Gr 10 RUSD 69 80 86 91 94 65 46 RUSD 43 61 62 51 52 63 31 State 71 71 77 72 73 65 48 State 47 50 53 51 47 51 28 WKCE-CRT Math WKCE-CRT Math Asian Students English Language Learners November 2005 November 2005 100 100 80 80 Percent Proficient Percent Proficient and Advanced and Advanced 60 60 40 40 20 20 0 0 Gr 3 Gr 4 Gr 5 Gr 6 Gr 7 Gr 8 Gr 10 Gr 3 Gr 4 Gr 5 Gr 6 Gr 7 Gr 8 Gr 10 RUSD 74 68 83 81 74 93 65 RUSD 32 49 44 41 35 40 26 State 67 66 68 68 68 71 61 State 43 44 44 45 41 45 30 The American Society for Quality ■ Page 3 of 4
  4. 4. Student Engagement Operational Efficiency In student engagement, considerable progress can be noted as During the 2005-06 school year, participation in the nonconfor- well. As Figure 5 shows, attendance rates have increased while mance system grew. The number of NCs submitted increased truancy and suspensions have decreased. from 91 in 2004-05 to 134 in 2005-06, and the number of schools submitting NCs increased by 50%. This is a positive Customer Satisfaction trend associated with problem resolution. During the 2005-06 school year, 69 NCs were addressed and closed, compared with Results from the most recent customer satisfaction survey show that 47 the previous year. Additionally, nine NCs were added to parents continue to value highly their child’s school of attendance: improvement actions already in place. • 88% of elementary schools per survey question are perform- The Big Picture for Ongoing Improvement ing at or above minimum expectations. • 46% of middle schools per question are performing at or As our QMS continues to develop, we will use trends identified above minimum expectations (5% higher than last year). through our NC system to initiate improvement actions during • 44% of high schools per question are performing at or above management review. Nine opportunities for improvement identi- minimum expectations (7% higher than last year). fied by our external auditors will also be central to our present work and future progress. These opportunities include a monitor- ing system for administration of our state test and utilization of formal project management processes. Figure 5 Student Engagement Results: Attendance, Truancy, and Suspensions As Figure 6 illustrates, quality teaching, quality service, and qual- ity management stand as three big ideas that combine to create Attendance Rates for Students “the big picture” of further organizing our work around purpose- 94.4 ful, complementary processes, including ISO 9001:2000 standards, 94.3 our Quality District Model, and a policy governance model for the 94.3 Attendance Rate work of our school board in support of change efforts in the 94.2 district. Additionally, in response to the recommendations of a 94.2 regionally-based Independent Commission on Education, upper 94.1 administration was reorganized in August 2006. This creates a 94.1 more efficient management structure with the intent to improve alignment and provide efficient, effective support to schools. 94.0 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 For More Information School Year Truancy Rates for Students To learn more about the Racine Unified School District, visit 25 23.2 Percent of Truant Students 21.3 or contact Dr. Stephen Miller, 20 18.1 director of Standards, Assessment, and Accountability, and management review/improvement action coordinator, at 15 9.7 10 Figure 6 The Big Picture 5 0 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 Quality Policy School Year ISO 9001:2000 Management Governance RUSD Suspensions 2002-03 Through 2005-06 5000 Operational Percent of Incidents Academic 4000 of Suspension Efficiencies Achievement & Effectiveness 3000 Quality Quality Teaching Purpose Service 2000 & Learning Customer Student 1000 Satisfaction Engagement 0 2002-03 2004-05 2003-04 2005-06 Quality Elementary 1134 1061 1173 1372 District Organizing our work around three big ideas to achieve Model Middle 4571 2596 2321 2242 our purpose through quality teaching, quality service, and High 3330 1416 1385 1433 quality management. The American Society for Quality ■ Page 4 of 4