More Effective Schools - A Quality Challenge

Article

Duarte, James E.; Coleman, Elizabeth   (1988, ASQC)   Hewlett-Packard Co., Roseville, CA; Sacramento County Office of Education, Sacramento, CA

Annual Quality Congress, Dallas TX    Vol. 42    No. 0
QICID: 3513    May 1988    pp. 758-762
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Article Abstract

In public education today there is a concern for the quality of instruction. Communities, like industry, are faced with growth, and thus, opening new schools, or maybe, a shrinking student population that results in the closing of schools and the merging of faculty. With both situations occurring, a Center for Effective Schools was established at the Sacramento County Office of Education to help maintain the quality and integrity of education. A prime objective is to teach methods of collaborative problem solving. This is begun by measuring selected characteristics related to effective schools and applying the results to Shewhart's Plan, Do, Check, Action (PDCA) cycle. Some characteristics are School Environment, Instructional Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, Monitoring Student Progress and Home-School Relations.

A process for surveying four basic strata of people associated with the school yields data to help prioritize areas where Effective School Teams (ESTs) can begin to improve their school. The strata surveyed are: Teaching Staff, Support Staff, Students and Parents. EST's come in all forms. Depending on the problems to be solved, an EST may contain administrators, teachers, clerical personnel, janitors or parents. The word "or" is not appropriate here since some EST's include people from different groups. Even some labor and management disagreements have been addressed with this process to improve the work environment for the entire organization.

Basic Statistical Process Control (SPC) tools; e.g., bar charts, are used to show results known as the Effectiveness Profile. It feeds ideas to EST's for directing brainstorming sessions. The continued evaluation of data to track improvement in the school's Effectiveness Profile clarifies old objectives and directs new avenues of opportunity for parents and educators. Results of collaborative efforts will be presented to show the benefits of the methodology.

Success is essential to continued EST involvement. To maximize the success ratio, the brainstormed ideas are placed in the Effective Schools Characteristics Matrix. Here the EST can visualize different categories where problems lie. Some benefits from using the matrix are associated with both short-term and long-term effects on strategic planning and budget. Not only will the rationale behind this method be shown, but also the success mechanisms. Building on successes helps maintain the collaboration efforts so that they remain an integral part of how the education process is administered.

Keywords

Human resources (HR)


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