Quality Performance Management

By , May 24, 2012 7:59 am

Vision: To be the world-class learning organization focused on continuous quality growth for all.

Yes, but how does our school district know if it is realizing its vision across the many levels of the organization?  We ask others to tell us.

We ask our parents, our students, our staff, and our community how we are doing through a cycle of surveys.  The information gathered is discussed at many levels of leadership and adjustments are made based upon the input.  Open comment sections are always a part of any survey, and it is often the candid sharing of our stakeholders in those sections that suggests changes which then become realities.  We are currently in the spring cycle of parent and student surveys, if you did take the time to complete a survey, thank you and be assured that your input is valued and truly considered in our practice.

Additionally, an important district practice is the annual auditing process.  The audit is an ongoing internal process which culminates in an annual review by professionals who are trained practitioners in their own fields in quality practices which drive excellence.  We have just completed the 2012 audit cycle.

Through a regional Partnership for Excellence, our district hosted an on-site review team in March of this year.  The team consisted of examiners trained in performance criteria driven by the federal Baldrige program for developing excellence across business, health, education, and not-for-profit industries.  Their visit included interviews with over 100 staff, both teaching and non-teaching, and community members, review of documentation of processes and policies, and review of a 47 page prepared internal audit.  The visit was followed by the team’s feedback report which outlined strengths and opportunities for improvement which they found did or could directly enhance the district’s realization of its vision.

The 1,200-word report cannot be shared here in its entirety; however, as stakeholders in the success of our students and the quality of our schools, I thought you might find a few highlights interesting.  Each bullet is taken verbatim from the report:

  • Westfield Washington Schools (WWS) uses a well-developed strategic planning process that is student-driven with objectives and goals designed to achieve high-level student results.
  • WWS shows positive results in student achievement correlated with its capacity to attract and retain a talented workforce.
  • WWS has an integrated commitment to contributing to the societal well-being of its community through multiple actions and programs as documented in the district annual report.
  • Learning goals and teaching techniques are adjusted to meet the needs of the students. . . These programs provide positive results delivering enhanced student, parent, and community satisfaction.
  • WWS deploy(s) enhancements to address workplace environmental factors to ensure and improve health, safety, and security, promoting a positive workplace environment and climate.
  • WWS references current levels and trends in key measures and indicators of budgetary and financial performance . . . Year to Year Percentage Change (of those measures) show WWS’ ability to contain costs and reduce cost per student . . .while supporting population growth.

The strength of the team’s review resulted in our district being recognized as a Silver level performer in a fall award ceremony.   WWS is the only educational organization to accomplish this in this year’s regional cycle of review.

All Aboard! Student Support Programs (SSP) Announces an Expanded Pre-Kindergarten Experience

By , March 28, 2012 11:29 am

NEW for 2012-13, Student Support Programs is offering the All Aboard! program for children ages 4 to 5 years old who will be entering kindergarten during the 2013-14 school year. The All Aboard! program is designed to emphasize an enriched kindergarten readiness curriculum and is an outreach of our TOTS childcare program. The curricular-based program offers three levels of service to meet both a family’s child care needs and a family’s desire to assure full readiness for their child as he/she enters Indiana’s Full Day Kindergarten (FDK) classrooms.

In keeping with the SSP commitment to provide extended services and support for all Westfield families and as part of our continuous improvement journey, the district began exploration (SSP blog November 30, 2011) into what families and children would need to meet the increasing standards of a full day kindergarten experience. In response to teacher mom, sibling parent, staff, and administrative conversations, it became obvious that the district had a golden opportunity to meet an otherwise unfulfilled need through expansion and redefinition of a previously offered pre-K classroom experience for the four to early five year old with an enhanced academic approach for the day. The classroom leads from those two classrooms and Program Lead, Jayne Milligan, are collaborating to enhance a standards-based, embedded early literacy approach for the soon to be kindergarten student. Mrs. Lynn Schemel, WWS Director of Assessment and Professional Development, facilitated a breakout session in a full day training of all TOTS staff which provided a focus on what activities, experiences, and classroom structures would be helpful in support of school readiness as outlined in Indiana’s Birth to Age Five Literacy framework. The pre-K leads will continue that training in April’s Indiana Association for the Education for Young Children Early Childhood Conference which will include national authors and trainers presenting brain-based learning, the young child and mathematics, as well as many practitioners sharing what has worked in their pre-school age settings.

SSP staff is excited about future possibilities for developing an All Aboard! program at each elementary school serving the children in their soon to be own home school. A hallmark advantage of the SSP programs has been the close connection between SSP staff and the talented WWS teachers and support staff. Our goal is to strengthen those connections even further.

Enrollment for the 2012-13 All Aboard! program is now open and may be accessed through this district website link: http://www.wws.k12.in.us/subsite/dist/page/toddlers-teachers-and-staff-315

Quality Performance Management: A Key WWS System Driving Excellence

By , February 1, 2012 12:44 pm

We are proud of the work our students do and of the continual improvement in the achievement of those who learn here at Westfield Washington Schools (WWS).  We are equally proud of the teacher quality in Westfield classrooms.  The daily leadership of those teachers and the daily commitment of our students drive the high level of excellence that is a Westfield standard.  Much attention is paid, and rightly so, to those efforts.   What may not be so obvious to those we serve is the organizational framework, WWS’ Quality Performance Management, that supports that work.

Did you know that the senior leadership of Westfield Washington Schools is committed to growing and learning as much as the students?  We do so by working through proven performance management strategies and processes.  The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence provide a system perspective for understanding performance management.   They reflect validated, leading-edge management practices against which an organization can measure itself.  The six criteria include:

  1. Leadership
  2. Strategic Planning
  3. Customer Focus
  4. Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management
  5. Workforce Focus
  6. Operations Focus
  7. Results

In 2006, the WWS Board of School Trustees endorsed the criteria and an annual audit process as the mechanisms our school district would use to continually improve the services we provide to our students, their families, and our community.  Since that time, the administrative leadership has worked at understanding the importance of systems and the interrelatedness of those six important criteria. 

Key to that leadership is WWS’ Five Year Strategic Planning Cycle.  We have just closed a full cycle and are launching the 2011-2016 Plan which outlines an ambitious outreach to rigorous standards that assure that our schools will continue to lead the state and nation in outstanding performances.  Visit our website and select the “More” tab.  You can review the scorecards of the last five year cycle and the goals we have set for ourselves in the next five year cycle.  I believe you will be impressed with the levels of excellence we are achieving in Student Learning, Safe and Healthy Environment, and Fiscal Responsibility.   And, I believe you will be excited by the plans we have for the future.

Growth of Student Support Program Experiences

By , November 30, 2011 4:00 pm

Student Support Programs (SSP), Westfield Washington Schools’ (WWS) unique extension of fee-based services, continues to grow and adapt in support of our students and families.  Before and After Care (BAC) has been in place since 2005 and currently serves 548 of our kindergarten through 8th grade students with locations in each elementary and at the Intermediate School.  The Toddlers of Teachers and Staff (TOTS) program extended its offerings to City of Westfield employees and siblings of enrolled WWS students in 2009 and currently cares for 124 children.  The Beyond the Kindergarten Bell (BKB) program is a very popular offering extending the school day for our students attending a half day kindergarten program.  Summer enrichment has been the primary emphasis for fee-based development in the last two years.  2011 Summer Camp weekly offerings were experienced by more than 1,200 WWS students.  The summer camps are a combination of our traditional all summer, all day camp which supports those families needing child care in the summer months and over 85 weekly camps offered by WWS teachers and staff which can be customized student by student for a summer perfectly matched to the families’ needs and the students’ interests.  Families can research the many flexible opportunities for extending the school day and school year experiences by visiting the district website and the Departments’ tab where each of our programs are fully described.


The Student Support Programs’ staff is committed to finding ways to continually grow and improve services that our families may be seeking.  Currently, the Intermediate BAC Program is undergoing a transformation into the Zone 58 redesign of experiences that will be even better suited for the 5th through 8th grade student.  The redesign of that program is based upon student, parent, and staff input.  If you would like to be a part of that process, please contact the SSP Program Lead, Cindy Nicole, at nicolec@wws.k12.in.us.  The BKB program, as it currently exists, will be dramatically affected by the emerging Full Day Kindergarten expansion from the Indiana Department of Education (NOTE:  see Dr. Keen’s Superintendent’s blog in December for more complete details).  We are currently exploring the level of family interest in a pre-school offering for those students who will be entering kindergarten at Westfield as they meet the age requirements.  If you would be interested in being a part of that exploration, please contact me, Cindy Keever, Executive Director of Student Support Programs, at keeverc@wws.k12.in.us.

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