“These are just children. They deserve our best effort…” Superintendent Rollins via @educationweek

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Did you read Education Week‘s segment titled “NEW FACES, NEW CHALLENGES: The Challenging Demographics of America’s Schools” featured in the August 20, 2014 edition? In the continuation of the cover article, a “host of challenges” from the enrollment changes (e.g., more students living in poverty, more English-language learners) means increased enrollment, according to the President of the Southern Education Foundation, of “… the kids that we [i.e., public education] historically have served least well” (p. 12). A couple paragraphs later readers are reminded that this changing demographic “is by no means an exclusively big-city or big-state trend” (p. 12).

A reminder to let go of NIMBY or “not in my backyard” mentality and look for a solution. And, the solution is there, in the segment’s Q&A piece with superintendent Jim D. Rollins of the Springdale School District (AR). His district’s solution? “Teach them all” via (p. 12)

Change the way we teach.

In reading the Q&A between Superintendent Rollins and Education Week Staff Writer Denisa R. Superville, ten areas were described of how Springdale district leaders and teachers changed the way they teach (p. 12, paraphrased/summarized below):

Teacher Professional Development focused on Diversity (e.g., 40% of certified teachers earned ESL endorsements)

Created programs for new students’ language needs

Adjusted delivery of instruction

Organized instructional time differently

Engaged in more cooperative learning

Engage in studies of generational poverty and interfaced findings / needs at the school level

Adjust classes, create new (e.g., shelter) classes

Make decisions using ongoing assessment data

Reorganize enrollment process

Create family literacy model where families were brought to school to learn alongside their children

An enrollment challenge met by keeping the focus, “teach them all.” Near the end of the published interview, the superintendent adds, “These are just children. They deserve our best effort. We may well have to redefine ourselves in order to serve those needs” (p. 12).

At Studer Education and Studer Group we always include a “Connect to Purpose” during employee engagement and professional development events. Recently, my colleague shared that “Connect to Purpose” serves as a reminder to us about “why we are here,” and that it connects to the reason we work hard, every day, to make education a better place for students, families, employees, educators, and leaders. Today, we are reminded no matter what the challenges we face as educators and educational leaders, “These are just children. They deserve our best effort.” Thank you, Superintendent Rollins and employees in Springdale School District, for being our connect to purpose.

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Maxwell, Lesli A. (August 20, 2014). U.S. School enrollment Hits Majority-Minority Milestone. Education Week. Accessed online here: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/08/20/01demographics.h34.html.

Superville, Denisa R. (August 20, 2014). Q&A: An Arkansas School District’s Response to Population Change: Arkansas district chief shares lessons. Education Week. Accessed online here: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/08/20/01demographics.h34.html.

Our mission at Studer Education is to help education systems achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement, employee engagement, support services, and financial efficiencies and productivity. Our goal is to help school systems provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the seventh straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

A Great Place To Work: @StuderGroup Living What We Teach And Coach

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For the 7th consecutive year, Studer Group was named one of the best workplaces in the U.S. Last night, Debbie Ritchie, Senior Leader and Chief Operations Officer at Studer Group, was honored to accept Studer Group’s award and #5 ranking at the Great Place to Work® (GPTW) Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. This is the fourth consecutive year for Studer Group in the top ten! This morning Ms. Ritchie shared the news and the recognition with colleagues:

At [the Awards Ceremony], I joined other companies in sharing best practices and celebrating the people who make our companies great. As our name was called, GPTW staff highlighted Studer Groups’ “Tokens of Appreciation” program. Several people there later asked me to tell them more about it so that they could start the same recognition program in their organization. What an accomplishment for all of us. CONGRATULATIONS team!!

Each of you – living the values and standards of behavior – makes Studer Group’s culture what it is. Thank you for your input and engagement by taking the survey and for your continued commitment to our mission; for your passion and dedication; and for the difference you are making each and every day. What a great team we have!

GPTW

How are companies selected? Each organization is scored on two factors: two-thirds of the score is based upon employee feedback (via the Great Place to Work® survey) and one-third is based upon a company’s application, including an in-depth questionnaire about company practices, benefits and more. Great Place to Work®  evaluates each application across five dimensions: credibility, respect, fairness, price and camaraderie. In compiling the list, Great Place to Work® has found that employees believe they work for great organizations when they consistently trust the people they work for; have pride in what they do and enjoy the people they work with.

The 2014 Great Place to Work® Best Small & Medium Workplaces list will be published in the October 6th issue of Fortune magazine, available online today at www.fortune.com and www.greatplacetowork.com and available at newsstands Monday, September 22, 2014.

Studer Education

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Special thanks to colleagues Debbie Ritchie and Laura Koontz. The content of this post is used/adapted with permission from them.

Great Place to Work® image credit to website here.

About Studer Group. A recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Studer Group is an outcomes-based healthcare performance improvement firm that works with healthcare organizations in the United States, Canada, Australia and beyond, teaching them how to achieve, sustain, and accelerate exceptional clinical, operational, and financial results. Working together, they help to get the foundation right so organizations can build a sustainable culture that promotes accountability, fosters innovation, and consistently delivers a great patient experience and the best quality outcomes over time. To learn more about Studer Group, visit http://studergroup.com.

About Great Place to Work. Great Place to Work® is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and employer branding programs, including Best Companies lists and workplace reviews, Great Place to Work® provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures. In the United States, Great Place to Work® produces the annual Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list and the Great Place to Work® Best Small & Medium Workplaces list. Follow Great Place to Work® online at www.greatplacetowork.com and on Twitter at @GPTW_US. For information about global operations at Great Place to Work®, visit www.greatplacetowork.net.

Our mission at Studer Education is to help education systems achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement, employee engagement, support services, and financial efficiencies and productivity. Our goal is to help school systems provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the seventh straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Five Quick Reads for the Week: Focus on #Engagement

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This week’s Quick Reads focus on leadership, employee engagement, and continuous improvement.

GiveMe5Reads

The message from this Inc. article is that “there are plenty of benefits to showing your true self, quirks and all, around your employees.” Weird? Not really. Check it out at “Want to Be a Great Leader? Start Acting Weirder

One tip from Harvard Business Review’s The Chief Innovation Officer’s 100-Day Plan” is to invest time with the organization’s top executives. Why?

It is particularly important to understand these executives’ views of two things – innovation’s role in helping the company achieve its growth goals and your role in leading innovation. Is innovation intended to improve and expand the existing business, or is it meant to redefine the company itself and the industry in which it operates? Do executives expect you to establish and incubate a growth businesses, act as a coach to existing teams, or focus on establishing a culture of innovation so that new ideas emerge organically?

How To Know What Feedback To Take, And What To Ignore” offers professional development suggestions for leaders via Fast Company‘s Hit the Ground Running blog.

From SmartBlog on Leadership, “Puppyforce: A case study in employee engagement and organizational success

A systems improvement message delivered by the Baldrige Program’s blog, Blogrige, Improving Board Performance the Baldrige Way

Quick Reads offers us an opportunity to share some of what we’re reading each week. Let us know how you connect with the articles and share with us and WRIE readers what you’re reading.

Studer Education

 

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Our mission at Studer Education is to help education systems achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement, employee engagement, support services, and financial efficiencies and productivity. Our goal is to help school systems provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

“I had 30 years of experience working with young people, but had never been a classroom teacher.”

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These are the words of Ms. Lillian Pfluke one of our TeacherReady® teachers. Is it you?

“I had 30 years of experience working with young people, but had never been a classroom teacher.”

Ms. Pfluke is one of more than 900 TeacherReady® alumni teaching in 49 different states and 71 countries. As a second career teacher, Ms. Pfluke started as a middle school mathematics teacher, and has since branched out to high school physics and physical education. When asked about her journey to becoming an educator, Ms. Pfluke responded, “I absolutely love my job, my school, and the kids I have the privilege to teach at the American School of Paris.”

Pfluke

I’ve heard it said many times, “To be an educator is a special calling.” I believe this is true for great teachers and great leaders who choose to work in K12 education. They are the ones who work tirelessly to help students learn, grow, and achieve, the ones who make sure parents are satisfied with their children’s learning experience, the ones who never give up. After 30 years of working with young people, Ms. Pfluke answered the call to become a great teacher in the classroom.

The teaching profession benefits from experienced professionals choosing to teach. More importantly, students benefit. We hope that you connect with Ms. Pfluke’s experience and that teaching becomes a career option for you and other individuals who may have never considered it before.

TeacherReady, Alternative Teaching Certification, Alt Cert

 

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Many, many thanks to Ms. Lillian Pfluke for sharing her experience with readers of Teaching Today and What’s Right. We thank her for choosing to teach and broadening the academic experiences of her students.

TeacherReady® is state approved online alternative certification program and is the Educator Preparation Institute of the NCATE accredited Professional Education Unit at the University of West Florida. Upon completion of TeacherReady, individuals earn a professional teaching certificate from the State of Florida. Visit the TeacherReady website or connect with them on Facebook for more information. Ms. Michelle Keller is the program associate at TeacherReady® and assists individuals with questions about the program and application process. Please contact her by email (michelle.keller@studereducation.com) or phone (850.432.7051) for more information about enrolling in TeacherReady®.

Our mission at Studer Education is to help education systems achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement, employee engagement, support services, and financial efficiencies and productivity. Our goal is to help school systems provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Got Message Optimization? Define Strategic Actions

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One of Shakespeare’s most famous quotes is one short line that “encapsulates the central struggle and tragedy of the play Romeo and Juliet” (II, ii, 1-2):

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Message optimization? Absolutely! The play’s central message is delivered in a few words, which then became a “most famous quote.” In a recent blog, Brady writes:

Optimization implies choosing better options over less desirable options. Without constraints… it is very difficult to make the best optimization decisions.

Brady just happens to be writing about setting a budget line-item, but the idea is transferable to how we think about reaching a departmental or organizational goal. As leaders we are challenged to think about optimization in the way we define and commit to strategic actions. In education, this means whether we’re leaders of a school or leaders of facilities, bus transportation, or food services, our school/department goals align to our district’s goal of “increasing student achievement.” So, where does optimization fit? It’s getting leaders and employees to think a different way about how to achieve the goal. Here’s an example my colleagues shared recently from Ms. Ruth Ann Kiley-Wiedmeyer, Director of Food Services for the School District of Menomonee Falls (WI):

When I talk with the youngsters in my life they tell me that “Taco/Nacho Day” is one of their all-time favorite school cafeteria meals. So what happens when it is no longer cost-effective to deliver this favorite menu day? This is the question the Food Services department in the School District of Menomonee Falls recently addressed. In order to keep this favorite menu day the Food Services team needed to think differently about how to deliver the Taco/Nacho Day menu more cost effectively.

SDMF grab and go lineAs a first step, the Food Services team reviewed the costs and processes of Taco/Nacho Day. In doing so, they found that one step in the day’s process, scraping cheese off of food trays, was very time-consuming and therefore not cost-effective. Ms. Kiley-Wiedmeyer and her team reviewed the costs for each step in the current process and the day’s process costs after placing an alternative step in the process—purchasing throw-away paper “boats” to place the taco/nacho items in—which eliminated the time-consuming (and costly) step of scraping cheese from the food trays. The result? Annual savings of $40,000!

By optimizing a process, Food Services saved money which goes right back to educating the kids that these employees see and serve every day. Thinking differently and engaging with one another in systems improvement challenge us as leaders and employees to learn, grow, create, and perform better by constantly striving to become better and better at what we do. The end results are that we think about ways to improve that we may not have thought about before and we optimize processes that may lead to costs savings that may be re-purposed to achieving our organization’s mission.

Studer Education

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Brady, Robert. (September 9, 2014). How To Set A PPC Budget blog post for Search Engine People. Available online at http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/howto-budget-ppc.html.

Discussion of Shakespeare quote accessed 9.15.2014 from eNotes here.

Photo credit of “Grab and Go” food line to School District of Menomonee Falls. Available here. Photo credit of Ms. Ruth Ann Kiley-Wiedmeyer to SDMF. Available here.

KileySpecial thanks to Ms. Ruth Ann Kiley-Wiedmeyer is Director of Food Services for the School District of Menomonee Falls (WI). The Taco/Nacho Day example highlights her leadership and the work of her team, and their engagement in saving the district thousands of dollars that can be re-purposed to meet the instructional needs of students in their school district.

Our mission at Studer Education is to help education systems achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement, employee engagement, support services, and financial efficiencies and productivity. Our goal is to help school systems provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

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