Our current partnership with Oklahoma City Public Schools focuses on service excellence within the school district across seven standards: Accountability and Ownership; Appearance; Communication; Integrity; Professionalism; Respect; and Teamwork and Cooperation. Our work in service excellence is most influenced by Quint Studer. For those who don’t know him, Studer is the founder of Studer Group and has gained national recognition as a change agent and thought leader in healthcare, linking sustained focus on service, quality, employee, and patient satisfaction with growth and bottom-line results (see Hardwiring Excellence). Specifically, we have translated the results Studer received in healthcare and other sectors of the business world directly into teachers’ classrooms (see Who’s Engaged), evidence-based leadership (see How to Lead Teachers to Become Great), and service excellence in school districts.
Our conversation about service excellence in Oklahoma City Public Schools began with the district leadership’s commitment to have high achieving staff throughout the district in addition to both district and school leaders engage with us about what service excellence means for their school district and schools. We led stakeholder groups in separate focus groups: district-level leaders; school leaders; school district staff; parents; and community stakeholders. Using the feedback from the focus groups we worked with school district staff to develop the service excellence standards specific for their district. Again, standards are Accountability and Ownership; Appearance; Communication; Integrity; Professionalism; Respect; and Teamwork and Cooperation. Each standard included a definition and measurable descriptors. For example, the Respect standard is defined as:
Employees show our academic investors (individuals who have a vested interest in the school district) high regard through personalized consideration.
Descriptors for the Respect standard include:
Be courteous to colleagues, parents, students, or members of the public by acknowledging them immediately and being respectful of their time.
Show initiative in assisting colleagues, parents, students, or members of the public in resolving issues or getting answers to questions.
Act in a resourceful way to track down answers or solve a problem.
Follow-up to ensure the question was answered or problem was resolved.
The next step involved taking all of the standards to the district personnel (leaders, teachers, and staff) for feedback. We used a web-based survey and asked personnel to do three things for each service excellence standard:
(1) Review each service standard, definition, and the descriptors, and then rate (using scale from 1-10) the relevance for each service excellence standard for employees of the district;
(2) Describe what he/she likes best about the information presented in each standard; and
(3) Discuss recommendations he/she has for each standard.
Over 450 employees participated, well-exceeding the school district’s expectations! Analysis of the survey responses is complete. Responses provide an outstanding base for our next conversations with the district about moving into 90 day action/implementation and accountability plans. We are excited to take this next step with Oklahoma City Public Schools and engage with them to focus on service excellence and renew their belief that they are doing worthwhile work that is making a difference in their students’ and their students’ parents’ lives.
The Oklahoma City Public Schools district is committed to service excellence. Their strategic plan focuses on the academic success of students; family and community support; school environment; and leadership. Check out the good things happening at OKCPS at their website.
Studer Education works with institutions of higher education and school districts throughout the United States to assist leaders and employees with creating great places for people to work by achieving goals that help educational institutions achieve excellence.