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In last week’s “How to Lead” post in What’s Right in Education we highlighted some recent findings from the National Education Association (NEA) and Parenting magazines parent-teacher communication survey. We also provided select findings from Studer Education’s parent satisfaction survey with over 21,000 responses since 2010. The parent satisfaction survey represents a portion (e.g., assessment, diagnosis, continuous improvement) of Studer Education’s selective partnerships with school districts across the United States to implement an Evidence-Based Leadership framework.

These district partners have a true commitment to excellence and want to serve as a model for becoming some of the best school districts in the world. The cornerstone of the evidence-based process is leaders and employees executing measurable and aligned evaluation systems focused on:

Students improving their achievement levels;

Employees believing their leaders provide a good work environment;

Employees providing service excellence, and

Parents feeling satisfied with their child’s education.

One of the steps in the Evidence-Based Leadership process includes Studer Education assisting school and district leaders to analyze their school district with other school districts on common measures for workforce engagement, parent satisfaction, and service excellence. One district recently completed the fourth administration of the Employee Engagement Survey, a 14-item questionnaire with a Likert response scale with response choices ranging from “1 – Strongly Disagree” to “5 – Strongly Agree.” Overall mean differences were significant (p<.01) between the first and fourth administration (i.e., October 2010 to May 2012) for the following items:

My principal/supervisor provides me with good processes and resources to do my job (mean difference .225);

The expectations for judging my performance are clear (mean difference .093);

The superintendent manages district finances effectively (mean difference .487);

The superintendent uses a variety of methods to promote effective communication throughout the district (mean difference .289);

The superintendent makes decisions in the best interest of the district (mean difference .502); and

If given a choice, I would recommend that a parent select this district for his or her child (mean difference .149).

The evidence-based continuous improvement flywheel serves as the centerpiece of our work with leaders and school districts and shows the need to drive performance to reach excellence. The hub of the performance-driven flywheel centers on “principles, pillar results, and passion. When leaders and organizations help employees reconnect to their passion to do worthwhile work, employees are inspired to put in place the principles that turn the flywheel faster and faster until it gains momentum that is unstoppable in achieving organizational goals.

In order to produce these evidence-based results, that is, the significant differences among the items above for a school district, we use the Evidence-Based Leadership Framework and the Continuous Improvement Flywheel Process to work with school leaders to build an evaluation process this is transparent to all stakeholder groups. This is the importance of including surveys, including the Employee Engagement survey; the ultimate goal is to produce better places for teachers to teach and employees to work, and improve student learning and parent satisfaction.



National Education Association. April 30, 2012. Survey finds parent-teacher relationships strong—Teachers given grade of “A.” Available online at http://www.nea.org/home/51796.htm.

Our mission at Studer Education is to 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. To do this we teach teachers and leaders how to get the best student learning results and create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com to learn more about Studer Education’s parent satisfaction, employee engagement, and service excellence surveys. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.