Spurred by ESSA, School Districts Turn to Process Improvement for Better Student Outcomes

Spurred by ESSA, School Districts Turn to Process Improvement for Better Student Outcomes

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Spurred by ESSA, School Districts Turn to Process Improvement for Better Student Outcomes

Process improvement helps business make better products and healthcare operations achieve better patient outcomes. Education systems now hope to do the same for students.

Improving student outcomes and streamlining often cumbersome school system operations are the focus of new initiatives across the nation.

Part of push behind the move is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Signed by President Obama in 2015, the act replaces the federal No Child Left Behind Act enacted in 2002. Unlike the previous law, the ESSA gives much more leeway to local school districts to decide on how to best spend educational dollars.

It’s also made continuous process improvement a priority in school districts nationwide.

The Need For Process Improvement in Education

The goal of every school district is to provide a quality education to every student regardless of age, neighborhood, race or economic status. However, that requires the best possible management of resources, smart financial strategies and understanding the issues behind low-performing schools.

These issues often are referred to in phrases such as equity, closing achievement gaps, improved quality of instruction and increasing outcomes for students (in other words, preparing them for success in careers or college).

Some states see ESSA as an opportunity. Many have started to revamp entire education systems, according to Education Week. This includes turning to two important components of Lean and Six Sigma: evaluating data and constant, consistent review of operations.

For example:

Tennessee has developed a School Improvement Support Network that supports districts in improving low-performing schools. Part of the effort is on training school district and state officials on the needs of low-performing schools and the root causes of their problems.

New York has already established a five-year plan that sets goals for student achievement and graduation rates. The plan also includes continuous evaluation of those goals and adjusting them based on student outcome data.

New Mexico has developed a real-time data system that tracks issues such as how many students in each grade are behind in terms of earning credits and how many students have transferred schools.

Examples of Six Sigma in Education

The use of process improvement methodology in schools is nothing new. In some cases, Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma are directly involved with quality improvement efforts at school.

The Des Moines School District in Iowa has created a Department of Continuous Improvement that has reduced paper timesheet submissions by 97% and saved $80,000 in textbook inventory costs.

At Temple University, Six Sigma Green Belt Nichole Humbrecht, a senior in engineering, has applied the methodology to the school’s charity fundraising efforts. She works with HootaThon, an annual dance event that raises money for the Child Life Services department of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

A host of universities have also applied Lean and Six Sigma to reduce waste and save costs in a variety of areas, including recycling efforts and improving patient satisfaction at university-affiliated hospitals.

Clearly, education provides as many opportunities for applying Lean and Six Sigma as does business. Training employees and earning certification in Six Sigma can be the first step into making education systems more effective and efficient.

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Original: http://www.sixsigmadaily.com/schools-process-improvement-student-outcomes/
By: admin
Posted: May 31, 2018, 11:00 am

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