Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD

How Baldrige Can Help Your Child

What is Different About Baldrige? How Does it Change My Child's Classroom?
What is the classroom culture?
The Bottom Line

What is Different About Baldrige? How Does it Change my Child's Classroom?

Northwood 907:girlBaldrige is about building learning systems in the classroom in which every member of the class (and school) is involved. Certainly no one would argue that learning has not taken place in the traditional classroom, but with Baldrige the teacher includes everyone in the process. Instead, he/she works with students to take responsibility for their own learning. Parents get involved, too. Students and parents are regarded as invaluable resources in the formula for increased student achievement.

Keep in mind that schools may be in very different stages in implementing Baldrige. When Baldrige was introduced, schools were encouraged to develop plans based on student and stakeholder needs. Therefore, parents can expect not only differences in degree of implementation but differences in approaches given the characteristics of their individual schools as well.

What is the Classroom Culture?

Class working with dataWe hear a lot about the culture in organizations. It's all about how people work together, how they respect one another, and how they take responsibility for themselves and others. Well, that works in schools and classrooms, too! So the very first thing that a teacher does with his/her students is build the culture of the classroom by creating an atmosphere of trust and acceptance.

Ground Rules

Example of ground rules
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On the first day of school, teachers typically have defined the classroom rules for students. In a Baldrige-guided classroom, however, the teacher and the students establish ground rules together. If students are given the chance, they can be quite forthcoming about the kind of classroom in which they can learn best. They are also more likely to protect and abide by the ground rules that they have established.
How to Use Ground Rules (33K Word)
More Examples of Ground Rules

Mission, Responsibilities, Goals, Values

Once ground rules are established, the class goes on to:

Example of a high school mission statement
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Example of a my job, your job, our job chart
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Class goal statement
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Quality Tools

Students holding an affinity diagramIn building a classroom learning system, the class comes to rely on quality tools to:

  • help students process and increase the participation of each student (e.g., brainstorming, affinity diagram)
  • evaluate the classroom learning system for continuous improvements (e.g., plus/delta, force field analysis, PDSA, surveys)

Culture of Trust & Respect

Students working togetherThe above are typical characteristics of a Baldrige-guided classroom. A participatory and inclusive culture is created, one in which students come to trust and respect one another.

In such a culture, the students are ready to:

  • construct a prominent classroom data center that includes their mission, responsibilities, goals, and core values
  • create data charts to monitor class progress over time
  • problem-solve using quality tools when expectations (ground rules, goals, etc.) are not being met
  • establish data notebooks or folders to monitor individual student progress

Data Center and Data Notebooks

Student at a data center

School data center
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Student with his data notebook

The actions inherent in crafting the classroom data center and the data notebooks or folders distinguish the Baldrige-guided from the traditional classroom in that:

  • students work together and take responsibility for themselves and one another to achieve classroom goals
  • students formulate class and individual goals that will help them meet the expectations and requirements of the curriculum
  • students track class and individual progress on goals
  • students learn to use quality tools to help them participate, evaluate, and problem-solve

The Bottom Line

So what is the bottom line as far as my child is concerned? How will Baldrige help my student to be successful now and in the future?

Student managing data

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Baldrige is the impact it has on student accountability, ownership, and responsibility. Since students are totally involved in the "building process," they are far more engaged focused and committed to their learning. As one student stated, “I like having a data notebook where I can see my progress because, of course, I’m the one in charge of my learning

Students learn to become independent learners by:
  • Writing personal goals based on their needs and the curriculum
  • Developing action plans to reach their goals
  • Charting progress
  • Problem-solving when goals are not being met
Students learn to make decisions and solve problems by:
  • Using quality tools such as plus deltas to examine opportunities for improvement and force-field analysis to analyze what is driving or preventing their learning
  • Using the PDSA cycle to plan for alternative approaches to learning followed by analyzing the results
Students learn to take responsibility for learning by:
  • Writing personal goals that meet curricular expectations
  • Exploring their potential by going for “stretch” goals
  • Monitoring their own progress
  • Plan for a rapid response if progress is not being made
Students learn how the Baldrige Core Values/Best Practices will help them achieve by:
  • Learning to make decisions based on facts
  • Demonstrating agility to respond quickly to changing needs
  • Appreciating and valuing the contributions of others
  • Focusing on the future by understanding expectations
  • Practicing and modeling ethical behaviors

The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence are based on the results of successful organizations around the world. The Categories provide the framework to plan for performance results and continuous improvement supported by the Core Values or Best Practices. When students learn the Baldrige concepts, skills, and values, they are preparing themselves to contribute to the development or successful workings of any organization that they might encounter in the future whether it be a school, business, government, community, or church.

Related Topics in Baldrige for Parents

November 23, 2010 | Maintained by Web Services | Content Manager: Michael Perich