Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD

Baldrige & Montgomery County Public Schools:
A Historical Perspective

The Baldrige In Education Initiative
Leadership Team
External Feedback
Senate Productivity Award
A System-Wide Initiative
Web Site for Staff, Leaders, Parents, snd Students

The Baldrige In Education Initiative

The introduction of the Baldrige practices and principles in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) began with the Baldrige in Education Initiative (BiE IN), a national effort to transform the American K-12 education system using the Malcolm Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence as a framework for restructuring education and improving student performance.

BiE IN was managed by the National Alliance of Business and the American Productivity and Quality Center . During its tenure, it gained the support of 26 leading national education and business organizations that joined together to help states, districts, and communities build capacity to accelerate and sustain continuous improvement in student achievement and system performance, bringing a vision of excellence and equity in American K-12 education.

Maryland, Indiana, Illinois, New Mexico, Ohio and Texas were the BiE IN pilot states. MCPS applied for a Goals 2000 Grant to become one of six counties in the state to receive grant funding to implement the Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence The other counties involved were Carroll, Baltimore, Wicomoco, Howard, and Kent. Currently, eleven counties in the state are participating in the project and include Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Queen Anne, and St. Mary's. MCPS has implemented the Baldrige Criteria in all 192 schools and some offices.


MCPS also participated in a Baldrige self-assessment in the fall of 2000 initiated by Dr. Jerry Weast, Superintendent , to help determine the direction for the school system. The purpose of the assessment was to use a world-class standard for assessing its current strengths and opportunities for improvement. The feedback report provided to the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education by the University of Maryland Center for Quality and Productivity became one of the data points for making significant changes.

The results of the assessment were compiled into an extensive feedback report that was presented to the Board of Education at its retreat on January 12, 2001. Many of the recommendations contained in the report have been implemented, such as the development of a comprehensive strategic plan aligned with the system’s goals and priorities to guide the work and monitor results of the school system. Other recommendations and/or opportunities for improvement, such as closing the achievement gap between all student groups, continue to be addressed in Our Call to Action: Pursuit of Excellence .

Leadership Team

A Baldrige Leadership Team, representing all stakeholder groups, was established in February 2002, and has served as the guiding coalition for implementing the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence throughout MCPS.

The Board of Education has also taken a leadership role in the Baldrige initiative in MCPS and has used the Baldrige Criteria to help frame their work. Mrs. Sharon Cox in her various administrative roles on the Board of Education, has served as a member of the team and was instrumental in involving the Board and articulating the Board’s perspective during leadership team meetings. Mr. Christopher Barclay is the current vice president of the Board of Education and member of the team.

The team meets monthly to monitor the implementation and to discuss deployment strategies. An outgrowth of the team’s work has been the deployment of a Baldrige guided school improvement planning process that adds additional rigor and accountability to the current process.

Over a period of three years, three cohorts of schools participated in two days of intensive training. The schools were required to have all stakeholder groups represented. Staff development specialists, community superintendents, directors of school performance, and the coordinator of system wide continuous improvement have provided follow-up support with the result that all schools will have met the school system’s expectation to implement the new process by the year 2006.

External Feedback

Consistent with the philosophy of continuous improvement, Montgomery County Public Schools applied for The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2004. As a first step, members of the executive leadership team responded to a questionnaire developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that assists organizations with identifying strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement prior to their submission of an application. This preliminary assessment provided the team with valuable information and to help guide the more extensive application process using the Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence .

The primary reason for engaging in this extremely rigorous self-assessment was to become a more effective and efficient organization. The feedback report from the independent assessors provided MCPS with valuable information and data that helped refine and improve the work of the system and assist the executive staff and the Board of Education with determining opportunities for improvement.

Senate Productivity Award

School Improvement Process imageIn March, 2005, MCPS was named the winner of the state’s most prestigious award for organizational performance excellence—the U.S. Senate Productivity Award . The award is given to the organization in the state that best exemplifies the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence—a management philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement in the constant pursuit of excellence.

MCPS is the largest employer in Maryland and the only school system to ever win this award. MCPS is also the largest school system to win this level of award in the 41 states across the nation that give a similar award. The data and information contained in the feedback report is currently being used to refine and improve the work of the departments and divisions within the central office.

A System-Wide Initiative

With the beginning of the 2005-06 school year, all schools will have completed training to integrate the Baldrige Criteria as the framework for school improvement planning. It is, therefore, a systemwide expectation that all schools will be integrating the Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence as their model for continuous improvement.

To support the implementation of the Baldrige Criteria, several resources have been developed to support the schools as well as classrooms. These include the Baldrige Quality Academies at Waters Landing and Sherwood Elementary Schools and Tilden Middle School.

Quality academy class

For classroom teachers, My Job, Your, Job, and Our Job, was developed in 2004 as a guide for implementing classroom learning systems to enable students to become co-producers of their learning.

My Job, Your Job, Our Job Handbook

In 2005, Building an Organizational Learning System, The Baldrige Principal's Handbook for Guiding the School Improvement Process, was also developed as a guide for the school’s leadership system.

 Principal's Handbook

Web Site for Staff, Leaders, Parents, and Students

The Baldrige web site for MCPS that was initiated in 2003 is currently broadening its scope to become an organizational and individual learning site to support the Baldrige initiatives in MCPS. Plans for this web site include:

  • video clips with comments from students, staff, and parents about how they are using the criteria to support schools and classrooms
  • samples of school improvement plans
  • strategies for assessment
  • strategies for communication and monitoring
  • strategies for incorporating quality tools to enhance processing and participation by stakeholders
  • a platform for sharing best practices

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