Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD

The Essentials of Baldrige-Guided School/Office Improvement Planning

The Baldrige categories are linked to create an integrated management system that enables organizations to focus systematically and systemically on performance excellence and continuous improvement aimed at getting results. This integrated management system works for schools and offices at the district, school, and classroom levels. (See "Baldrige Categories for Building an Integrated Management System.")

The components of the MCPS Baldrige-Guided School Improvement Plans are based on the Baldrige categories and the linkages between and among the categories. The content of each category is addressed by answering the "what" questions. If these questions cannot be answered, the "how" questions may be used to guide the process for answering the "what" questions. Many schools use the Baldrige linkages chart as a format for their school improvement plan; however, schools are encouraged to develop their own format—an adapted Baldrige linkages chart, a linear chart or a narrative—depending upon the school’s orientation or organization.

It is important to understand that the categories are linked in important ways. For example:
  • At every stage of developing the plan, it is important that the leadership system monitor the process as well as provide communication to stakeholders throughout the process.
  • The vision and/or mission of the school acts as a lens or filter throughout the process to maintain the focus of the plan.
  • "Process Management" is key to each category as schools must define and design processes in order to monitor and sustain each action within the categories.
  • Each category has an evaluation component creating a link to "Results."

Process for Developing a School Improvement Plan

The Baldrige Categories provide the framework for schools to follow in developing their school improvement plan. The process has many similarities to the MSDE 10-Step Process used by MCPS principals in the past. Each question represents the priority (essential) requirements for each category and is, therefore, recommended to schools as they initiate the incorporation of Baldrige processes into school improvement planning. Examples for how responses might be formulated in meeting the requirement of the category are also included. Schools may also refer to Building an Organizational Learning System: The Baldrige Principal’s Handbook for Guiding the School Improvement Process, Chapter Four, "Meeting the Requirements of the Baldrige Categories Related to School Improvement Planning" as a resource for the essential questions.

A process for developing a school improvement plan can be found in Building An Organizational Learning System: The Baldrige Principal's Handbook for Guiding the School Improvement Process . The document will be available for download in the near future.

Related Topics in Baldrige for Leadership

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