Public school districts and non-profits across the nation are experiencing shrinking budgets and increasing demand for services. This, combined with a proliferation of competition for limited funding, has resulted in stakeholders demanding positive (social) returns on their investments. To deliver on these expectations and improve student outcomes, Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) has developed a new strategic plan, has implemented a Performance Management (PM) process to ensure departmental alignment with the District’s strategic priorities, and has achieved increased cross-departmental collaboration and accountability.
PM derives its foundation from the District’s new Strategic Plan (accessible at www. http://bcps.browardschools.com/strategicplan/). The core components of the Strategic Plan are: 1) High-Quality Instruction, 2) Continuous Improvement, and 3) Effective Communication. This plan was created with the “voice” of multiple stakeholders. In developing the plan, Superintendent Robert Runcie conducted listening tours, held public forums, and solicited input and feedback from the community on the vision, mission, and strategic direction of BCPS. The result is a simplified, yet cogent plan with a targeted focus on improving student outcomes for all students.
With the understanding that successful organizations around the world – business, non-profit, educational, political, etc. – contribute much of their success to formal continuous improvement programs, BCPS is institutionalizing PM. PM is a process, not a tool. The process is guided by data and information. A small team of PM specialists work to identify, cleanse, and utilize data to “tell the story” about a department’s challenges, opportunities, and successes. Trend analysis and external benchmarking are key elements to the process, as we strive to measure the effectiveness of a department’s value-add services. The philosophy is simple… in a non-threatening environment we bring in key decision-makers, from across the organization, to review the data and collectively identify solutions to improve the key performance outcomes of the department being analyzed.
Collaboration and joint problem-solving are significant behavior changes we are noticing through PM. Performance Management starts with a heavy dose of coaching and analysis between the PM specialists and the management team of the department being analyzed. There is a joint review of the data and information while developing the actual presentation for the identified department’s PM session. Since most K-12 issues and opportunities are cross-departmental in nature, leadership team members from across multiple disciplines and departments come together in an environment where open and honest dialogue thrives.
The results of the PM process have been outstanding. Not only has this process helped to foster a broader cultural shift, it is allowing us to constantly measure the effectiveness of our processes and value-add services with rigorous benchmarking. We believe that you will appreciate the data, transparency, and accountability provided in this report.