Study: Board can improve planning

Published 10:14 am Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Austin Public Schools Board took time Monday night to discuss what’s it doing well and how it can improve.

During a study session Monday, board members and district officials discussed study results given by Baldrige, the organizational system that was implemented four years ago to help with the organization of the district’s management process.

“Anytime you can improve the things that we’re talking about here it has a direct impact then on teaching and learning, and I think that’s the critical element,” Superintendent David Krenz said. “The takeaway is we’re ready to take it on.”

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One of the big things the report showed was the lack of an evaluation process for the school board. The study recommended two main ways to fix this: The board can do self-assessments, or it can bring in a person or firm to do evaluations.

Another big opportunity for improvement indicated in the report is that the district does not have a system-wide process in place to evaluate its strategic planning process.

The district also needs to improve its parent surveys, and make sure they have good data collection methods. District officials would like to look into creating a more formal, uniform way to collect data.

District leaders are embracing the drive to improve. Many of the Opportunities For Improvement (OFIs) are written on index cards and posted on Educational Services Director John Alberts’ wall.

“We’re beginning already in a week as to how we can address those,” Krenz said.

The report also highlighted several things the board is doing well. The report stated the board communicate their vision and mission well and have positive qualities in terms of communication.

Krenz also said the “Friday principle staff development” meetings that were implemented have been helpful.

The four main takeaways at the end of the meeting were: The board needs to look into the measurement and systematic evaluation of their processes; look at strategic outcomes; look at the voice of the customer (parents, students, etc.); and look at how to nurture, maintain and encourage innovation.

“It’s a year-long process, so those four will be part of our strategic goals for next year,” Krenz said.