Benchmarking Measures Help District 54 to Achieve Success

Article excerpt

A real commitment to a continuous improvement process is evident in what occurs in School District 54 on a daily basis.

Our board of education has set the expectation that the instructional services we provide will be evaluated on a regular basis. This enables us to constantly assess our effectiveness as we strive to achieve our mission of "Ensuring Student Success."

Continuous improvement involves an in-depth and ongoing self-reflection process that requires us to carefully look at data and feedback from a variety of sources that include parents, students, staff and community members.

This type of information makes it possible to compare District 54, according to a specified set of standards, with other school districts.

Benchmarking is the term that is frequently used when a school district or business seeks an unbiased and impartial perspective on how they are performing. The findings are analyzed to objectively determine the next set of district priorities.

During this past year, we have been involved in two different types of benchmarking activities. District 54 was selected as one of only 10 school districts across the United States to participate in a national benchmarking project to establish standards for districts as they implement the Professional Learning Community framework.

This project was underwritten by the General Electric Foundation and the American Productivity and Quality Center.

The primary goal of the Professional Learning Community Benchmarking Project was to identify examples of successful practices that have been used by districts and then establish best practice standards for others to follow.

At the conclusion of the study, each of the 10 districts was given a comprehensive analysis and key findings summary report. We will be using this information as we plan for the upcoming school year.

I am proud to inform our community that School District 54 has been recognized as a national model for its successful implementation of the Professional Learning Community framework.

The significant gains in student achievement that we have seen over the past several years can be directly attributed to the effective use of this framework. …