Washoe Country School District

July 29, 2014

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Process Performance Management

process performance management
Define Measure Analyze Improve Control
six sigma Baldrige


Envision WCSD 2015 goes beyond the traditional scope of a strategic plan by focusing on continuously improving strategies, policies, and processes; measuring performance and then guiding adjustments accordingly. Through a systematic cycle of continuous improvement, district leaders and staff regularly monitor service and improve delivery to assist schools and operations and align resources effectively.


Process and Performance Management – is a leadership approach that stimulates effectiveness and efficiency by linking process measures to outcomes. The key premise to this transformative methodology is that instructional and operational processes (e.g., teacher hiring, professional development, curriculum alignment, data utilization) must continuously be evaluated and refined in order to improve outcomes (e.g. graduation rates, instructional strategies, test scores, facilities expenses). Washoe County School District is focusing on becoming a process-centered organization that maximizes efficiencies and increases effectiveness by using APQC, Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, and Baldrige to engage staff members at all levels, particularly those closest to the process.

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DMAIC Methodology

To make lasting improvements, the Washoe County School District adopted the DMAIC methodology, one of the most effective problem-solving methods which forces staff members to use data to:

  • Define – clearly identify the problem, the requirements of the project and objectives of the project
  • Measure – to fully understand the current performance
  • Analyze – the measurements collected to determine and validate the root cause(s)
  • Improve – developing ideas to remove the root causes of variation and implement the solutions
  • Control – to establish standard measures to maintain performance and to correct problems as needed

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The American Productivity Quality Center (APQC) centers on improving productivity and quality in both the public and private sectors. The APQC Education Group supports the transformation of public education and school improvement through leadership effectiveness development, process and performance management, benchmarking best practices, and organizational assessment.

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Six Sigma is a measure of quality that strives for near perfection. Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects. This practice improves the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in the process. It uses a set of quality management methods, including statistical methods, and builds capacity of staff through professional development. Performance that is both stable and accurate is at the heart of Six Sigma.

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Lean Six Sigma attacks inefficiencies - wastes caused by defects, non-value-added flow of information or materials, data storage, stacks of inventory, overproduction and extra processing. Lean Six Sigma for services is a Process Improvement Methodology that maximizes value by achieving the fastest rate of improvement in customer satisfaction, cost, quality, process speed, and invested capital.

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The Baldrige National Quality Program, originally designed to promote excellence in American industry, has been successfully adapted to education. The Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence provide a series of questions that allow education organizations to conduct self-assessments and serve as a guide for system wide excellence. It is organized into the following seven categories:

  1. Leadership
  2. Strategic Planning
  3. Customer Focus
  4. Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management
  5. Workforce Focus
  6. Process Management
  7. Results

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