School Districts Especially can save from ISO 9001
This was one of my favorite episodes (episode 2 #QualityMatters). I am a teacher and had always wanted to be a teacher. I quit teaching when our oldest started Kindergarten. At some point, Kyle started this quality thing and I didn’t understand it. As he got more serious about it and talking about starting a business, I started listening more. After all, our own business meant no guaranteed paycheck. The more I listened and learned, the more I thought, “School districts need this!” Now, I’m not fully engulfed in quality, but I understand it enough and I still believe the same thing.
School districts are obviously a little different than your “for profit” company. They are somewhat guaranteed funding. The funding can vary by student absences, test scores, funding getting cut, and many other things. The point is they don’t have to sell to get their money.
What if, though, they could be better stewards of the money they get? That’s what this episode was all about. I won’t go too much into the history other than to say the superintendent did not want to cut funding from instruction and the district needed to find a better way to manage funding that was getting cut with more students coming in. He was introduced to the ISO process.
There are so many things I love about this case study.
ISO benefited the students
While I’m certain most public education employees know they have a role in children’s education, I’m also certain most employees don’t realize their direct impact on student’s education. In this case study, the maintenance workers only entered classrooms when children weren’t present. (Changing a light bulb is a HUGE distraction). They also realized that consistency of air temperature was important. Food service employees not only worked harder to provide a warm, nutritious meal, they realized that getting through the lunch line efficiently allowed students to take their time eating, which likely made them more relaxed and improved digestion. These are two very small examples. I know later in the episode we mentioned documents were put online for easier access. This relieves stress for the employees that might otherwise be taken out on students.
ISO benefited the employees
There are two paragraphs under Communication and Respect that I especially appreciated. The district addressed the issue that communication was a big problem. There were different procedures for reporting progress, tracking improvement, filing complaints, etc. This was all standardized! Once the communication procedure was clearly stated, morale increased. Why? Employees saw their ideas becoming reality and felt their voices were being heard. If an employee has buy in, you have a loyal employee.
ISO benefited the stakeholders
We love that word, stakeholders, don’t we? Sometimes it’s shareholders. Either way, in this case, these are students, parents, teachers, community members, basically anyone involved in that district in any way. Money matters. How you spend my money matters more! We all pay the property taxes that help to fund the school. As a stakeholder of that community, I would be thrilled to learn that my district was able to save $1.74 million a year by simply putting procedures in place and ensuring they were followed. This saved money could be spent on new STEM programs, new clubs, instruments for bands, sports equipment, technology, classroom libraries, bring in speakers and experiences for the kids, hire more staff for small group instruction, etc. As a former teacher, I can find lots of ways to invest that almost $2 million back into our kiddos. Using that savings to pour back into the students creates a more productive community member, creating a better community.
I am so passionate about this one
Teaching was all I ever wanted to do when I grew up. I wanted to teach those kids what a wonderful person they could be. I especially wanted to work with the underprivileged, or at the low income schools, to teach each child how special they were. If your school district could save millions in simple ways and put that money into creating more confident kids, wouldn’t you want them to?
I can’t find any information as to how many, if any, school districts nationwide are ISO certified. I can’t even find information showing that Clark County is anymore. Let’s start a conversation. Ask your district about it, go to a school board meeting, ask for their District Quality Manual covering all policies and procedures. I’ll bet that some departments have one, but that no two departments have the same procedure. If there was an organization in the United States that needed an ISO program, it is the organization that is teaching our children.
#QualityMatters, to our children and their future.