The italicized quotes have been extracted from the book,GUTS! Companies that Blow the Doors off Business-as-Usual, by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg.
"Establish a way of frequently reminding employees of the relationship between their job performance and business results. Then show them how those business results affect their lives."
In contrast to the state's plan to associate achievement of learners and performance of teachers to determine personnel evaluations, there is another relationship that can represent a more visible impact resulting from perceptions of the teacher-learner dynamic.
Since we have a Charter school in our area, approximately two miles from our school, we face competition for learners. In fact, our district must pay nearly $14,000 to the Charter school for each learner from our attendance area that they enroll. That's a dramatic drain on our scarce resources. I don't believe that the cost associated with each "lost" learner was ever shared with the staff. That meant they were unaware of the consequences of any dissatisfied parent electing to exercise their prerogative by sending their son or daughter to an alternative learning center.
During a faculty meeting in which our budget was a focal point I took the opportunity to point out that each group of four learners who might depart our school for the Charter school represented a loss equivalent to the salary and benefits of a full time teacher. That potential impact, during a time of decreased aid from the state and a weak economy, would require us to reduce our staff as a consequence of learners leaving for the Charter school. That point was an attention getter!
While there are many different reasons that a parent might opt to withdraw their child and enroll them in a Charter school, we had to become more cognizant of the perception parents have on our customer service and relationship management, as well as our achievement levels. We could ill afford to lose $14,000 for each departure.
"Employees must understand how economic value is created, how revenues and expenses translate into profit, how they can create financial security for themselves and the organization, and what investors contribute and want in return. Employees must be taught to see themselves as the people who make the business grow. Simplify your financial statements, and then teach your employees to read and analyze them. If you don’t already know it, figure out your break even point, and then communicate it clearly and vividly."
If you condense all of the aspirations and expectations that parents have for public schools I suspect it could be reduced to nurturing the hopes and sustaining the dreams of children and inventing a better future. Our staff needs to treat all learners as if the children were their own son or daughter. Our staff must work cooperatively to develop a school environment that they would want to experience if they were young learners. That's what parents generally want.
We have to collect data that will make a difference in what we do. Beyond tests score results, we need to: improve the number of parents at Open House; increase the attendance rates of learners; decrease the number of study halls taken by learners; expand extra-curricular participation; encourage learners to enroll in more challenging courses; improve our customer service practices and our relationship management methods,...
Finally, when thinking about our goals we must reflect on the advice of Peter Senge, author of Schools That Learn, when he opined:
"We tend to think that we believe what we measure, but it's more likely that we measure what we believe."