PGCPS, board of ed. an­nounce his­toric part­ner­ship to im­prove pub­lic school sys­tem

Con­tin­u­ous Busi­ness Process Im­prove­ment Study ex­pected by start of school year this fall

The Enquire-Gazette - - News - By JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES jclinkscales@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @JClink_En­qGaz

Pro­vid­ing an op­por­tu­nity for res­i­dents and lo­cal af­fil­i­ates to par­tic­i­pate in the Con­tin­u­ous Busi­ness Process Im­prove­ment Study while seek­ing com­mu­nity in­put on how the Prince Ge­orge’s County Pub­lic Schools (PGCPS) sys­tem can op­er­ate more ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively, PGCPS and the board of ed­u­ca­tion held a joint ed­u­ca­tion town hall meet­ing on April 19 at Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School in Up­per Marl­boro.

The im­prove­ment study is an im­por­tant and unique process that, when com­pleted by the end of this year, will lay the foun­da­tion for more high-per­form­ing schools. The county is con­duct­ing this as­sess­ment for the first time in 18 years, re­flect­ing a his­toric part­ner­ship – be­tween the county coun­cil, county ex­ec­u­tive, PGCPS CEO, the county board of ed­u­ca­tion and all stake­hold­ers – to en­sure ap­pro­pri­ate op­er­a­tions in key ar­eas of PGCPS in­clud­ing hu­man re­sources, cur­ricu­lum and in­struc­tion, sup­port­ing ser­vices, busi­ness and man­age­ment ser­vices as well as in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy. Such in­put is crit­i­cal to en­sur­ing the high­est re­turn on in­vest­ment that cit­i­zens con­sis­tently make in ed­u­ca­tion in Prince Ge­orge’s County, ac­cord­ing to a joint state­ment is­sued April 21 from County Coun­cil Chair­man Der­rick L. Davis and Board of Ed­u­ca­tion Chair­man Se­gun Eubanks.

“We just wanted to make sure that we were go­ing to get the most hon­est feed­back from peo­ple that we could. This is such a unique op­por­tu­nity for us to bring to­gether as many par­ents and com­mu­nity mem­bers as we could,” said Christo­pher Lib­rizzi, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Parthenon-EY who has worked with some of the largest and most in­flu­en­tial school sys­tems in the U.S. and in­ter­na­tion­ally. “A lot of the ar­eas that we are as­sess­ing from the stand­point of con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment, they af­fect stu­dents and fam­i­lies just as much and, in some cases, more so than they af­fect ed­u­ca­tors in the schools and lead­ers in the cen­tral of­fice. … That’s why it’s so im­por­tant to hear from peo­ple and I ex­pect we’re go­ing to get some per­spec­tives and that we’ll learn some in­for­ma­tion from fam­i­lies them­selves.”

Parthenon-EY is a global con­sul­tancy that has served as strate­gic ad­vi­sors in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor since 1991, com­plet­ing more than 900 projects across 80 coun­tries. When it comes to K-12 ed­u­ca­tional sys­tems and schools, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has a long track record of work­ing in the pub­lic sec­tor by help­ing clients to de­sign strate­gies that are based on data and re­search, to help im­ple­ment those strate­gies at scale and to mea­sure im­pact and re­turn on in­vest­ment. In ad­di­tion, Parthenon-EY helps to build the sys­tems and con­di­tions that sup­port stu­dent achieve­ment, im­prove op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency, in­crease col­lege and work­force readi­ness and elim­i­nate per­sis­tent stu­dent achieve­ment gaps, ac­cord­ing to Parthenon’s web­site.

Lib­rizzi – whose com­pany is one of three serv­ing on the project man­age­ment team – said the pur­pose of the project is to help the county coun­cil, gov- ern­ment, ed­u­ca­tion board and school sys­tem work to­gether in a col­lab­o­ra­tive way around con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment.

“Ob­vi­ously, there are al­ways go­ing to be ten­sions and ques­tions in a sys­tem where the county coun­cil con­trols the money and the board [of ed­u­ca­tion] con­trols the pol­icy and op­er­a­tions,” he said. “I think both par­ties un­der­stand that they want an ob­jec­tive and com­pre­hen­sive view of the good, the bad and the ugly. When you can work off of a com­mon set of facts, then you have a bet­ter ba­sis for mov­ing for­ward in a col­lab­o­ra­tive way and mak­ing some real progress. And that’s re­ally what the project is about—try­ing to give peo­ple an un­har­ness view of the qual­ity of the busi­ness pro­cesses, one that’s in­formed by a bunch of per­spec­tives and then hope­fully en­ables the lead­ers to make good de­ci­sions about where to in­vest and what to do.”

By draw­ing on the com­bined re­sources of EY, UPD Connsult­ing and Strate­gic So­lu­tions Cen­ter, the ap­proach for the project is built around tightly in­te­grated project man­age­ment, project lead­ers with deep knowl­edge of best prac­tice and clear find­ings with em­pha­sis on ac­tion­able im­ple­men­ta­tion. About 24 team mem­bers from the lo­cal Bal­ti­more/ Wash­ing­ton area will be in­volved with the project’s four work­streams –pro­gram and re­source, trans­porta­tion and fa­cil­i­ties, busi­nesses man­age­ment and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy – from start to fin­ish, ac­cord­ing to Lib­rizzi.

Lib­rizzi said the work will re­quire all three or­ga­ni­za­tions to con­sider mul­ti­ple per­spec­tives from in­ter­views, fo­cus groups, on-site ob­ser­va­tions and town halls, plus other types of in­for­ma­tion such as data qual­ity, data anal­y­sis and sam­pling, process map­ping, sys­tem/soft­ware demo, phys­i­cal walk­throughs and doc­u­ment re­views.

Ul­ti­mately, en­gag­ing up­front with key district and county stake­hold­ers is not only crit­i­cal to align­ing ex­pec­ta­tions and work­streams, but also to over­com­ing po­ten­tial chal­lenges and un­der­stand­ing how work is done and where the most press­ing needs ex­ist. The project will only be a suc­cess if the needs and ques­tions of all stake­hold­ers – in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal to PGCPS – are ad­dressed, Lib­rizzi said.

“We hope that we will have a re­port ready around the start of the school year. But if it takes more time than that, we’re not go­ing to let the time­line be an im­ped­i­ment to hav­ing a good prod­uct at the end,” said Lib­rizzi. “We hope to get a lot out of it and then we can de­ter­mine if there’s any gaps that we need to fill.”

For Davis, this project is the fu­ture of ed­u­ca­tion in Prince Ge­orge’s County. Ed­u­cat­ing chil­dren to com­pete in a global econ­omy re­mains a crit­i­cal el­e­ment to mak­ing PGCPS ‘great by choice,’ he said.

“A world-class 21st cen­tury school sys­tem is a shared pri­or­ity for all of us so we want to work to­gether to cre­ate a more high-per­form­ing school sys­tem,” said Davis.

Henry A. Wise High School Prin­ci­pal Charoscar Cole­man said he looks for­ward to sup­port­ing PGCPS’ his­toric part­ner­ship.

“Be­cause I live and serve in my com­mu­nity like many of you, I am deeply in­vested in the suc­cess of our schools, our govern­ment and how they can mu­tu­ally sup­port one an­other for the ben­e­fit of our com­mu­nity,” he said.

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