Over the last several years, the Aldine Independent School District in Texas has raised students’ average reading scores by 18 percent, brought up math scores by 29 percent, increased its four-year graduation rate by 11 percentage points, and saved more than $100,000 per year in transportation costs alone.
Each of these successes was achieved by adhering to a simple concept, district leaders say: focusing on continuous improvement.
“Our district has been extremely successful in implementing and sustaining a continuous improvement model,” said Janet Ray, director of strategic planning and school improvement for the 66,000-student district.
The concept might be simple, but putting it into practice is not.
“Continuous organizational improvement is accomplished by letting data drive all decisions, aligning objectives and goals throughout the district, and focusing on achievable goals through district, department, and campus improvement plans—while monitoring results,” Ray said.
Aldine ISD, which was recognized for its achievements by winning the Broad Prize for Urban Education in 2009, is one of a growing number of K-12 districts that have adopted a formal plan to drive continuous improvement throughout their schools.