Improvement Science

We help schools accelerate improvement by using a powerful methodology for change called improvement science.

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SPI SERVES AS BOTH IMPROVEMENT ADVISOR AND PROJECT MANAGER ON COMPLEX IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS

 

School leaders face a daunting task when they’re confronted with complex improvement needs. The normal work of running a school has to happen while at the same time that you’re adding in a new set of initiatives aimed at improving some aspect of your organization. This is incredibly hard and complex work that requires time, resources, and effort. School Performance Institute is able to partner with schools to provide both improvement advisory and project management services to help schools through complex improvement projects. Contact us at spi@unitedschoolsnetwork.org to inquire about our improvement science services.

 
 
 

OUR IMPROVEMENT SCIENCE PROCESS IS EXPLICITLY DESIGNED TO ACCELERATE LEARNING-BY-DOING AND IS A USER AND PROBLEM-CENTERED APPROACH TO IMPROVING TEACHING AND LEARNING

 
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START RIGHT

 
 

FORM THE TEAM

It is critically important that the right people are in place to guide and discipline the improvement work. We help leaders assemble this improvement team.

PROJECT PLANNING

We develop the meeting calendar, knowledge management system, and other similar project management structures that will be the foundation on which the improvement work is built.

PROBLEM STUDY

We seek to identify root causes, to understand variation, and to see the system that produces current outcomes. It is critically important that this understanding is gained prior to jumping to solutions.

 
 
 

AS THE IMPROVEMENT PROCESS ADVANCES, PREVIOUSLY INVISIBLE PROBLEMS EMERGE AND HELP GUIDE IMPROVEMENT ACTIVITIES

 
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THE THINKING PART

WHAT ARE WE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH?

We develop the Project Charter & Aim. The project charter is a living document that provides guidance to the team. The aim is a key component of the charter that clearly specifies how much, for whom, and by when. We’ll revisit this document frequently as we gain understanding of the problem on which we are focused.

HOW WILL WE KNOW THAT A CHANGE IS AN IMPROVEMENT?

Our team will use quantitative measures to determine if a specific change actually leads to an improvement. Each metric will play a strategic role in our system of measures for improvement.

WHAT CHANGE CAN WE MAKE THAT WILL RESULT IN IMPROVEMENT?

The ideas for change come either from those who work in the system or from the experience of others who have successfully improved while working on a similar problem in a similar context. A driver diagram visually represents the group’s working theory of improvement, creates a common language and facilitates a coordinated effort among the improvement team.

 
 
 
 

THE OVERALL GOAL IS TO DEVELOP THE NECESSARY KNOW-HOW WITHIN YOUR ORGANIZATIONAL CONTEXT FOR CHANGE IDEAS TO SPREAD FASTER AND MORE EFFECTIVELY

 
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THE DOING PART

 
 

TESTING & IMPLEMENTING CHANGES

PDSA Cycles: The PDSA cycle is shorthand for testing a change in the real work setting – by planning it, doing it, studying the results, and acting on what is learned. After testing a change on a small scale, learning from each test, and refining the change through several PDSA cycles, the team may implement the change on a broader scale.

SPREADING CHANGES

Networked Improvement Communities: The improvement team is an intentionally designed social organization called a Networked Improvement Community with a distinctive problem-solving focus, norms for membership, and clearly defined roles and responsibilities.  An essential characteristic and responsibility of the team is to spread successful changes to other parts of the organization.

SUSTAINING IMPROVEMENT

Hold the Gains: We will plan and communicate our intent to hold gains up front and identify strategies for holding gains in the implementation and post-implementation stages. For up to one year, SPI will check-in monthly or quarterly in order to continue tracking at least one key measure from the improvement project. The goal is to hold the gains after the conclusion of the project.