Oak Ridge and Warren County are the Tennessee Finalists!

Alabama may reign as the National Champion in football, but there is stiff competition coming from Tennessee for the overall grand prize winner of the Tri-State Best K-12 Practices contest.  In the presence of 75+ Tennessee Directors of Schools and Superintendents, the two Tennessee Finalists were revealed at the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) Legislative and Learning Conference.  [The two Alabama finalists were revealed at the Alabama Association of School Board‘s (AASB) Winter Conference in December.  Click here for information on contest winners Eufaula City Schools and Muscle Shoals City Schools.  Louisiana finalists will be revealed later this spring.]

The winning entries — “Strategic Plan 2020” from Oak Ridge Schools and “STEM Education Program” from Warren County Schools – were selected as the “BEST of the Best Practices” submitted from a diverse and competitive field of high quality Tennessee school system entries.

In the 2nd year of this contest in Tennessee — sponsored by TOSS and LEAN Frog — these two EXCEPTIONAL entries were publicly recognized, and each received a $1,000 cash prize.  Both entries will compete against the contest finalists from Alabama (co-sponsored with the Alabama Association of School Boards/AASB) and from Louisiana (co-sponsored with the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents/LASS) for the Grand Prize of $4,000.  The Grand Prize winner will be recognized at a school board meeting so the local community can share in the school system’s recognition for positively impacting student achievement and promoting the effective and efficient use of public resources.

The Oak Ridge Schools’ “Strategic Plan 2020” was initiated by Superintendent Bruce Borchers in 2016 in cooperation with educators, administrators, and community members.  This insightful plan is designed to achieve five strategic goals: academic excellence, educator excellence, learning environment excellence, operational excellence, and stakeholder excellence.  Each strategic goal has a designated owner.  Each goal is monitored and measured with specific quantitative measures.  ORS uses a scorecard system to track each goal and their associated Key Performance Indicators.  As goals are met they are celebrated throughout the school system. Each goal report is shared with the Oak Ridge Board of Education and the community and new/revised goals and strategies for the next year’s improvements are created based upon analysis and input.   This collaborative Best Practice has promoted stakeholder engagement, transparency, and accountability as ORS prepares students for college, career, and life success.

from L-R: Byron Headrick, Holly Cross (ORS Supervisor of Career Readiness and Communications), Bruce Lay (ORS Executive Director of School Leadership), Sherri Headrick

Warren County Schools partnered with business and industry to develop a comprehensive STEM program centered around Mechatronics-a blend of electronics, mechanics, and computer/processor control technologies critical in manufactured products and the manufacturing process.  Working with local industry and the Tennessee Department of Education, WCS created a Mechatronics Pathway curriculum.  Program enhancements now include robotic stimulators in all schools and the “STEM on Wheels” lab that transports robotic equipment and 3-D printing to the schools.  This successful Best Practice has helped students develop system critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, and begins a career path in engineering and industrial manufacturing through the earning of the Level 1 Siemens Mechatronics Industry Certification.

From L to R: Byron Headrick, Bobby Cox (WCS Director of Schools), Sherri Headrick

This year’s Tennessee entries included a wide-range of Best Practices — from a mobile summer feeding program to blended educational opportunities in a suburban/rural area to identifying and helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds succeed in postsecondary education.  We thank all of those who took the time to enter the contest and we applaud all your efforts on behalf of the students in Tennessee public schools!

Stay tuned for detailed posts on each finalist from Alabama, Tennessee, and Louisiana.

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Tennessee Best Practices Entries are Turning Up the Heat

 

Dave has one word for the Tri-States Best Practices competition–“hot! hot! hot!”  I guess that’s actually three words.  See below for what he has to say about some of the entries we’ve received so far from Tennessee school systems.  Keep ’em coming Tennessee.  Your deadline to submit entries is Tuesday, January 23!

 

It may be snowy and bitter cold outside, but here at LEAN Frog we are warm — basking in the “heat” of the exciting entries that are representing Tennessee public school systems in the “Tri-State Best K-12 Practices” Contest!  Alabama did a great job in submitting many fine entries (see previous posts about Alabama entries and the two Alabama finalists who each won $1000 as state finalists: Eufaula City Schools and Muscle Shoals City Schools.  Feature posts about these finalists are coming soon), however, Tennessee has “thrown several logs on the fire of competition” and this Contest is “ablaze.”

 

Some examples of Tennessee entries received so far are:

  •  A program that identifies and assists students from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed in postsecondary education
  • A comprehensive, stakeholder-engaging plan to improve processes in key goal areas
  • A summer feeding program enhanced by a diner-style mobile component
  • A STEM educational program introducing, training, and providing dual enrollment opportunities to students
  • A technology-based program — serving an urban/rural county with a high-poverty rate — by providing multiple educational opportunities
  • A school-wide positive collaboration and celebration time

So…when you are taking a break from building snowmen and drinking hot cocoa, enter the “Tri-State Best K-12 Practices” Contest before the Tennessee submission deadline of Tuesday, January 23, 2018.  (Louisiana school systems: your deadline of Monday, February 19 is fast approaching as well.)

LEAN Frog and contest co-sponsor the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) will announce the two Tennessee Finalists at the upcoming TOSS Legislative Conference (February 5-7).   The Finalists will each receive $1,000 and will compete against the Alabama and Louisiana Finalists for the Grand Prize! The grand prize winning school system will receive an additional $4000 and be recognized at a school board meeting  so the local community can join in on the celebration.

For further information about the “Tri-State Best K-12 Practices” Contest go to:  https://theleanleap.com/contest/.  Remember to follow us on Twitter for updates on the contest.  Click here for brainstorming tips on identifying best practices and Click here for posts on previous winners.

 

LEAN Frog began the Best Practices contest in 2014 with the purpose of giving-back to public schools.  The contest promotes creative and sustainable practices that impact student achievement and encourage the effective and efficient use of public resources.  The contest started with Alabama public schools in 2014, expanded to include Tennessee public schools in 2016 and now includes public schools in Alabama, Tennesee, and Louisiana in the Tri-States Best K-12 Practices contest. 

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INNOVATIVE and AMAZING Alabama Entries for Tri-State K-12 Best Practices Contest

Are you ready for some positive, uplifting news about Alabama public education?

Want to hear about some OUTSTANDING instructional and non-instructional practices that benefit children?

Well the Alabama entries for the “Tri-State Best K-12 Practices”* contest deliver just that.   This year in Alabama, many INNOVATIVE and AMAZING entries were submitted for the Contest!  The number of entries received increased dramatically and the quality was dazzling.  Also, as in the past, several school systems, submitted multiple entries!

This year’s Best Practice entries covered timely and important issues such as the following:

  • Offering new educational opportunities based on the needs of students and their families.
  • Creating programs and organizing entire schools to promote sustainable project based learning.
  • Providing skills, certifications, and job experiences in technical fields;
  • Using survey and assessment data to design programs and practices to better support students’ academic performance and social development
  • Developing detailed outreach plans to encourage and support students in state and national competitions.
  • Designing structures to align activities system-wide to support the school system’s mission and motto.
  • Re-focusing schools’ organizational/administrative structure and physical environment to enhance student experiences during the school year and over the summer in creative and innovative academic activities.
  • Establishing practices to provide more collaboration time for teachers
  • Using social media to celebrate students and staff, promote activities, and increase transparency.
  • Advancing unique professional development opportunities for teachers.
  • Creating programs and practices to address problems such as the summer slide and lack of employment opportunities for students.
  • Ensuring that all students have opportunity to have a nutritious breakfast.

Stay tuned for MORE GOOD NEWS about Alabama as LEAN Frog announces the Finalists for the Alabama portion of the contest at the AASB 2017 Annual Convention Awards Luncheon on Friday, December 8, 2017 in Birmingham!   The two finalists receive $1000.00 and will be eligible for the $4000 grand prize award!

 

Note: The Tennessee and Louisiana entry acceptance periods are still open.  Tennessee entrance period ends January 23 and Louisiana entrance period ends February 19. We are expecting Innovative and Amazing entries from you as well.  Click here for brainstorming tips on identifying best practices. Click here for posts on previous winners.

 

* LEAN Frog sponsors the Tri-State Best K-12 Practices Contest for Alabama, Tennessee, and Louisiana public schools in association with the Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB), the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS), and the Louisiana Association of School Executives/Louisiana Association of School Superintendents (LASE/LASS)  LEAN Frog established the contest to give back to public schools and to promote creative and sustainable practices that impact student achievement and encourage the effective and efficient use of public resources.  Started in Alabama in 2014, expanded into Tennessee in 2016 and into Louisiana this year, winners receive public recognition and a cash prize for their successful entries. We will feature a series of posts on the Alabama finalists, followed by Tennessee and Louisiana finalists respectively. 

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Reflecting on 2014 Opportunities and Looking Ahead to 2015

As 2014 comes to a close, we take this time to reflect on the many wonderful opportunities the year provided.  Through collaborations with our esteemed partners and with the hard work of our amazing team members, LEAN Frog has been privileged to serve and support students, educators, and communities.  I’d like to take a moment to thank a few of those organizations that have helped make LEAN Frog’s 2014 a rewarding year.

THE OPPORTUNITY TO RECOGNIZE AND BE RECOGNIZED

  • We would like to thank the Alabama Association of School Boards for being a co-sponsor of the inaugural Alabama’s Best Award that recognized the Best Practices and Innovations in the non-instructional departments of K-12 public schools in Alabama.  We congratulate award winners Tarrant City Schools, Huntsville City Schools and Sylacauga City Schools as well as all of those school systems across Alabama who work hard every day.
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$3,000 Grand Prize Winner – Tarrant City Schools (Top); $1.000 Runner Up – Sylacauga City Schools (Bottom Left); $1,000 Runner Up – Huntsville City Schools (Bottom Right)

  • Thank you Reach Out & Read Alabama which prepares Alabama’s children to succeed in school by working with pediatric health care providers to incorporate pre-literacy counseling with families into their well-child visits and to provide new books at each of those visits.  LEAN Frog was honored to provide a Kindle e-reader and ten books to this worthy organization and we thank Reach Out & Read for its commitment to literacy promotion.
  • Thank you Rotary Club of Greater Huntsville through whom we supported the “End Polio Now” campaign sponsored by Rotary International

    LEAN Frog team members Byron Headrick and Dave Knowles receive Rotary Club's prestigious Paul Harris Fellow award in June.

    LEAN Frog team members Byron Headrick and Dave Knowles receive Rotary Club’s prestigious Paul Harris Fellow award in June.

  • Thank you Hartselle City Schools for your IMPACT Wellness Initiative that addresses the problem of childhood obesity.  LEAN Frog is proud to be a sponsor of your program and we commend you the initiative you have taken to promote healthy lifestyles for your employees and your students.
  • We sincerely appreciate the honor and recognition that the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce bestowed on us as recipient of the 2014 Small Business of the Year Award for the Business and Professional Services category.  We thank Alabama A&M University for the prestigious 2014 “Excellence is Not Optional” award and for their support of small businesses.

    awards

    Thank you Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce and Alabama A&M University for recognizing our company.

THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTRODUCE LEAN SIX SIGMA TO PUBLIC SCHOOL LEADERS

LEAN Frog helps public schools improve efficiency and effectiveness in their non-instructional departments through the practical application of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) tools.  We are grateful to those organizations that have allowed us to provide training for their members and introduce LSS thinking, systems and tools:

  • Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) as our partner with the half-day executive leader training on Lean Six Sigma process improvement and performance management and the opportunity to award Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification to attendees.
  • Alabama Association of School Business Officials (AASBO) as our partner with the engaging “Lean Office” workshop featuring a panel of Alabama Lean Frog School System clients speaking about the benefits of implementing lean six sigma within their business office operations.

The success of these workshops have led to upcoming training we will conduct in early 2015.

  • The upcoming “Strategies for Fiscal Sustainability in Harsh Economic Times:  Building School District Efficiency Through Lean Six Sigma” half day workshop for superintendents co-sponsored with the School Superintendents of Alabama (SSA) January 22, January 29 and February 5.
  • The Southeastern Association of School Business Officials (SASBO) Discovery Forum in April 2015 where LEAN Frog will use interactive simulations to introduce Lean Six Sigma tools and concepts to business officials throughout the southeast.

THE OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE NEW AND EXISTING CUSTOMERS

Lean Frog's Dave Knowles (left) chats with Georgia Superintendent of the Year Dr. Philip Lanoue (Clarke County Schools) at the GSBA/GSSA Annual Conference.

Lean Frog’s Dave Knowles (left) chats with Georgia Superintendent of the Year Dr. Philip Lanoue (Clarke County Schools) at the GSBA/GSSA Annual Conference.

As always, we express our gratitude to our clients for their business and for their friendship.

  • 2014 was a productive year as we expanded our service offerings this year to include Stakeholder Driven Strategic Planning. We thank Hartselle City Schools and Cullman County Schools for the trust they have placed in us as we work together to develop a long-range, measurable strategic plan for their respective systems.
  • LEAN Frog had the wonderful opportunity of conducting Lean Opportunity Readiness Assessments (LORA) for several Tennessee school systems and of securing our first Tennessee public school system client.  We thank Hamblen County Schools for the confidence they have placed in us and we excited about working with this great school system.
  • In December, we had the great pleasure of participating in our first event in Georgia at the 2014 GSBA/GSSA Annual Conference.  We look forward to building relationships with school systems in both Tennessee and Georgia as we continue our relationships with school systems in Alabama.  We are most grateful for the opportunity to serve public schools by doing what we love.

On behalf of the LEAN Frog team, I would like to wish you a wonderful 2015 filled with many wonderful opportunities and much success.

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Addressing the Concern of Fiscal Sustainability in Public Education

Fiscal Sustainability in Public Education being taught in middle TN

Dr. Rebecca Sharber (Franklin Co. Schools), Chad Moorehead (Moore Co. Schools), and Jerry Boyd (Putnam Co. Schools) discuss applying DMAIC to specific challenges in their school systems

If there is a single concern shared by superintendents, it is fiscal sustainability while providing the best education for students.  To address this concern, LEAN Frog provided a half day training course to small groups of superintendents in East, Middle and West Tennessee as part of the company’s partnership with the Tennessee Organization of Superintendents (TOSS) Leadership Institute.   The course “Strategies for Fiscal Sustainability in Harsh Economic Times: Building School System Efficiency through Lean Six Sigma (LSS)” addressed how LSS could be applied to create fiscal sustainability in public education through reducing costs and increasing the value provided to students.

Discussing what he refers to as “the big squeeze”–pressure to excel in academics and at the same time having funding reduced, instructor Byron Headrick, MBB (LEAN Frog co-founder and president) emphasized, “Pressure can drive feverish action. The key is to take action based on what’s most important.  We have to engage in the activities that produce the most value for our students, parents and communities.”

Teaching Fiscal Sustainabilty in Public Education in west TN

Susan Bunch (Lexington City Schools), Steve Wilkinson (Henderson Co. Schools), Dr. Buddy Bibb (Tipton Co. Schools), Johnny McAdams (Carroll Co. Schools) and instructor Byron Headrick (LEAN Frog) use a fishbone diagram to analyze substitute teacher shortages

The course provided an overview of LEAN Frog’s “Five Lean Principles for Public Education,” addressed Value Stream Mapping and DMAIC–LSS approaches for innovating and problem-solving,  and provided pointers for where and how to start applying LSS tools.  As the superintendents learned about the tools, they engaged the instructor and each other about how to apply the tools to specific challenges they faced in their respective school systems.   Technical terms like fishbone diagrams, SIPOC, and Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) became more understandable as the concepts were applied to challenges ranging from substitute teacher shortages to rolling out new initiatives in transportation departments.    The course concluded with DISC leadership training so the superintendents could have a basic understanding of facilitation and communication styles when working with teams to innovate or solve problems.
Barry Olhausen (TOSS, Assistant Executive Director) remarked “With the expert guidance of Byron, our Tennessee superintendents dug deep to discover how Lean Six Sigma could assist us in reducing waste, saving time and increasing efficiency in our non-instructional areas.  The real payoff came with the realization that savings in these areas would help us in enhancing our instructional programs.”

east TN superintendents discussing fiscal sustainability in public education

Dr. Dale Lynch (Hamblen Co. Schools), Dr. Jeanne Barker (Lenoir City Schools), and Johnny McDaniel (Bradley Co. Schools) discuss operational and organizational wastes.

After successful completion of the training exam, course participants will receive a yellow belt certification in Lean Six Sigma.

Have questions about applying Lean Six Sigma to improve fiscal sustainability in public education?

Need help implementing LSS tools in your school?

Have concerns about sustaining the improvements your team has already made?

Simply want to know why and how Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) should be utilized in public education?

Feel free to contact LEAN Frog.

 

 

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Yellow Belt Certification for Tennessee School Superintendents

The Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) and LEAN Frog, a TOSS Institute Sponsor, are TOSS Logoinviting Tennessee School Superintendents to attend a Lean Six Sigma workshop in mid-July 2014.  This free half-day workshop will be held at locations in eastern, middle and western Tennessee in mid-July.  Participants will receive:

  • Yellow Belt Certification (Executive Leadership Training) in Lean Six Sigma approaches to drive efficiencies in school system’s non-instructional operations
  • Their own DISC behavior profile (a useful tool that can provide understanding of communication styles and approaches) and training on how to use DISC to enhance improvement team performance
  • One day of CEO credit from TOSS.

Registration will  begin at 8:30 AM each morning and the program will conclude by early afternoon. Lunch will be provided. Interested Tennessee School Superintendents may make a reservation here. 

LEAN Frog specializes in helping school districts reduce costs (thereby increasing resources for academics), avoid litigation, and decrease fiscal risk through the deployment of Lean Six Sigma Process Improvement and Performance Management Tools. LEAN Frog has worked with a number of school districts in with very impressive results and is now beginning to offer its services in Tennessee.

The title for this workshop is:  Strategies for Fiscal Sustainability in Harsh Economic Times:  Building School District Efficiency through Lean Six Sigma.

This course is an executive leader overview on using Lean Six Sigma Process Improvement and Performance Management Tools to drive efficiency in school system’s non-instructional departments. By the end of this course attendees will have a detailed understanding of:

1.  Understand Operational and Organizational Wastes and how they negatively impacts school system performance;

2.  How to use Process Improvement and Performance Management approaches (i.e. Lean Six Sigma) to eliminate and reduce Operational and Organizational Wastes;

3.  How to select and set-up key process metrics;

4.  How to use those measures through a management system to drive fiscal sustainability and academic performance;

5.  What pitfalls should be avoided when implementing process improvement techniques.

For further information about the TOSS Institute, please contact Barry Olhausen at (615) 254-1955 or at barry@tosstn.com.

 

TOSS is the leading advocate organization for public education in the state of Tennessee.  Since 1975, TOSS has been progressing public education and addressing the needs of its administrators.   For more information about TOSS, please go to:  www.tosstn.com

Headquartered in Huntsville, AL, LEAN Frog’s mission is to help public schools succeed through increasing the value they deliver to students, faculty, parents, and communities while fully engaging employees, reducing costs and building a spirit of continuous improvement.  

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Superintendent Study Councils: A Fantastic Way to Lunch and Learn!

Dave Knowles presents a check on behalf of LEAN Frog to Ms. Susan Steele (Director, Culinary Arts, Stewarts Creek High School) as Dr. Clark Harrell (Principal, Stewarts Creek High School) and Mr. Don Odom (Director of Schools, Rutherford County Schools) look on.

Dave Knowles presents a check on behalf of LEAN Frog to Ms. Susan Steele (Director, Culinary Arts, Stewarts Creek High School) as Dr. Clark Harrell (Principal, Stewarts Creek High School) and Mr. Don Odom (Director of Schools, Rutherford County Schools) look on.

You may or may not know that prior to moving to the Huntsville/Madison County area, our Sales and Marketing Manager Dave Knowles had a 30 year career in the hospitality industry, working specifically in college and university food service management.  Imagine his delight witnessing new generations of young culinary artists work their magic while he and colleague Dr. Jim Kerner (LEAN Frog Lean Consultant) enjoyed the delicious meal Stewarts Creek High School students prepared under the supervision of Ms. Susan Steele (Culinary Arts Director).

Dave and Jim traveled to Smyrna, Tennessee yesterday to support the Mid-Cumberland and South Central Superintendent Study Councils.  The Tennessee Superintendent Study Councils  are organized to provide an opportunity for the continuous study of problems of the profession and to jointly evaluate, with the Tennessee Department of Education, ongoing instructional programs and recommend changes designed to improve these programs.

Superintendent Study Council Participants enjoy a delicious meal prepared by culinary arts students at Stewarts Creek High School.

Participants enjoy a delicious meal prepared by culinary arts students at Stewarts Creek High School.

Ms. Steele and her team of students prepared and served lunch for the gathered superintendents and guests.  Stewarts Creek High School is part of Rutherford County Schools.

LEAN Frog thanks Ms. Steele, her students, Dr. Harrell and Mr. Odom for their hospitality and we thank the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) for the opportunity to lunch and learn.  LEAN Frog is honored to be a TOSS Institute Partner.

 

 

 

 

Headquartered in Huntsville, AL, LEAN Frog’s mission is to help public schools succeed through increasing the value they deliver to students, parents and communities while fully engaging employees, reducing costs, and building a spirit of continuous improvement.

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