Commitment 4

Commitment 4
Organizational Coherence

Objective 4.1:

PWCS will create systemic structures for strong cycles of continuous improvement.


Values Spotlight

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Theory of Action

If we use data to enhance and measure the quality of operational performance, and if we train all office and school leaders in the components of the continuous improvement process and provide supports to schools in implementing their continuous improvement plans with fidelity, then PWCS will have strong action plans to support student outcomes.

Continuous improvement entails identifying a problem to solve (or area to improve), implementing evidence-based strategies in response, collecting data to monitor the changes' impact, and adjusting the strategies as needed. To do this effectively, a division must view problems as products of the current system, not as outcomes of actions taken by individuals, engage in improvement efforts with regularity and consistency, and link the day-to-day work done by individuals within and across levels of the organization. Continuous improvement processes have yielded a variety of benefits for school divisions, increasing staff engagement, staff sense of shared accountability, positive school climate and culture, academic achievement, graduation rates, and post-secondary application and enrollment rates. Systems of continuous improvement in school divisions also may support efforts to decrease academic achievement gaps and staff attrition. In PWCS, schools develop and implement annual continuous improvement plans. School efforts in recent years have focused on the ongoing monitoring of continuous improvement plans and PWCS established a dedicated team to support those efforts. To date, though, there has not been a systematic approach to strategic and continuous improvement planning for offices and departments. This four-year Strategic Plan sets forth the systems, structures, and protocols for implementing cycles of continuous improvement.

Goals and Strategies

100% of office and school strategic plans will align to division goals and strategies.

Align strategic and continuous improvement planning efforts for offices and schools.

To facilitate organizational coherence, it is essential that continuous improvement planning efforts across offices and schools be aligned. PWCS will provide professional development for office and department staff in the components of the continuous improvement process so that all offices will have strategic plans that support the division's vision as well as the continuous improvement plans in schools. All PWCS office and department leadership will be provided training in the continuous improvement process by the end of 2021-22. Over the course of the next four years, all offices and schools will develop annual continuous improvement plans aligned to the division's strategic initiatives and vision goals.

Provide school leadership teams with continuous improvement coaching support and partnerships.

To build staff capacity to promote academic progress, each school in PWCS is assigned a coach to support the development and monitoring of their continuous improvement plan. Additional support may be provided to schools based on their level of need as determined by the division's two-year Unfinished Learning Plan tiered support model and other identified needs.

Transparently communicate division academic performance through a quarterly public reporting structure that monitors progress toward meeting strategic plan commitments and goals.

In the development of this Strategic Plan, one of the areas identified by stakeholders as a need is increased transparency. PWCS will institute a quarterly reporting process to increase transparency in communicating academic and operational performance. PWCS is also developing operational and performance dashboards as a component of a structured reporting system. By the 2022-23 school year, PWCS will have consistent operational and performance metrics published on the PWCS webpage.

100% of key divisionwide process workflows will include quality assurance measures

PWCS will apply Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) process to manage quality across the division.

Currently PWCS has limited quality control standards for business and operational processes across the division. Six Sigma is a proven, globally adopted standard, for business process improvement and quality control (White, 2021). To support organizational coherence, PWCS will apply the Six Sigma process as a strategy to manage quality across the entire division. PWCS will identify key divisionwide processes as well as the key process owners, who will receive training in the Six Sigma process. PWCS will then review and improve key divisionwide processes. By 2025, PWCS will fully implement quality controls for key processes and monitor them against identified performance targets.

Objective 4.2:

PWCS will remove barriers to communication to facilitate collaboration across offices, schools, and families in the spirit of customer service.


Values Spotlight

Equity icon -- icon is the scales of justice inside of a cirlce
Integrity icon -- icon is an award ribbon inside of a circle
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Theory of Action

If we communicate to families using their home language via their preferred mode, holistically manage their customer-service experience holistically, and implement divisionwide customer service standards, we will deliver a consistent high-quality customer service experience for students, families, and employees.

"Research has shown that simply providing access to information via online gradebooks has almost no effect on student outcomes, largely because very few parents ever use these tools. In contrast, a growing literature documents the positive impacts of sending information about grades, missing assignments, or absences directly to parents through automated notifications. Several of these studies find that proactively pushing information and guidance to parents is particularly effective at improving outcomes among students from low-income families and students of color and that effects become more pronounced as information and guidance is tailored to individual students' needs." (Matthew A. Kraft & Alexander Bolves, Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University).

The ability for parents and guardians to engage with teachers, administrators, and the school division in two-way communication is critical to the ability to have a high-quality customer experience. In an era of communication saturation, is also important to provide families with the ability to use their preferred communication platform. As PWCS serves students from countries around the globe and nearly 1-in-4 students is an English Learner, the ability to communicate in real-time using the home language of the student is also vital to removing barriers. A consistent customer experience, with clearly defined expectations for both provider and customer will greatly improve families' interactions across the school division. Currently, PWCS offers free language assistance to families by providing access to professional interpreters to help families understand important information about their child's education. PWCS also translates all essential communications into eight languages. PWCS does offer parents the ParentVUE tool that provides online access to the student information system. However, PWCS does not currently provide teachers with tools to communicate in real-time via text with families, which is a preferred communication platform, in their home language.

Goals and Strategies

100% of family home languages will be supported and available at key customer touch points in the division

Implement a teacher initiated two-way communication, school and divisionwide messaging platform with auto translation in home languages that integrates key student information and performance data to enable more targeted communications.

In 2022, PWCS will implement an innovative technology that integrates key student data to increase communication among teachers, district administrators, and student families. This tool will aggregate and convert individual student data, such as learning assessments, attendance, and grades into easy-to-use reports for teachers. The platform will also provide direct communication tools to connect with student families via two-way call, email, or texting with the ability to translate in real-time between teacher and the family's home language. Teachers will pilot use of this platform prior to its adoption in fall of 2022. PWCS will measure adoption, use, and family engagement with the tool beginning in the 2022-23 school year. PWCS will measure adoption and use of the platform throughout the 2022-23 school year. PWCS will measure family engagement with the tool from a baseline in the 2022-23 school year, to see measurable improvements in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years.

90% of PWCS families and community partners will report satisfaction with the level of customer service provided by their school and PWCS offices
90% of employees will report satisfaction with the level of customer service provided by PWCS offices

Implement a divisionwide customer relationship management platform.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms are tools for managing relationships with customers. The use of a CRM will allow PWCS to enhance communication with customers, reach families in universal and targeted ways, and assess the effectiveness of those communications. The effective use of a CRM has shown to increase customer satisfaction by as much as 10-15% for organizations effectively using such platforms.

PWCS will procure a CRM in 2022-23 and implement the tool divisionwide by fall of 2023. The platform will enable the setting of a key baseline for customer service key performance indicators and the goal for measurable increases through the 2024-25 school year.

Implement an enhanced divisionwide customer service model survey and training divisionwide.

PWCS is committed to providing a high level of customer service. Parent survey results show high levels of overall satisfaction with the school division, but further study is needed into the customer experience. PWCS is developing an enhanced survey system for collecting annual feedback on the customer service experience for families and staff.

By 2022-23, all staff will be trained in the PWCS customer service standards. Beginning in 2022-23, the annual Divisionwide Climate and Culture Survey for families will include an explicit customer service component. In addition, by 2022-23, comprehensive customer service surveys will be administered annually to all staff. Results from these surveys will be utilized in continuous improvement plans for offices and schools.

Objective 4.3:

PWCS will ensure that our strategic priorities are driving our investments.


Values Spotlight

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Equity icon -- icon is the scales of justice inside of a cirlce
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Theory of Action

If we align our budgeted resources with our strategic priorities, then we will ensure that every student is provided equitable access to facilities, technology, and curriculum, enabling improved student outcomes and experiences.

The commitments identified in this Strategic Plan require resource investment through the annual budget, the Capital Improvement Plan, and other investments. Research indicates that resources should be defined broadly, to include financial, physical, human, and organizational resources. Effective and equitable resource allocation requires organizational collaboration and coherence. PWCS has committed to an equitable allocation of resources. To support that commitment, PWCS established the Office of the Chief Equity Officer in 2021, which will promote, champion, and sustain educational equity in support of this Strategic Plan and Vision. Financial forecasting allows for the strategic development of budgets and resource allocation.

Goals and Strategies

All PWCS schools and offices will be funded equitably and for adequacy

Establish a budget taskforce that will engage the community, instructional leaders, employee groups, and student stakeholders to provide recommendations into the budget process.

It is important for the PWCS community to play a foundational role in shaping the budget process to ensure it reflects the priorities of the many diverse stakeholder's needs. PWCS will establish a budget taskforce in calendar year 2022. This taskforce will be chartered to provide recommendations that can shape the budget process in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget development. The alignment of department and school budgets to the strategic priorities will be implemented with the FY 2023 budget.

Implement changes to the budget which will align budget investments to the strategic priorities for central offices and schools.

Resource equity means consistently prioritizing and allocating people, time, and money to align with levels of need and opportunity. PWCS will develop and implement revised equity-driven funding formulas for schools and offices. These formulas will be based on identified needs at the school and office level. Beginning with FY 2023, PWCS department budgets will include funding for the key investments identified in Strategic Plan commitments.

All PWCS technology, facility, security, and curriculum material investments will be made equitably and will meet consistent standards

Implement a digital equity investment plan to equip and maintain consistent high quality technology support and digital learning tools, providing one-to-one technology for students and teachers divisionwide.

PWCS is committed to digital equity for students and staff, equipping them with consistent high-quality learning tools in every classroom and for at-home teaching and learning as needed. In the spring of 2020, PWCS closed schools due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. To rapidly support virtual teaching and learning, PWCS made substantial investments in technology for students and teachers purchasing nearly 70,000 laptops. PWCS continues to have considerable gaps with consistent technology support in classrooms, such as having more than 2,000 classrooms with projectors/interactive white boards that are more than seven years old. To maintain these investments and close equity gaps, PWCS will centralize the management and purchasing of these assets, refresh students' and teachers' devices at least every four years, and ensure that interactive flat panels are five years old or less. PWCS will continue to support closing the homework gap by providing take home internet for those in need.

PWCS will complete eight school renovations between FY23 and FY26

Base CIP investments on a facility condition index including security and technology infrastructure.

PWCS is developing a facility condition index that will allow for the annual assessment of school facilities on multiple factors. The facility condition index will be a numerical rating of the current quality of each school's architectural, mechanical, plumbing, safety, and security systems. The index will also incorporate technology infrastructure and life-safety systems. This index will allow for the equitable allocation of resources based on identified and prioritized facilities needs. By the 2024-25 school year, all schools will be assessed using the facility condition index and 75% of all PWCS renovation investments will be based on the facility condition index.

Develop and implement a curriculum materials investment plan to coincide with the textbook/instructional materials adoption process.

In order to ensure equitable access to up-to-date curriculum materials including textbooks (digital or print) and other instructional materials, PWCS will develop a divisionwide investment strategy outlining a four-year roadmap for necessary annual investments to equip every student and teacher with such materials. These investment plans will outline annual expenditures in Fiscal Year 2023 through 2026. This will be used to shape the budget process and will be aligned to division policy and regulation.

PWCS will align budgetary and capital improvement plan targets based on a solid long-term financial plan

Develop a long-term financial plan and forecast model.

PWCS is committed to aligning the priorities of the Strategic Plan with the budget and capital improvement plans. In 2022, PWCS will develop a long-term financial plan that balances the requirements of the budget to inform decisions that ensure PWCS' financial health. The development of this financial plan will serve to inform development of the budget and long-term strategic planning. The use of the plan and forecast model will be integral to school and office strategic planning by Fiscal Year 2025.

PWCS benefits and wages will be regionally competitive

Develop and implement a plan to ensure adequate staffing levels and a leadership succession plan based on the results of a comprehensive staffing study.

PWCS is committed to making the compensation and benefits for employees regionally competitive. By 2023-24, PWCS will conduct a comprehensive study of PWCS Compensation and Benefit Programs with prioritized recommendations for improvement. This study will review job classifications relative to pay grades to ensure internal equity and external equity as compared to peer school divisions in the NOVA regions. Beginning with the FY23 budget cycle, PWCS will reference pay grade analyses and study recommendations to inform strategic investments to accomplish this goal.

Objective 4.4:

PWCS will work toward convergence, operating as a unified school system with shared accountability for school and division goals.


Values Spotlight

Integrity icon -- icon is an award ribbon inside of a circle
Equity icon -- icon is the scales of justice inside of a cirlce

Theory of Action

If we are organized for success, with integrated processes and platforms, and have clear operational roles and responsibilities, then we will enable greater focus on instructional delivery for students.

School divisions are complex systems. PWCS is committed to strengthening the systems to allow for organizational coherence. The multiple components of the school division depend on one another and must be aligned in support of students. Ongoing collaboration in the decision-making process, along with aligned systems, processes, and tools, are essential in the move toward coherence. In developing goals around organizational coherence, PWCS utilized the coherence framework developed by the Public Education Leadership Project at Harvard University.

Goals and Strategies

PWCS organizational design will be 100% optimized and aligned to facilitate the effective delivery of instruction and operational support

Conduct organizational assessments to ensure organizational alignment to delivery of key processes and outcomes.

In 2017, PWCS undertook an objective staffing study of the Central Administrative Offices to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the central administrative functions in comparison to a regional set of benchmark school divisions. Since that time PWCS has not re-evaluated or re-benchmarked divisionwide staffing or functions. As the school division population has grown and become more complex, and the demands for services outside the academic core have increased, an organizational assessment aligned to this Strategic Plan is necessary to ensure operational outcomes and service delivery. In Fiscal Year 2023, PWCS will conduct an assessment similar in scope to that conducted in 2017. This study will inform the Fiscal Year 2024 budget process, with the intent to implement recommendations in FY2024 and 2025.

PWCS has not re-evaluated or re-benchmarked divisionwide staffing or functions. As the school division population has grown and become more complex, and the demands for services outside the academic core have increased, an organizational assessment aligned to this strategic plan is necessary to ensure operational outcomes and service delivery. In Fiscal Year 2023, PWCS will conduct an assessment similar in scope to that conducted in 2017. This study will inform the Fiscal Year 2024 budget process, with the intent to implement recommendations in FY2024 and 2025.

PWCS school administrators will spend no more than 10% of weekly hours on business administration
Implement a centralized shared services business model for core operational functions such as information technology, finance, human resources, and facilities.

PWCS is committed to supporting teaching and learning as the core functions of the school division. As a result, school administrators must function as instructional leaders. Centralizing business and operational functions reduces the amount of time school leaders spend on functions other than instruction. PWCS is centralizing the purchase and distribution of technology across the school division to ensure digital equity as well as to remove the need for school administrators to manage technology assets. Starting with the FY 2023 budget, PWCS will identify areas of consolidation to improve organizational effectiveness and remove burdens from school administrators. This work will continue in subsequent fiscal years. PWCS will target the goal of school leaders spending no more than four hours per week on such functions by 2025.

All PWCS school administrators and senior leaders will have clear operational roles and responsibilities
Define and document site-based standards and operational requirements.

PWCS operates with a philosophy of site-based management, which allows for decision-making at the school level to support the instructional needs in each building. For an effective use of site-based management, it is critical that standards be established to define what is managed centrally and what is managed at the site level. PWCS commits to developing renewed standards for site-based management. By 2022-23, all administrators and leaders will receive training in the PWCS standards for site-based management.

100% of PWCS instructional and collaboration systems will meet information technology standards for security and interoperability
Utilize the same core learning, communication, productivity, and assessment systems divisionwide.

In order to achieve equitable access and learning in the classroom, ensure safety of student and employee information, and improve customer service and organizational coherence, the divisionwide use of the same technology platforms is crucial. In 2020-21, PWCS launched the use of Canvas as a divisionwide learning management system. By 2022-23, the expectation is that all teachers use Canvas consistently. The consistent use of Canvas allows students to access learning materials on an on-demand basis. Additionally, Microsoft will serve as the foundational productivity platform for all classrooms and offices for internal collaboration and communication by the start of school year 2022-23. In 2022-23, PWCS will develop a Data Governance and Application Approval process that clearly outlines the digital ecosystem and requirements for approvals.