Efforts to enhance the skills and knowledge of Broward’s leaders began at the University of Virginia’s Darden/Curry School Executive Leadership Academy through the generous support from the South Florida Community Leadership Foundation. Broward’s executive leaders and select directors and principals received training in various areas such as strategic planning, communication, decision-making, and partnerships. The charge of those who attended was to expand their knowledge, share information with their staff, and implement strategies learned.
As a result of the Darden/Curry experience, Superintendent James Notter identified the need for another level of training to build a culture of Enterprise Accountability. To be the Best in Class, employees must understand and embrace the District’s vision and mission and take personal responsibility in the success of the organization. As a management tool to ensure accountability and collaboration among divisions, Project Management was targeted as a vital component of Enterprise Accountability.
To embark on the basic level of Enterprise Accountability, support had to be established. Mr. Notter began this process with the School Board. An industrial psychologist was hired to conduct professional development sessions with the School Board to build stronger working relationships among Board members, the Superintendent, and Executive Leadership. In addition, and through this work, the School Board identified and approved goals for the Superintendent and for themselves.
The District’s Strategic Plan consists of seven (7) goals. Goal 4 addresses promoting innovation which incorporates best practices and project management, including a specific objective
Parallel to the work with the industrial psychologist was staff research into strategies effective Districts have applied in increasing accountability. Markers for identifying the Districts and those who support the Districts’ work included evidence of focus on better results, breeding more support and commitment, and building a stronger organization.
Broward’s staff reviewed literature and studied/visited institutions and organizations with experience in educational accountability models:
In addition, staff also attended conferences and meetings to learn about application of project management and attended the Project and Portfolio Summit in June, 2008 and the Decision Support Architecture Consortium II at the University of Virginia in May, 2008.
This research has served as a Broward foundation for design and implementation of several of the key elements seen in the Best in Class areas. Broward County Public schools has launched a comprehensive project management system as a component of its strategic plan to ensure accountability and on time performance for its initiatives to fulfill the mission and vision. Enterprise Accountability System for Education (EASE) incorporates project management, knowledge management, process management, and organizational capacity into an integrated system to manage the District’s strategic initiatives. EASE focuses these processes around a Balance Scorecard which serves to monitor key performance measures demonstrating the District’s progress towards meeting strategic plan initiatives and process improvements. EASE will allow the District to focus on best practices and quality efforts to improve our best-in-class position.