U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker named the Pewaukee School District (PSD) as a recipient of the 2013 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the highest presidential honor given to American organizations for performance excellence. PSD becomes only the seventh public school district to receive the award. Superintendent Dr. JoAnn Sternke says, “It is with great pride for me to share that the Pewaukee School District is one of three organizations to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award this year. Two healthcare organizations are also being recognized along with the Pewaukee School District. This recognition is evidence of our meeting a very high standard of excellence. I couldn’t be more grateful for the commitment to excellence in all of our staff.”
Since 2007, PSD has used the Baldrige Quality improvement model to live out its mission to open the door to the future for every student. This goal is apparent in the 314 staff members employed by PSD. From educators and administration to custodians to food service staff, the growth and well-being of students is the primary focus of every department’s and school’s effort to continually improve. PSD Board of Education President Jim Huismann says, “I am extremely pleased and gratified that our District has received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. It is important to note that the award reflects a commitment to excellence throughout the Pewaukee School District. It could not have been achieved without a focus on continuous measurable improvement throughout our organization. Our passion for academic excellence and our commitment to opening the door to each child’s future shows in the work of all of us who are associated with the District. I thank our faculty, staff administration, many volunteers and fellow board members for helping us achieve this great honor. It is a proud day in the history of our District!”
Using the Malcolm Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence, PSD embarked on a seven-year journey of continuous improvement that has produced results. Across every department, PSD has formalized key processes designed to produce results-driven performance from each staff member and each school. These processes were created through collaboration, making staff leaders in improvement plans used in their classrooms and buildings every day. Data-driven decision making supports changes and initiatives in PSD schools. From school transition programs to curriculum revisions, changes are supported by data to provide an environment of learning where students’ needs are considered not only academically, but holistically to support learning and growth. Even with the most rigorous graduation requirements in the state, PSD’s results include having one of the highest graduation rates in the state from 2008 through 2013. A key measure of college and career readiness, the percentage of PSD students attending a two- or four-year college increased from 78.8 percent in 2006-2007 to 91.9 percent in 2011-2012. This compares favorably to the county (84 percent), state (74.1 percent), and nearby high-performing districts (85.1 percent). PSD’s ACT composite scores of 23.4 outperform both the state (22) and national (20.9) averages. PSD’s economically disadvantaged students surpassed the performance of similar students in the county, state and nearby high-performing schools on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concept Examinations (WKCE) reading proficiency tests by achieving 45.5 percent proficiency compared to proficiency below 33 percent.