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Wisconsin School District Captures State Quality Awards by Collaborating for Continuous Improvement

Summary: Six years ago significant achievement gaps at Viking Elementary School in Holmen, WI, led the school to apply for and subsequently receive a state school reform grant. The grant stipulated that recipients commit to a continuous improvement framework. To comply, Viking adopted the Malcolm Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence. The continuous improvement effort, based on the Baldrige framework, eventually spread throughout the district. The plan, do, study, act (PDSA) cycle and a sharp focus on teacher collaboration to maximize student achievement were key factors in the improvement journey. In 2004, Viking Elementary became the first K-12 applicant for the Wisconsin Forward Award, a statewide Baldrige-based program, and in doing so earned a Proficiency Level Award. Then just one year later, Holmen Middle School captured a Wisconsin Forward Award at the Commitment Level.

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