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Continual Improvement

Organizational improvement—be it education, business, healthcare or any sector—is often frauucsd_systemsalignmentght with random acts of improvement that may deliver short-term results but do little to impact the sustainable improvement of the system. By implementing a systems approach for Continual Improvement that adheres to the rigorous standards established by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, Urbandale is able to more fully align all goals throughout the entire district in order to achieve systemic improvement.

Since 2010, this constancy of purpose has been woven throughout every facet of the district—from the student level, to the classroom level, to the school level, to the district level, to the Board level— which results in not only a common language for how the district will improve but clarity as to what’s needed for improvement and most importantly, a profound understanding for why this improvement is critical for student achievement and success.



“Continual Improvement is the essence of delivering Quality in education, health care, service industries, manufacturing, and every organization. For Continual Improvement to occur, an organization must engage its members at higher levels, as it requires individuals to think not only about what they are doing and how they are doing it, but even more importantly why they are doing it and for what purpose it serves. As Albert Einstein said, ‘We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.’ Thus, when we begin to ask the question ‘why’ we engage people at much deeper levels which results in a more collaborative and cohesive work environment, and empowers individuals to more fully contribute to their organizations and the outside world.

Over the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to see this transformation taking place throughout the Urbandale district. Students, teachers, principals, and leaders at all levels are dedicated to understanding why they are doing what they are doing, assessing data to determine if what they are doing is effective, and then implementing changes to continually improve the system.

Status quo in education, or any organization, is really a thing of the past—it quite simply is not a long-term proposition. Urbandale understands this and acts with the same creativity, innovation, and forward-thinking that I’ve seen global corporations employ—all while excelling at what Urbandale does best: providing learning environments that motivate and inspire.”
Steve Guns
Director, Division Quality
John Deere Financial