Offices Honored for Excellence in Performance

March 18, 2004
The offices and departments overseen by the chief operating officer - including the areas of transportation, planning, budget, finance, employee relations, technology, human resources, facilities and materials management - have been recognized as a model of productivity and performance excellence in Maryland.

The “operations” side of the school system was honored Monday with a bronze medal in the Maryland Quality Award competition, administered by the University of Maryland Center for Quality and Productivity.

Four other business and nonprofit organizations across the state also were honored with the awards, and one organization was presented with the U.S. Senate Productivity Award.

The awards are based on the Criteria for Performance Excellence, part of the Baldrige National Quality Program. The seven Baldrige categories reflect current best thinking on organizational practice and serve as the major goal areas for the strategic plans of areas within the Office of the Chief Operating Officer.

Among the characteristics of award winners is a management process that sustains performance, motivates staff, ensures stakeholder satisfaction, and achieves continuously improving organizational performance.

Selection of the winners was made by a Board of Examiners comprising more than 40 Maryland business leaders. The awards were presented by Senators Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski, program sponsors, at a March 15 ceremony at the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins University.

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) began implementing the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence in 2000 as its model for continuous improvement of school performance and student learning. As a direct result, MCPS developed a comprehensive strategic plan to address goals and priorities set by the Board of Education. A Baldrige Leadership Team representing all stakeholder groups was established in 2002, and the team has served as a guiding coalition for implementing Baldrige throughout the school system.

The office of Chief Operating Officer Larry Bowers includes two offices and seven other departments within Montgomery County Public Schools. They are the offices of Human Resources and Global Access Technology, and the departments of Association Relations; Facilities Management; Financial Services; Management, Budget and Planning; Materials Management; Planning and Capital Programming; and Transportation.

The office has been particularly effective in using the rigorous Baldrige system as its framework for performance excellence. The Baldrige process also ensures that the strategic planning is in alignment with the overall MCPS strategic plan and that ample opportunity is provided for evaluation of progress toward meeting criteria.

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