Performance Improvement Project Paper

Zen Benefiel

University of Phoenix

April 17, 2003

Instructor: Vernon Thacker

Performance Improvement Project Paper

            Charter schools in Arizona run the gamut of perfunctory performance standards, although there are indeed some that exhibit program excellence. This paper will explore the dynamics of the performance improvement of charter schools. Specifically, since we are in the start up phase, the text will address the development of a continual improvement plan relative to the design and implementation of a new charter school - Spectrum Academy.

            First, let us examine a balance scorecard for goals and performance indicators in an academic department. We will use an example from UC Davis and apply it to Spectrum Academy. Most of the information is easily transferable to a secondary stand alone environment. Inclusive in the development of holistic education, we will also look at what spirituality means in education.

Balanced Scorecard for Education


II. Stakeholder Perspective

To achieve its vision, how should the unit appear to key external constituencies?

-          How do extramural funding and accrediting agencies (federal, state, private) view this unit?

-          How do academic peers view this unit?

-          How do current and prospective students view this department?

-          How do alumni view this unit?

-          What role does this unit play in campus/community relationships?

-          How do key stakeholders (e.g. Regents/legislature) view this department?


III. Financial Perspective

Are financial resources managed to ensure achievement of the unit's vision?

-          What steps has this unit taken to ensure that it has the fiscal capacity to maintain and renew itself?

-          Are its resources deployed in a manner consistent with its vision and with campus-wide priorities? (How could reallocation of existing resources better serve its vision?)

-          Is this unit getting the most it can from its existing resources?

-          How successful have development efforts been?

-          Is the funding request consistent with the campus' long-term plan for this unit?


IV. Internal Process Perspective

Has the unit designed its key internal processes to ensure achievement of its vision?

-          How good is the unit's planning process?

-          What is the level and quality of faculty involvement?

-          Does this unit successfully execute its academic plans?

-          How successful has this unit been in recognizing and capitalizing on major extramural funding opportunities?

-          How efficient are key administrative processes in this unit?

-          Does the unit administer its key processes in a quality, timely manner?

-          Does the unit continuously improve its processes and services?

V. Innovation and Renewal Perspective

Does the unit have in place the mechanisms which enable it to sustain excellence over time?

-          If this unit is outstanding, what are the threats to its continued vitality?

-          What steps has the unit taken to recognize and manage these threats?

-          If this unit is very good, in what key areas must it improve to become an outstanding department?

-           If this unit is mediocre, do we (1) take steps to encourage improvement, or (2) redirect resources to more promising endeavors?

-          Is this unit successful in recruiting and retaining: - a faculty complement that is consistent with its vision?

-          a staff complement that efficiently and effectively serves the unit’s mission?

-          Is the unit providing faculty and staff with the required training and tools?


Remembering Our Purpose


In the process of developing the academic unit for the school, we must include the identification of particular elements. These elements are not products; they are the procedures and processes of achieving academic excellence in the environment of life.

The spiritual poverty of much contemporary education provides few opportunities for today's youth to quench their deep thirst for meaning and wholeness. Misguided or unconscious attempts by students to attain some sense of fulfillment often result in varying degrees of addictive behavior toward activities, substances or relationships - all of which make teaching and learning difficult, if not impossible. The spiritual poverty of much contemporary education provides few opportunities for today's youth to quench their deep thirst for meaning and wholeness. Misguided or unconscious attempts by students to attain some sense of fulfillment often result in varying degrees of addictive behavior toward activities, substances or relationships - all of which make teaching and learning difficult, if not impossible.

A spiritualized education would seek to open the mind, warm the heart and awaken the spirit of each student. It would provide opportunities for students to be creative, contemplative, and imaginative. It would allow time to tell old and new stories of heroes, ideals and transformation. It would encourage students to go deep, into themselves, into nature, and into human affairs. It would value service to others and the planet. (Spirituality April 14, 2003)


Sample Performance Measures


Sample performance measures for academic units:


GOAL: The faculty are recognized by academic peers as leaders in the production of significant new knowledge.


· Extramural support per faculty FTE (full time employee) consistently equals/exceeds, or is improving toward extramural support per faculty FTE in comparable disciplines and competitive institutions.



GOAL: This unit deploys its resources to advance its goals in a cost-effective manner.


· The unit provides an annual program based financial statement that highlights major strategic reallocations of resources and other major financial issues.

· Various workload measures compared to benchmark data from related disciplines on campus or at competing institutions.



GOAL: This unit consistently succeeds in its faculty recruitment and retention efforts.


· Recruitment of first or second choice candidates as a proportion of total recruitments over a five-year period.

· Rate of progress of junior faculty to tenure and senior ranks.



GOAL: This unit consistently supports faculty efforts to recognize and capitalize upon extramural funding opportunities.


· A process is in place whereby information on funding opportunities is routinely placed before faculty.

· Various workload measures (proposals prepared, prospects identified and contracted, ration of successful applications to total applications) scaled to size of unit (per faculty FTE?) (ABSO, 2003)


Linking Assessment to Instruction


                New methods of assessment are just as important as restructured curricula and revised teaching strategies. For the purposes of this paper, we will explore the stakeholder/customer perspective above. In our holistic approach to education, we will undoubted collect and nurture pioneers in holistic education within the United States and specifically Arizona. As a progressive institution, we will implement certain communication standards to maintain consistency with our vision. Our educational process will include the linking of assessment to instruction.

Linking assessment to instruction - embedding it in the process of learning - is critical to full implementation of new science standards. To allow students to construct learning in the classroom through authentic experiences, assessment must be:

1.      Open-ended, allowing for discussion and revision of new understanding.

2.      Tolerant of divergent thinking and promote the notion of no "one right answer."

3.      Presented in alternative modes, not just paper-and-pencil responses to limiting questions.

4.      Designed to foster analysis, comparison, generalization, prediction, and modification.

5.      Capable of promoting collaboration and team effort in demonstration of competence.

6.      Ongoing and cumulative, showing growth over time. (NCREL, 2003)


By addressing these features and their inclusion, along with other supportive holistic practices, we will continue to grow the school. Through the relationships created in our development of public and private associations, especially in education, our methodologies will be developed to be easily replicable in most school environments, regardless of their use of ‘holistic’ terminology. These features will not only increase the stakeholder and customer satisfaction, it will lead to our faculty being recognized for their pioneering efforts in holistic education.




University of California, Academic Balanced Scorecard Overview, April 14, 2003 [WWW document]. URL:

North Central Regional Education Laboratory, Copyright © North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. April 14, 2003 [WWW document]. URL:

Spirituality in Education, Holistic Education Network of Tasmania, Inc., April 14, 2003 [WWW document]. URL: