Three questions guide improvement science in schools and organizations:
- 1. What specifically are we trying to accomplish?
2. What change might we introduce and why?
3. How will we know that a change is actually an improvement?
While many organizations are engaged in this work on their own, improvement spreads much more rapidly through networked communities.
This is the final principle of improvement science; improvement is accelerated when organizations are connected and sharing success and challenges. If one organization is able to learn from the improvement (or obstacles that impaired improvement) of another organizations, then they are able to apply that understanding and build from those lessons learned.
This is naturally the purpose, aim and work of the NativityMiguel Coalition. We are stronger together than we are as a single school because we are able to learn from one another, adapt practice for our own use, and then advance the conversation by contributing our own learnings.
As I have stated before, the NativityMiguel Coalition is essentially a group of crowd-sourcing school leaders. Each NativityMiguel school is independently governed as we believe that students are best served when each school has the autonomy and ability to deliver an education based on local need, resources and personnel. Instead of being accountable to a detailed set of standards that define our educational model, schools commit to a set of four core beliefs and share successful practices with other schools around these core beliefs. The Graduate Support Program has been developed over many years not as a mandate that was prescribed from a national office but through on-going discussion and learning by networked Graduate Support Directors. Similarly, our schools continue to learn how to operate and thrive as a private, faith-based school with a non-tuition-driven financial model and look to one another for guidance and support. As testament to sharing that learning, many of our schools have been operating for 15+ and 20+ years.
Within this structure, schools are able to maximize local growth and national learning. This networking and exchange of ideas is only helpful if we know that we are learning from and building on academic achievement and excellence in formation. As a Coalition of schools, we need to know where we are excelling and then equip our schools with the necessary tools and knowledge to improve on our mission to break the cycle of poverty through faith-based education for each student and family in our community.