“We're already good, and we want to be great.”

That was the challenge laid down by School of the Osage Superintendent Brent Depeť as he outlined a school improvement plan at the regular board of education meeting Monday, Dec. 17.

"We're already good, and we want to be great."

That was the challenge laid down by School of the Osage Superintendent Brent Depeé as he outlined a school improvement plan at the regular board of education meeting Monday, Dec. 17.

The district is in the midst of re-evaluating its educational and assessment process, including revising its Mission and Vision statements a few months ago. The next step, Depeé said, is to analyze the district.

The Excellence in Missouri Foundation has been invited into the district to aid School of the Osage in their quest for excellence. A major aspect of the foundation is the Baldridge Model in Education.

Based on the Baldridge Model in Education, the School of the Osage plan focuses on six key factors:

1. Leadership: senior leaders' personal action guide and sustain of organization.

2. Strategic Planning: developing strategic objectives and action plans

3. Customer Focus: building a customer-focused culture

4. Measurement, analysis, and knowledge management: reviewing and using reviews to improve performance

5. Workforce Focus: engaging, managing and developing workforce.

6. Operations Focus: designing, managing, improving key processes and readiness for emergencies.

"We know that we will be doing things differently (all organizations go through change)," he explained, "and we want to make sure that what we are doing and the things that we decide to change are done the right way and that all stakeholders (or the appropriate stakeholders) have the opportunity to be heard and provide input."

As the school leader, Depeé said there are two things that drive the decisions that he makes for the district:

1. What we do ― does is it have a systematic approach?

2. What we do ― is it sustainable?

After the self-assessment, Depeé hopes to begin the strategic planning process late next spring.

"For us to 'Raise Excellence the Osage Way,' we must identify what 'the Osage Way' is to look like," Depeé said. "Once that has been determined and the necessary steps identified, we must make sure this approach is systematic and sustainable. I have no doubt that we are headed in the right direction, but we have a long way to go!"

Show Me Challenge

The Show Me Challenge is often the first step in an organization's journey toward performance excellence through the Missouri Excellence in Education Foundation.

The Challenge is an entry-level organizational assessment that provides a simple way to determine organizational strengths and steps to enhance the focus on customers and performance improvement.

The Show Me Challenge is a guided self-assessment tool, whereas the Missouri Quality Award process is an assessment by a team of professionals outside of an organization. An assessment, unlike an audit, is a comprehensive and integrated tool that recognizes the strengths as well as opportunities for improvement within an organization.

The Criteria consist of seven major categories that address all major systems comprising any organization.

The Show Me Challenge simplifies the seven Categories in order to create a more general, yet highly effective assessment tool that can be used to baseline your organization's performance levels and embark on improvement efforts.

Other business

•The board appointed Dr. Mary Ann Graham, assistant superintendent, as interim board secretary in the absence of Kathy Maher who is absent for several weeks for health reasons.

•The board agreed to allow use of the Heritage Building small gymnasium during Eagle Days in January for an "Owls of Missouri" display from the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield.

•The board heard an update on the health escrow which has struggled the last few years. The balance in the self-insured health insurance fund is $457,462, which is $70,000 more than a year ago. However, the board voted several months ago to subsidize the fund with $500,000.