Schools seek Straight A Grant for Lean Six Sigma training
The Dublin City School District is hoping for a piece of a $250 million pie.
The district last week filed intent to apply for a Straight A Grant, a two-year state initiative that seeks to fund innovative, sustainable ideas from educators with $100 million in grants in 2014 and $150 million in 2015.
To receive funding, the idea must improve student achievement, reduce operating costs and/or send more money to classrooms.
Dublin City School District Superintendent Todd Hoadley said his idea will achieve all three.
Through partnerships with the Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business and Cardinal Health, Hoadley wants to bring the Lean Six Sigma managerial practices to the business side of the district.
"It has roots in manufacturing," Hoadley said.
"You can study anything to make it more efficient," he said, adding it could be applied to departments such as transportation, food services, custodial, maintenance and secretarial.
"If we reduce costs on the business side, we can take the savings and push them into the classroom."
Hoadley said he hopes, over time, to save enough money to offer new classes at the high school level and at the elementary level provide math and literacy coaches.
Hoadley obtained a master's degree from the Fisher College of Business and used his contacts there to forge a partnership for the project.
District business staff will get education there and additional training will come from Cardinal Health, which has several Lean Six Sigma members in the offices across the street from Coffman High School.
Once training is done, Hoadley is hoping to see ideas and projects come from staff on how to make the district more efficient and save money.
The Lean Six Sigma training could eventually be passed on to teachers, Hoadley said.
"I'd love to do this on the education side," he said.
"Right now we don't have the capacity. The teachers have so much on their plates right now ... . I want to be mindful of not stretching them too thin."
The trainings of Lean Six Sigma could even be spread to students, Hoadley said.
"Having a continuous improvement mindset would be good for Dublin graduates," he said.
Employees at Hoadley's previous district learned Lean Six Sigma skills and results were clear.
"We had success in moving the needle in a couple areas: (No.) One, we saved money," he said, adding that when a new building was opened no additional custodial staff was needed because of more efficient cleaning habits found through Lean Six Sigma.
Hoadley said even though Dublin is larger than his previous district, he is confident he'll see similar results here.
"I've seen it in action," he said. "I know in my bones it will work."
The application is due Oct. 25 and Hoadley plans to ask for a $750,000 grant.
"I'm hopeful to be able to get a critical mass of Dublin employees into the program," he said.
"We'll take them through the year-long program with the focus of building capacity in this school system to have knowledge of Lean Six Sigma."
Once a few employees master the higher levels of the program, they can train others, Hoadley said.
If the district does not get a grant to fund Lean Six Sigma training, it will still go on, but at a slower pace.
"Our work with Cardinal Health and OSU would continue, but we wouldn't be able to go at the same pace," Hoadley said.
"The Straight A Fund would get us cooking with gas. Otherwise we would be rubbing sticks together."
A nine-person board is expected to award the grants in December.