As responsible school business officials, we know how important it is to be completely certain that our district operations are well managed. To do so we must constantly ask ourselves questions such as: “How are we doing? How do we compare with others? Are we making progress fast enough? Are we using the best practices?”

That’s where these three things come into play:

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
  • Benchmarking
  • Best Practices

These disciplines form a critical skill set which are important to use as a regular part of our management routine. Their practice ensures that we provide high quality services to our students.

A KPI is simply defined as a measure of performance: “How many runs does Bus 100 do each day?”

Analyzing KPIs allows us to establish a Benchmark: “For the 12-13 school year, our busses averaged 3.9 runs per day each.”

A Best Practice then allows us to gauge and improve our performance. “Controlling bell times helped us to increase the number of runs per bus and therefore use fewer buses.”

How do we know what needs to be fixed? The three disciplines allow us to identify problem areas in our operations: “Our on-time performance has slipped from 98% compliant to 93% at the Johnson yard.”

How do we know if our corrective actions are working? The three disciplines allow us to measure our progress at correcting identified areas: “My runs per bus went down from last year.” Knowing that the problem exists is the first necessary step before you can learn what caused it and what can you do about it.

How do we know what is going well? Again, the three disciplines allow us to provide a data-driven opinion on the effectiveness of our actions: “Consolidating our bus stops has allowed us to lower our daily bus mileage by 5% compared to last year.”

As a note, I believe that the use of KPIs, Benchmarking and Best Practices is applicable across all areas of K-12 operations. Try turning these sorts of questions on any program in your district and see what happens.

Our daily goal as school business officials is to deliver high-quality programs that support the instructional mission with the greatest possible efficiency. KPIs, Benchmarking and Best Practices allow us to focus our effort on the things that matter most for improving our programs.

One thought on “From KPIs to Benchmarking to Best Practices

  1. Thank you for sharing this article John. The specific trio of disciplines: Key Performance Indicators, Benchmarking and Best Practices, brings to mind a business quote that complements the material – “A well-stated problem is half-solved.”

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