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Story posted February 23, 2011
In August, 2009, the Aldine ISD transportation department, under the leadership of Richard Delgado, executive director, and Alfred DeBose, assistant director, decided to work towards “producing the nation’s best” by reducing bus accidents, thus providing safer travel, reducing costs, and building stakeholder confi dence. The department set the goal of improving the current school bus accident prevention process, by developing a well defined and comprehensive fleet safety program and an accident review board through Process and Performance Management (PPM) in partnership with the American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC).
The first step was to establish a timeline for project implementation and begin to gather data that established root causes for the accident rate as of the date of the project. The team discovered that the data on accident causes was not being fed back into the Driver Academy, so a process was designed to insure that future accident data would be used to inform and improve driver training. As a result of data gathered, an accident rubric was developed for use by the district Accident Review Board, so rigorous standards and a uniform approach to documentation of driver performance could be used in personnel and department evaluations.
After rigorous, collaborative work gathering information in a Process and Performance Management framework, the department developed an improvement implementation plan that included gathering and providing accident data to the training academy; increased monitoring of pre-trip vehicle inspections; additional safety meetings with department personnel; and implementation of standardized training for all drivers.
To insure ongoing excellence in transportation department operations, department leadership identified and established team leaders; developed goals and expectations for areas of concern; developed tools to evaluate effectiveness of processes; and developed maps for all processes.
The results of this work have been exceptional and include
• Increased efficiency in staff operations
• Improved and standardized driver training
• Fewer students delivered late to class, so instructional time saved
• Fewer buses out of service
• No buses lost due to accidents
• Reduction in at fault accidents as follows:
The accident reduction project in 2009-2010 represents a cost savings/cost avoidance of $104,000. Additionally, as buses are tied up in accident investigations, student are also detained and not in school (lost instructional hours). Although the data was not available for the exact number of hours that may have been lost in previous years, with an average of 1 hour lost per student, that number could have easily been several hundred lost instructional hours. As the team improved the process, they also improved their data collection and measurement systems which will help in tracking lost instructional hours going forward. Note: the savings mentioned above does not account for the avoidance of costs or risks associated with buses that could be potentially lost due to an accident, increases in insurance or medical costs, or potential increases in legal liability. The team sustains the gains and continues to improve transportation processes on an ongoing basis utilizing the skills they learned in the PPM workshop.
Although this case study focuses mainly on the transportation project at Aldine, it is important to note that using aligned systematic processes and data systems (PPM) throughout the district, has allowed them to cut 25% (~$29M) of the operational budget and about $49M in total cuts district wide over the last two years. “Steady and ongoing planning is key when looking at how informed cuts affect district programs and impact student achievement”, said Janet Ray, Director of Strategic Planning, at the recent Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Midwinter Conference.
This story was originally featured as an APQC Education North Star Case Study on February 17, 2011. For more information on APQC, visit www.apqceducation.org.
Story reposted with permission.
Copyright (2011) American Productivity & Quality Center Education.