February  2003

Vol. 5, No. 2


Tennessee Quality Award:
Cherokee High School recognized for Baldrige efforts

When the prestigious Tennessee Quality Awards are presented at the annual awards banquet on February 24, Cherokee High School will be recognized as the only high school in Tennessee ever to meet the criteria for recognition at the advanced Commitment Level. Consultant and PQ Systems friend Hank Somers launched the school's quality initiative two years ago, and CHS has benefited from training led by PQ Systems consultant Sally Duncan.

CHS was eligible for consideration for the award because of the progress it has made in the Tennessee Quality Award program based on Baldrige National Quality Award criteria. The Kingsport (TN) Times-News indicated that the school was one of 20 schools in Tennessee invited to enter the program for the 2001-2002 school year, based on previous low testing scores or high dropout rates.

Grant funding was based on the school’s pursuit of Baldrige Criteria in its improvement efforts. According to Hank Somers, “Use of the Baldrige Criteria at Cherokee High School has provided the structure and focus for the numerous improvements at the school, including academics. The assistant principal and leader of the Baldrige steering team says that the school was very reluctant to initially get involved in the Baldrige effort, but this is now the best thing that ever happened at Cherokee High School.”

Duncan trained the entire high school, including the principal, two assistant principals, teachers, and staff members. After Process and Tools training, participants were grouped in content areas with respect to the test areas that students are expected to master, aligning course requirements to potential questions. Other district administrators, including some from the central office, also attended. To enhance participants' understanding of charting, Matt Savage (PQ Systems trainer and technical support coordinator) led them through the use of CHARTrunner software.

"The school utilized several different training opportunities," Duncan points out. "They really tried to use the funding they secured from grant sources in order to maximize their learning. PQ Systems is pleased to have been a part of the success that Cherokee High School has achieved.


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