Markets Opinion

School Improvement RFP of the Week

February 19, 2008 5 min read
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Two Examples of the “Consulting Architect” Concept in School Improvement Programs
From the February 18 issue of K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets Report

Announcement One: Oversight Services For Enterprise Resource Planning Implementation, Due February 26 (Feb 11), Miami Dade County Public Schools, Florida

Their Description:

The Miami-Dade County Public Schools District is a $6 billion organization with over 55,000 employees on the payroll. As the fourth largest school district in the country, MDCPS provides educational services to over 350,000 students in Pre-kindergarten through grade 12, and adult programs....

The purpose of this RFP is to... provide operational oversight services reviewing the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation planning, functional and organizational impact and monitor the progress and adherence to original and contractual objectives of the ERP project. The required services will include monitoring and periodic reporting to the District and Board on the status of the ERP project as well as monitoring the delivery of benefits as the project progresses thru Phase-Gate Reviews.

The School Board has entered into a contractual services agreement with SAP Public Services, Inc., for ERP software and Deloitte Consulting LLP, for the ERP systems integration and implementation process. Proposers responding to this RFP cannot be affiliated with the current project, nor can they participate in the “core” project until after completion....

Proposer(s) and/or Subcontractor(s) shall meet these qualification requirements at the time of Proposal submittal:

A. ...conducted SAP implementation Oversight services for a minimum of three (3) years. This would include change, functional, organizational, technical, and project management assessment monitoring and reporting. References shall be provided with proposal identifying the organization, contact name and contact information....

B. ...successfully conducted consulting services for a public agency, preferably a K-12 organization of similar size and complexity, within the last three (3) years....

C. ...prior experience working with large school districts, providing planning or management services....

D. ... proven Project Management Methodology.... [C]ertified Project Management Professional and Business Analysts ITIL certified.

E. ...a prominent office located in South Florida....

F. ...a proven record of implementing operational best practice models...

G. prior experience with Enterprise Resource Planning projects....

H. ...proven track record using and understanding the Balance Scorecard, CoBiT, and ITIL frameworks....

I. ...proven approach to performing Change Management....

J. ...proven approach to Portfolio Management and Project Management Office management.

K. ...SAP implementation experience....

Evaluation consideration will include, but not be limited to:
• Responsiveness of the proposal in clearly stating an understanding of the work to be performed;
• Cost, may not be the dominant factor but will have some significance and will be a particularly important factor when all other evaluation criteria a relatively equal;
• Primary emphasis in the selection process will be placed on background, qualifications, experience and /or expertise in the area of ERP oversight services; and
• Past performance.

Announcement Two: Curriculum Auditing, Due February 26, (Feb 12), Sunnyside Unified School District, Arizona

Their Description:

Sunnyside Unified School District #12 consists of 13 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, and 3 high schools. Enrollment is currently 17,800 students with moderate growth predicted for the next several years.... [T]he complexities of the system and the interrelationships of local schools and operational departments affect the quality of educational program delivery and the overall direction of the system....

This RFP seeks... an audit of the quality of the system’s curriculum management processes. Included in the audit is a review and analysis of the (1) scope and extent of coverage of the school district’s curriculum, programs, and services, (2) documentation of curriculum expectations to guide teachers in content selection, (3) nature and appropriateness of curriculum expectations for learners, (4) how the system assesses performance results and success in its educational programs, (5) scope and quality of board policies and planning for effective governance of the system, (6) connections and relationships among organizational components for consistency and equity of programs of services, and (7) use of resources for maximal productivity.

The audit should investigate two fundamental instructional management questions:

1. Does the system have a properly managed instructional program (curriculum) that is planned, executed, and assessed in accordance with generally accepted appropriate principles and standards?

2. Does the system conform to the standards of quality in instructional organization....

The process follows generally accepted auditing principles.... The detailed report analyzes the district’s programs and policies, diagnoses strengths and weaknesses, and recommends concrete courses of action for the board and superintendent to follow in order to improve and advance quality in their educational organization....

While a Curriculum Management Audit is not a financial audit, it is governed by some of the same principles. These are:

Technical Expertise. Selected auditors must have actual experience in conducting the affairs of a school system at all levels audited....

The Principle of Independence.... None of the auditors presently works in your state, nor do any know the individuals that occupy top or middle management positions....

The Principle of Objectivity.... (The) public data base and subsequent judgments made upon it, must be verifiable and grounded in it. Findings must be factually triangulated.

The Principle of Consistency.... [U]se the same standards and basic methods found in the copyrighted curriculum audit process....

The Principle of Materiality. Auditors have broad implied and discretionary power to focus on... findings which they consider most important to... the curriculum management system....

The Principle of Full Disclosure. Auditors must reveal all relevant information to the users of the audit, except in cases where such disclosure would compromise... identity....

My Thoughts:
There is a market space opening up between education agencies and the providers of teaching and learning products, services and materials.

It’s akin to the role of the consulting architect in construction - a third party whose only stake in the outcome is a reputation for independence and objectivity.

The catch is that you can’t sell what you consult on. This makes the space specifically suited to providers without a prior history “selling into” k-12.

Welcome to the ground floor. ••••

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Education Market

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