The Social Sector

Too many priorities? Not enough time?
Spending too much time mitigating risk? Or Chasing Funding?
There is a way to deliver more value for less.

The Social Sector

Too many priorities? Not enough time?
Spending too much time mitigating risk? Or Chasing Funding?
There is a way to deliver more value for less.

Symplicity Designs’ relationship with New Brunswick’s schools goes back to 2013. The province’s seven school districts gathered for a five-day alignment workshop aimed at changing the mindset in the school system from pass/fail to improve. District scolaire francophone Sud became the pilot school district.

Their journey began by hiring a full-time internal Plan-Do-Check-Act specialist for the district. Symplicity helped identify an alignment champion to manage the transformation. We also provided a NOVO Execution course and coaching so that the district could complete multiple improvement projects and develop its internal process improvement capacity. As projects finished and Plan-Do-Check-Act took hold execution in the district accelerated. In one project, a school in a vulnerable area went from 38th to first in reading scores.

The overall results have been impressive. According to the PISA 2015 results (a study of 15-year-olds worldwide), between 2012 and 2015 francophone schools in New Brunswick attained the highest improvement rate in the country, good enough for eighth in the world. District scolaire francophone Sud has seen a 33 percent productivity increase in children’s education over the last 3.5 years.

Our approach was not to show teachers how to teach better but to give teachers more time to teach. In one school, a grade 2 classroom was struggling to find time for students to read. This is critical because grade 2 literacy correlates directly with living a prosperous life. Grade 2 is crucial because up until the end of this grade students are learning to read. After grade 2, students need to be able to read to learn.

This classroom was far from the doors for students to go to and return from recess (measured at 300 steps). This meant that precious minutes were lost getting the students back to the classroom after recess. Winter months were particularly disruptive since the children were all wearing snowsuits and took time to undress. At the end of the day, the teacher had to end class 15 minutes early to ensure students were ready for the bus or their ride home. On some days, this cost the classroom 30 minutes. The first thing the teacher cut out of the day to compensate was reading time. Moving this classroom next to the door gave the teacher 30 minutes of time. It’s amazing how something as simple as minutes reading can have such an impact on the future of our communities and the lives of children.

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