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2013-14 News Releases


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For Immediate Release:
June 4, 2014
For more information, contact the Dept. of School and Community Relations at 703-228-6004 www.apsva.us
 Arlington Public Schools Receives Prestigious SPQA Medallion of Excellence
APS First Virginia School Division in Nearly a Decade to Earn the Award
Since Inception in 1983, Only Nine Virginia School Divisions Have Received SPQA Medallion
SPQA Award
APS Recognized as 2014 SPQA-Virginia Medallion of Excellence Winner
Arlington Public Schools (APS) is the recipient of the prestigious Medallion of Excellence Award presented by the U.S. Senate Productivity and Quality Awards for Virginia and the District of Columbia (SPQA). The Medallion Award is SPQA’s highest award level for performance excellence. Since the award was established in 1983, APS is only the ninth school division in Virginia to receive it and the first school division in nearly a decade to be recognized.

Terrance Burns, Executive Director of the Virginia SPQA wrote, “We salute your organization for having the confidence and courage to apply to the SPQA awards program and on being one of a very select few to receive the Medallion of Excellence Award.”

Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy said, “This achievement represents the outstanding work that is being accomplished throughout APS every day. I want to thank our leadership team including principals, teachers and instructional leaders for their commitment and enthusiasm that has led to this level of achievement. We continue to focus on making continuous progress and this award clearly demonstrates our commitment to ensure that we grow our instructional program to better serve our community of learners.”

School Board Chair Abby Raphael also acknowledged the significance of this award, stating that, “The School Board is extremely proud that APS has earned this honor, which recognizes leadership, continuous improvement, customer focus and results. It exemplifies the extraordinary dedication and performance of our teachers, staff and Superintendent, who ensure that our students make strides, large and small, at school every day. Arlington Public Schools will officially receive the award at a ceremony held during the 33rd annual Virginia Forum for Excellence on September 16, 2014 in Richmond. Additional information on this year’s award recipients and the Virginia Forum for Excellence are available on the SPQA website, www.spqa-va.org.
Having earned the SPQA state recognition, APS can now apply for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which is the highest level of national recognition for performance excellence that a U.S. organization can receive. The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, also known as the Baldrige Award, recognizes U.S. organizations in the business, health care, education, and nonprofit sectors for performance excellence. APS plans to pursue this recognition over the next two years.

About the SPQA Award:
SPQA’s mission is to promote continual improvement strategies, and to provide training, mentoring and recognition to organizations in pursuit of performance excellence. Virginia’s SPQA award was established in 1983 and aligned to the criteria for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award when it was established four years later.

SPQA award applicants undergo a rigorous examination by an independent board of examiners in seven areas (defined by the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence): leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement analysis & knowledge management; workforce focus; operations focus; and performance results. The evaluation process includes approximately 1,000 hours of review and on-site visits by a team of SPQA examiners. Award recipients are selected by an independent panel of judges based on the criteria established for each award level.

About the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award:
The Baldrige Award is a formal recognition of performance excellence of both public and private U.S. organizations exclusively given by the President of the United States. It was named in honor of Malcolm Baldrige Jr., who served as the United States Secretary of Commerce from 1980 until his death in 1987. Baldrige was a strong proponent of quality management in organizations. He helped draft an early version of legislation that became the Quality Improvement Act of 1987 and established the National Quality Award. In recognition of his contributions, Congress named the annual award for product quality in his honor.

To receive a Baldrige Award, an organization must have a role-model organizational management system that ensures continuous improvement in delivering products and/or services, demonstrates efficient and effective operations, and provides a way of engaging and responding to customers and other stakeholders. Established in 1987, the Award has been presented to 95 organizations in six categories - manufacturing, service, small business, education, health care, and nonprofit sectors. To date, only seven public school divisions have earned this national distinction in the education sector.

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Last Modified on June 5, 2014