Cross-Functional Team Report
University of Phoenix
April 24, 2003
Instructor: Vernon Thacker
Spectrum Academy Cross-Functional Team Report
Spectrum Academy’s strategic plan denotes three specific areas of within the school’s management matrix. These areas include Education, Commerce, and Community. The Education Group facilitator shares the vision and has an in-depth understanding of educational systems, including effective school administration, exemplary exceptional student services, outstanding curricula and faculty development, rapport-building student promotion and retention, and innovative information technology systems. The Commerce Group facilitator also shares the vision has an equally in-depth understanding of State and Federal laws and regulations, creating collaborative alliances, supply chain integration, sales and marketing, and information technology. The Community Group facilitator shares the vision as well and has a mastery of marketing school programs, adult education programs, grant research and writing, after-school program development, and information technology. The Project Manager holds the vision and has an understanding and mastery of strategic planning, educational and organizational development, business administration, and information systems integration.
“organization performance is in most cases a result of the effectiveness of the cross-functional processes (the horizontal system). Therefore, the goal of most reorganizations should be to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the horizontal organization. This suggests that reorganization should follow a two-step process:
1. Analyze and redesign the horizontal system—the critical cross-functional processes—so that it will meet customer requirements and organization goals.
2. Redraw the organization boundaries (redesign the reporting relation-ships) to support the effectiveness and efficiency of the horizontal system.” (Systems Thinking, p. 573)
Due to the nature of the project it is imperative that facilitators in each major area of focus are continually updated and aware of the progress. Best practices in pro-active management include up-to-the-minute reporting in order to anticipate and resolve problems before they have a chance to impede progress of the project. Along with the items mentioned above we will be including e-room, net-meetings, and video-conferencing via the Internet. Technology use will be an asset of the curriculum and functioning of the school. Demonstrating its use in the development of the project is a key feature of the process and stakeholder training.
The Education area is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school, including administration, curricula development and implementation, and staff training and development.
Administration: “Education administrators set educational standards and goals, and establish the policies and procedures to carry them out. They also supervise managers, support staff, teachers, counselors, librarians, coaches, and others. They develop academic programs; monitor students' educational progress; train and motivate teachers and other staff; manage guidance and other student services; administer recordkeeping; prepare budgets; handle relations with parents, prospective and current students, employers, and the community; and perform many other duties.” (Handbook, 2002-3)
In large districts, the administration functions are performed by many people such as the principal and vice-principal of a school, a district superintendent and assistant superintendents, deans, directors of admissions, and registrars. However, in a charter school which is usually much smaller than a district school, the administrators wear multiple hats and it is difficult to determine which label to assign. This paper will examine the functions of a traditional principal with the understanding that the principal in the charter school may also be considered the superintendent of the charter “district”, and may be called a director of the school. In addition, the Instructional Coordinator (Curriculum Specialist) function will be examined, which also may serve as the person in charge of teacher training.
Principals: “They set the academic tone and hire, evaluate, and help improve the skills of teachers and other staff. Principals confer with staff to advise, explain, or answer procedural questions. They visit classrooms, observe teaching methods, review instructional objectives, and examine learning materials. They actively work with teachers to develop and maintain high curriculum standards, develop mission statements, and set performance goals and objectives. Principals must use clear, objective guidelines for teacher appraisals, because pay often is based on performance ratings.” (Handbook, 2002-3)
Curriculum and Training
“Instructional coordinators, also known as curriculum specialists, staff development specialists or directors of instructional material, play a large role in improving the quality of education in the classroom. They develop instructional materials, train teachers, and assess educational programs in terms of quality and adherence to regulations and standards. They also assist in implementing new technology in the classroom. Instructional coordinators often specialize in specific subjects, such as language arts, mathematics, social studies, gifted and talented, or English as a Second Language.
Instructional coordinators evaluate how well a school's curriculum meets students' needs. They research teaching methods and techniques and develop procedures to determine whether program goals are being met. To aid in their evaluation, they may meet with members of educational committees and advisory groups to learn about subjects—English, history, or mathematics, for example—and to relate curriculum materials to these subjects, to students' needs, and to occupations for which these subjects are good preparation. They also may develop questionnaires and interview school staff about the curriculum. Based on their research and observations of instructional practice, they recommend instruction and curriculum improvements.
Another duty instructional coordinators have is to review textbooks, software, and other educational materials and make recommendations on purchases. They monitor materials ordered and the ways in which teachers use them in the classroom. They also supervise workers who catalogue, distribute, and maintain a school's educational materials and equipment.
Training: Many instructional coordinators plan and provide onsite education for teachers and administrators. They may train teachers about the use of materials and equipment or help them to improve their skills. Instructional coordinators also mentor new teachers and train experienced ones in the latest instructional methods. This role becomes especially important when a school district introduces new content, program innovations, or different organizational structure. For example, when a State or school district introduces standards or tests that must be met by students in order to pass to the next grade, instructional coordinators often must advise teachers on the content of the standards and provide instruction on implementing the standards in the classroom.” (Handbook, 2002-3)
One of the complaints heard from businesses is the lack of personal skills that today’s high school and for that matter college graduates possess. As a holistic approach school, we are looking to help students obtain not only the educational assets, but also the emotional and personal skills needed to work in the ever changing employment realm. To achieve this vision, Spectrum Academy has a Commerce Group that oversees the areas of State Fulfillment, Business Partnerships and Product Development. The Commerce Group facilitator also shares the vision, creating collaborative alliances, supply chain integration, sales and marketing, and information technology. These three departments work independently to obtain their individual objectives, but also work with one another in a cross-functional team to further expand the opportunities for the students and the school
The State Fulfillment department works with different state agencies to ensure the maximum funding offered to Spectrum. The state funds Charter Schools based on different criteria, and it is the duty of this specific department to investigate methods and programs that can increase state funding. For example, the school will receive additional funding for offering specific accelerated programs. This group also coordinates with the local community colleges different program offerings at the collegiate level, to enhance the education and marketability of the students.
The Business Partnership division is responsible for building bridges with the local merchants and corporations. This has a two fold benefit to the Academy. First, by speaking directly businesses, the school can validate the needs and desires of the local economy in aspect to hiring and mentoring students. This relationship is key to establish a consist dialogue between the business community and the school. The second advantage is additional awareness in the business community of working with Spectrum and the win/win situation that can be accomplished utilizing various relationships to enhance both the education and the community.
The Product Development department is actually works in combination with the other two divisions. This group works in the domain of offering new products and methods that satisfy not only the student needs, but also the requirements of the state board of education and the opportunities afforded by our local business relationships. This entity is not just concerned with what is in black and white, but also investigates new unique educational methods that have a potential impact on the learning environment. It is here that we see the cross functioning of the different departments under the Commerce Group umbrella.
Departmental employees work together to accomplish the mission of its specific area. With weekly department meetings, everyone has input and communication about their individual projects. From that point, the managers of each department get together for a Commerce Group division meeting. It is here that we combine the views from the business, scholastic and state partners to review and brainstorm. It is imperative that each department work together to traverse the chasms of the education arena and concentrate on how they can improve the offerings and programs of the school. Often the needs of a community differ from town to town. Spectrum Academy plans to embrace the differences and work across the board to ensure a well rounded student that can immediately contribute to their community.
Community relations are one of the most difficult areas of development for schools. The areas of concern are grouped into three main departments – Outreach, After School, and Adult Education. Within each one of these areas are teams comprised of grant researchers and writers, community liaisons, project managers, at-risk youth program specialists, and information technology specialists. The holistic philosophy embraced by the leadership team naturally leads to cross-functional team development within the Community Group.
The Outreach Department is responsible for developing parent and community involvement with Spectrum Academy’s various programs. After the determination of which programs are to be sought out, which happens at an organizational level, the research team begins their exploration of potential grant sources, private donations, and state and federal programs. Researchers look for specific areas, yet there will no doubt be some resources located that fit other areas of need. The community liaisons are constantly engaging community leaders, local businesses, social service organizations, at-risk youth programs, and other schools that may offer contacts to resources that benefit the community outreach program.
The After School project manager leads a group of dedicated parents, program specialists, and youth coordinators, as well as grant writers and IT professionals. Parental involvement in programs is critical to the mission of Spectrum Academy. Seeking to serve the needs of our youth, the team will no doubt need to maintain a certain amount of flexibility in the design and implementation of programs, their assessment, and removal of disconnects.
The Adult Education project manager is responsible for leadership of a similar group of people, with grant writers, adult education specialists, information technologists, and community liaisons that help determine the needs of the local community and offer feedback to the design team for inclusion of programs into the product mix of Spectrum Academy’s ongoing adult education program.
Spectrum Academy’s mission statement and vision incorporate producing well-rounded students that are not only tested and prepared for college, but have also developed critical thinking skills and emotional intelligence by the time they graduate high school. While the concepts themselves are not new, incorporating this type of learning in a High School seems to buck the trend of memorization and standardized testing. To accomplish this goal, the school is looking at the state, community and local businesses for input, cooperation and direction. To accomplish this, the school has three different distinct departments that concentrate on their area of expertise. These teams are then encouraged to share with the other departments to develop a program that is not only well rounded, but congruent with the needs of higher education, society and the business community. Aligning the departments with one another and cultivating a sense of sharing and communicating, Spectrum Academy will indeed be an example of the future of K-12 education.
University of Phoenix, SYSTEMS THINKING & PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT, Copyright 2002 © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2002-03 Edition, Instructional Coordinators, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos269.htm (visited April 21, 2003).