Emerson School Wins State Baldrige Honor

Emerson Parkside Academy Charter School is the first school of its kind to win the statewide Eureka Award for Performance Excellence. The award is the top honor given by the California Council for Excellence, recognizing leading businesses and organizations for using Baldrige continuous improvement strategies. Emerson is the first charter elementary school in the state to win the honor.

The Excellence Council is urging Emerson to apply for the Baldrige National Quality Award. The Baldrige effort is named for Malcolm Baldrige, U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 1981 to 1987. He developed quality improvement strategies and criteria used by the nation’s leading corporations.

"We’re excited about the recommendation to apply for the national award," said Cindy Young, Emerson principal. "The fact that someone recognizes what our teachers and staff are doing is great. We’ve come a long way."

Emerson was one of 17 organizations recognized with the performance awards, including Boeing’s Air Force Systems Division. The school completed a 60-page application. Trained examiners from the Excellence Council conducted interviews during a two-day school visit.

Winners demonstrated "superior performance in leadership, customer focus, strategic planning, human resources and business results," according to the council.

Five years ago, Emerson was a traditional elementary school in the Long Beach Unified School District. It converted to a charter campus under Principal Cindy Young’s guidance and has seen steady improvements in student achievement. Charter schools are publicly funded, independent schools that are free from some of the state’s education regulations.

The non-profit Excellence Council helps private and public-sector organizations achieve world-class results through Baldrige principles. Baldrige provides a systematic process used by some of the top businesses in the nation. It is based on leadership, strategic planning, stakeholder focus, measurement and analysis, staff focus, process management and results.

Prior to winning this year’s top honor, Emerson last year won the Excellence Council’s California Prospector Award, the organization’s second highest honor for effective implementation of Baldrige principles.

This year’s honorees will be recognized Friday, April 7 at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine.