(TNS) -- The Charter School of San Diego is among four recipients awarded the 2015 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a top presidential honor for performance in the public and private sectors.
Announced Tuesday by U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, the winners were chosen for their “outstanding commitment to sustainable excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership.”
The award recipients were selected from four different sectors. The Charter School of San Diego won in the education category for its ability to help students who despite enrolling “academically behind and at risk of never receiving a high school diploma, 94-98 percent of those enrolled have graduated from the Charter School of San Diego or successfully transitioned back to a traditional public school.”
The Charter School of San Diego opened in 1994 as the city’s first charter, and serves students in grades seven through 12. Founder and CEO Mary Bixby said the award is a credit to the charter’s commitment to innovation.
“We are about transforming lives — especially for students whose academic needs are not being satisfied — and trying to influence public education to improve and change,” Bixby said. “This award is also about the work of our staff. Leadership is a relationship, sometimes I lead and sometimes I follow.”
According to the charter school, it has achieved a student retention rate of 80 percent over the past five years and retained more than 80 percent of its staff over the past six years. The school says its student and parent satisfaction levels have been at nearly 100 percent over five years and during that period audits have shown it operates on sound business principles.
The school is part of the Altus Network of Charter Schools that teaches more than 8,000 students in five counties.
“This year’s Baldrige Award honorees have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to improving their performance in all facets of their organizations, and they have served as role models for others to follow,” Pritzker said in a statement. “As America’s Innovation Agency, the Commerce Department is honored to support innovators and job creators who power our economy and help keep America open for business.”
The other Baldrige winners are: MidwayUSA, based in Columbia, Mo., a second-time winner in the small-business category; Charleston Area Medical Center Health System in West Virginia for health care; and Mid-America Transplant Services in St. Louis, Mo., for the nonprofit category.
The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology manages the award in cooperation with the private sector. An independent board recommended the winners from a pool of 26 entities (which competed a rigorous application process) after evaluating them in leadership; strategy; customers; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce; operations; and results.
©2015 The San Diego Union-Tribune Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.