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Oklahoma School District Is 1,000th Award Applicant

Gaithersburg, Md.—Jenks School District, Jenks, Okla., is the 1,000th applicant for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Managed by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in conjunction with the private sector, the award is the nation's highest Presidential award for organizational performance excellence.

"I am very pleased that our 1,000th applicant represents the nation's education system," said Harry Hertz, director of NIST's Baldrige National Quality Program. "The future competitiveness of U.S. business is dependent upon a highly educated work force, and schools using the Baldrige criteria are demonstrating significant continuous improvement in educational outcomes."

"Jenks Public Schools began its quality journey 10 years ago. It was a natural outgrowth of our progress to complete and submit an application for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award," said Kirby A. Lehman, superintendent of Jenks Public Schools. He added, "The process verified our progress and helped us develop and implement additional processes for continuous improvement. "

In addition to Jenks School District, 63 other organizations submitted applications for the 2005 Baldrige Award. The application is a detailed description of challenges, processes, improvements and accomplishments in seven categories: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; human resource focus; process management; and results.

Over the next six months, teams of specially trained examiners will evaluate these 64 organizations to determine which will receive the 2005 Baldrige Award. All organizations that apply receive between 300 to 1,000 hours of review and an extensive feedback report highlighting strengths and areas to improve. In the fall, high-scoring applicants will be visited by teams of examiners.

Winners of the 2005 award are expected to be announced in November by President Bush and Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez after the award's judges make their recommendations.

While relatively few organizations apply for the Baldrige Award, thousands more use the Baldrige performance excellence criteria as a tool to assess their performance. Annually, more than 700,000 copies of the criteria are downloaded from the Baldrige program's Web site and more than 50,000 copies are mailed.

Named after the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. businesses. The award promotes excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the quality and performance achievements of U.S. organizations, and publicizes successful performance strategies. The award is not given for specific products or services.

Since 1988, 59 organizations have received the Baldrige Award. They include 24 large manufacturers, 12 service companies, 14 small businesses, five education organizations and four health care providers.

As a non-regulatory agency of the Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST develops and promotes measurement, standards and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade and improve the quality of life.

For more information on the Baldrige National Quality Award, go to

Note to editors: For more information on Jenks School District, contact Dana Ezell, Director of Communications, Jenks Public Schools, (918) 299-4415 ext. 2211, dana.ezell [at] (dana[dot]ezell[at]jenksps[dot]org). Typically, NIST does not disclose the identity of Baldrige Award applicants. Jenks School District agreed to be named.

Released June 15, 2005, Updated January 23, 2023