Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Greenville County Schools Recommended for National Re-AccreditationGreenville County Schools officials learned this afternoon that the school system and all of its schools will be recommended for re-accreditation for another five years by the AdvancED (Advancing Excellence in Education) Accreditation Commission. The recommendation from the external review team will be acted on later by the AdvancED Commission.

The school system and its schools were originally accredited by AdvancED in 2008. Prior to district-wide accreditation, schools had been individually accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) which later merged with other agencies to form AdvancED.

“Re-accreditation by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission provides national recognition of our high quality teachers, staff, schools, and school system, and our continuing commitment to meet the needs of our almost 73,000 students,” said Superintendent W. Burke Royster. “The quality assessment by the external review team provides us with information based on national quality standards so we can continue to advance educational offerings and support services for the benefit of our students and community.”

School Board Chairman Chuck Saylors added, “The re-accreditation process provides clear evidence of our focus on students, which is reflected in our strategic education plan, budget process, school construction and maintenance plans, and other improvement efforts. We believe the AdvancED re-accreditation process will assist us in continuing to grow our services and support for student success.”

The re-accreditation process included review of five standards: Standard 1 – Purpose and Direction, Standard 2 – Governance and Leadership, Standard 3 – Teaching and Assessing for Learning, Standard 4 – Resources and Support Systems, and Standard 5 – Using Results for Continuous Improvement. Standards were evaluated based on meeting high quality standards, implementing a continuous process of improvement, and engaging in quality assurance through internal and external review.

In presenting the exit report, Dr. Edlow Barker, chairman of the AdvancED external review team noted, “The school district is doing an excellent job for its community and students,” and outlined several Powerful Practices and Opportunities for Improvement.

Powerful Practices

  • The district has developed a comprehensive professional development plan for all staff members that aligns and supports their purpose and direction.
  • Leadership and staff at all levels foster a culture consistent with the system’s purpose and direction by aligning their decisions and actions toward continuous improvement.

Opportunities for Improvement

  • Define expectations for system-wide family engagement strategies and expand efforts to involve greater numbers and a more diverse strata of parents in activities that support student success, growth, and achievement.
  • Create a comprehensive data warehouse that houses all available data in one system and is accessible to appropriate personnel.
    Dr. Barker also noted two recommendations, referred to as Required Actions, “for a great school district to become an even greater school district.”
  • Develop, implement, and regularly assess a plan that provides each student access to one adult advocate in the student’s school who supports that student’s educational experience over time.
  • Revise and implement the district-wide technology plan to ensure equity for all students in all schools and the development of a robust system-wide infrastructure.

The assessment process began last school year when the district conducted a thorough internal review using the AdvancED Standards for Quality School Systems as a framework. A cross-section of representatives from across the district, schools, and community were involved.

The external review team of 19 educators reviewed district documents and performance data, interviewed district, school, and community stakeholders, visited schools, and observed district and school practices.

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