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School system earns reaccreditation

Published 9:33am Thursday, March 7, 2013

Elmore County School System officials received the news they were hoping for last Wednesday. At a special called meeting, rep­resentatives of AdvancEd told a gathering of board members, principals, teachers and others that they would recommend the system’s reaccreditation as a quality school district.
“I am just so grateful for the Elmore County schools family,” said Dr. Jeff Langham, superintendent. “Of the many things I’m excited about in this report is our self-validation – to know we have no blind spots and are aware of both our areas of strength and those that need improvement. This has been an enormously valuable process.”
And the process was a lengthy one. The system spent 18 months working on an internal review to as part of the reaccreditation process. AdvancEd representatives conducted interviews with various system employees, made site visits to campuses across the county and reviewed the system’s reports and documentation over a three-day period.
The culmination of those efforts was the preliminary report presented last week.
“Our impressions were all very positive,” said Dr. George Griffin, lead evaluator of the review team.
“Among the notable practices we found was that district leadership and staff act with a targeted focus on teaching and learning. Curriculum, instruction and assessments are monitored and adjusted systematically. Teachers, support staff and all personnel are committed to the lifetime learning and success of all students.”
He explained that review team members made independent evaluations and those were combined for the overall “scores” for the system.
In “learning environment” criteria, the system scored a high of 3.2 for well-managed learning through a 2.1 for digital learning.
Griffin said the digital learning score was a good one.
“This (digital learning score) is actually higher than anywhere else I’ve been,” he said. “The score reflects students using technology when we happen to be in the classroom, not the quality of the technology itself.”
The review committee offered only one required action – to develop/devise, implement and monitor a repertoire of instructional strategies that are student-centered in content and age-appropriate. The district will be expected to submit a follow-up report in two years describing its response and self-evaluation of progress.
The local portion of the reaccreditation process was led by Jennie Barrett, who served as the district’s internal facilitator in charge of preparing for the review team.
“I’ve been waiting for this day for nearly two years,” said Barrett. “I just appreciate all of the system’s employees and their willingness to help. Everybody I asked for something came through and was there to do whatever was needed.”
The final report from AdvancEd will be delivered to the system in about 30 business days, Griffin said. The system first received district accreditation in 2008 and reaccreditation is scheduled every five years.
AdvancEd works with 30,000 public and private schools in the United States and 70 countries around the world.

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