All 31 Coweta schools to get another 5-year accreditation

The Coweta County School System is in line to receive its second 5-year accreditation from the Alpharetta-based AdvancEd international accrediting and school improvement agency. An AdvancEd team told the Coweta County School Board last week that they would recommend full accreditation for all 31 schools in the system.

“As a result of our findings, we are able to recommend that the Coweta County school system be accredited at the very highest level” said Dr. Michael Lodico, Lead Evaluator of the eight-person AdvancEd professional team who visited the system this week.

School system spokesperson Dean Jackson said the accreditation recommended last week would apply to all schools in the Coweta County School System from 2011 through 2016. It was the second time that the school system sought system-wide accreditation for its 31 schools, Jackson said. The first time was in 2006, through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). That accreditation expires in 2011, Jackson added.

“The eight-person AdvancED team issued an oral report of its findings at a called meeting of the Board of Education, before principals and other school system officials, at the school system’s Werz Drive Central Office,” said Jackson. “The Coweta County Board of Education, who met in open session to hear the teams’ findings, voted to accept the team's recommendations and thank the AdvancED team for the comprehensive survey.”

Jackson said the report followed three days of visits by the team to review the Coweta school system’s application for reaccreditation, and the school system’s educational processes and practices during a comprehensive system audit.

The accreditation team visited eight schools as a part of the review, including Atkinson, Brooks and Ruth Hill Elementary Schools, Lee and Madras Middle schools, Northgate and East Coweta High Schools, and the system’s charter school, the Central Educational Center.

Jackson said the team also reviewed a comprehensive set of evidence covering data from all Coweta schools and programs, and interviewed 406 stakeholders in the school system including 6 Board of Education members, 135 teachers, 86 students, 49 principals and school administrators, 31 support staff, and 99 parents, community members and business partners as part of the three-day audit of the system.

It is the second system-wide accreditation process pursued by the Coweta school system, after the system’s 2006 accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), said Jackson.

AdvancED was formed in 2006 through the merger of SACS CASI and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) the nation’s two largest national accreditation agencies, into a nation-wide private accreditation entity.

Jackson said the benefits of AdvancED accreditation include:

• Reciprocity of credits, courses, and grade level placements among similarly accredited schools and institutions, easing the transfer of credits from one school to another.

• Greater access for students to federal loans, scholarships, post-secondary education and military programs that require students attend an accredited institution.

• International recognition of quality and assurance of public trust and recognition as an accredited school in an internationally available registry.

• Development of a continuous school improvement process based on comprehensive quality standards, the best policies and practices of the regional accrediting commissions, and regular review of a school by a team of outside professionals.