SACS Accreditation Preparations
Dr. Becky Terry
Director of School Management/Gifted, SACS Coordinator To provide regional recognition of the educational quality of our School District, Grenada School District (GSD) has begun preparation for its 5 year Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Accreditation update. SACS Accreditation, a voluntary process for establishing educational excellence, defines the credibility and performance of our District. SACS Accreditation pronounces the quality of our Districts’ education and provides substantiation of our processes for potential residents, businesses, and industries. SACS Accreditation sets our District apart as adhering to standards of educational excellence.
In the past, GSD had been involved in individual schoolaccreditation through SACS. Because of the rigor and relevance involved in “District” Accreditation and because we, as a district, believe in the AdvancED philosophy of “unifying school improvement and aligning that improvement with overall district improvement”, GSD has chosen to be a part of the “District” Accreditation process. Advance Education (AdvancED) is the parent organization for the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).
According to the AdvancED website (http://www.advanc-ed.org/districts), “Accreditation is a voluntary method of quality assurance developed more than 100 years ago by American universities and secondary schools, and designed primarily to distinguish schools adhering to a set of educational standards. The accreditation process is also known in terms of its ability to effectively drive student performance and continuous improvement in education.”
SACS Coordinator Dr. Becky Terry states, “While accreditation is a set of rigorous protocols and research-based processes for evaluating an institution’s organizational effectiveness, it is far more than that. Today accreditation examines the whole institution—the programs, the cultural context, the community of stakeholders—to determine how well the parts work together to meet the needs of students.”
For The Grenada School District, accreditation is both a significant achievement pronouncing an institution’s quality of education, as well as a remarkably enriching process for our institution. We recognize the tremendous competitive and performance gains accreditation affords. During the accreditation process our district will see the untapped transformative power accreditation offers which will in turn allow us to build our capacity to improve student learning and make continuous school improvement a distinctive reality.
Engaging our district in AdvanED accreditation will:
• Allow our District to unite with a global network committed to standards of educational excellence.
• Earn our district the distinction of quality through the recognized seal of AdvancED accreditation.
• Experience a unified, clear, and powerful accreditation process with a scalable and sustainable evaluation of education quality.
• Receive external and objective validation of the areas in which we are doing well, and the areas for continuous improvement.
• Benefit from AdvancED research that shapes educational policy and improves learning practices.
• Experience a state-of-the-art web-based accreditation system that is continuously being upgraded and improved.
• Hear the best available ideas and thinking on education practices and trends through innovative products, educational technologies, and the collective knowledge of peers.
• Benefit from shared expertise and powerful professional learning through local and global workshops, training, conferences, and personalized service.
Students and their parents will:
• Experience ease in transferring credits from one school to another.
• Gain greater access to federal loans, scholarships, postsecondary education, and military programs that require students attend an accredited institution.
• Benefit from our District’s commitment to raising student performance and accountability.
The Grenada School District’s AdvancED (SACS) accreditation process will begin February 5th and conclude February 8th, 2012. A team of five educators (two of which will be out of state) will visit our District during those days. Interviews with the school board, superintendent, administrative team, principals, teachers, students, and community members, along with school and classroom visits, will take place. Each of our schools has Leadership Teams that will be instrumental during this process.
Dr. Terry extends a special “Thank You” in advance to the members of these teams and the work they are processing for this extremely important initiative.