** (To access our SACS Assessment Report and Review Team's Final Report click on the links at the bottom of the page.)
Newton County Schools actively pursued and was awarded District Accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI)!
District administrators, principals, teachers, board members, and community representatives worked together during the system's accreditation process. The accreditation team compiled data and information and spent months assessing itself according to District Accreditation protocol established by SACS CASI and the AdvancED (Advancing Excellence in Education Worldwide).
According to the guidelines set by AdvancED, systems that seek district accreditation must demonstrate the "three pillars of accreditation--high standards, continuous improvement, and quality assurance--to the entire district to ensure alignment and support between and among the district and its schools." After implementing an improvement plan and collecting evidence of meeting the accreditation standards, the district hosted a Quality Assurance Review conducted by SACS CASI on August 24-27, 2008.
District Accreditation is a powerful systems approach to improving student performance results over time, which recognizes that increasing student achievement involves not only improving instruction. It is actually a result of how well all the parts of the education system--the district, school, and classroom--work together to meet the needs of its students.
The Newton County School System was recommended for District Accreditation as a Quality School System by the Review Team and learned in October 2008 that the school system was officially awarded accreditation!
The process the Newton County School System followed in pursuit of District Accreditation is explained below.
The Process for District Accreditation
(Information Source: AdvancED.org)
To earn and maintain District Accreditation from SACS CASI, NCSS must:
- Adhere to the AdvancED Accreditation Standards for Quality School Systems.
- Engage in ongoing self-assessment and continuous improvement.
- Document results of improvement efforts.
- Complete a Standards Assessment Report between six weeks and six months prior to the Quality Assurance Review.
- Host a Quality Assurance Review Team once every five years.
- Act on the Quality Assurance Review Team's recommendations.
- Submit a progress report two years following the Quality Assurance Review.
The AdvancED Accreditation Standards for Quality School Systems serve as the foundation for the accreditation process. The seven standards and accompanying indicators are tied directly to the research on factors that impact student learning. The seven standards address the following areas:
- Vision and Purpose
- Governance and Leadership
- Teaching and Learning
- Documenting and Using Results
- Resources and Support Systems
- Stakeholder Communications and Relationships
- Commitment to Continuous Improvement
- The Quality Assurance Review
On August 24-27, NCSS hosted the Quality Assurance Review team, who came to:
Evaluate the school system's adherence to the standards.
- Assess the effectiveness of the school system's improvement efforts.
- Review performance results and how those results are used to inform improvement efforts.
- Provide high-quality feedback with clear recommendations and actionable next steps.
- Make an accreditation recommendation.
In preparation for our review, NCSS conducted a year-long self-assessment to identify areas of strengths and opportunities for improvement. This self-assessment report was forwarded to the Quality Assurance Review Team for review.
During the self-assessment, the district team gathered documentation to provide evidence and demonstrate adherence to the AdvancED standards and have completed the Examples of Evidence Report.
The Quality Assurance Review team visited our school system on the noted dates and while here, conducted interviews with representatives of NCSS, the schools and community, and members of the board of education. They also visited schools and classrooms, collected and reviewed evidence, and then met to review their findings. At the conclusion of the visit, the team provided an exit report to the school system at a called public meeting of the board of education and recommended accreditation status for the district.
SACS Final Report and Letter of Accreditation