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Newton County School System (NCSS) is undergoing the five-year district accreditation process and will host an AdvancED/SACS CASI District Accreditation team next week. Currently, the Newton School System and each of its schools are fully accredited. This means that annually, every public school in Newton County meets or exceeds the accreditation standards that support student achievement. Newton County Schools last went through the District Accreditation process in August 2008, after which NCSS received district accreditation as a quality school system.

Accreditation is important for the citizens of Newton County as it serves as assurance that NCSS is providing and ensuring academic excellence for students. Accreditation ensures a standard of quality among credits, courses and grade level placements between schools and universities around the world. It also validates the equivalency of diplomas and certificates to other accredited schools and universities.

District accreditation is not a standalone process; rather it supports system-wide continuous improvement. Specifically, district accreditation:

  • Enhances a common language of school improvement.
  • Ensures collaboration in planning for improvement.
  • Provides the school system and community with validation and recognition for improvement efforts and recommendations from an external team of professionals.
  • Supports a system-wide approach to achieving results.
  • Integrates and supports other accountability requirements such as those mandated by the state and federal educational agencies.

District accreditation is not a given and requires commitment from the system's leadership and school board. NCSS must have in place a quality continuous improvement planning process focused on improving student learning. In addition, there must be a commitment to achieving and maintaining the following requirements:

  • Demonstration of compliance with the SACS CASI Accreditation Standards for Quality School Systems.
  • Identification and illustration of the system's framework for continuous improvement.
  • Evidence showcased of methods being employed to monitor and maintain quality assurance.

During the AdvancED External Review Team’s three-day visit to the school system, the team will gather data and evidence by interviewing a wide-range of system and school level stakeholders, as well as visiting schools. Members of the External Review Team include:

Lead Evaluator: Ray Poplus (AdvancED)
Associate Lead Evaluator: Dr. Donald Warren (Director of Curriculum, Henry County, GA)
Mr. Kevin Bales (Middle Schools Coordinator, Hall County, GA)
Mrs. Debra Phillips (Middle School Principal: DeKalb County, GA)
Nora Cordova (Assistant Director: Puerto Rico)
Linda Pratt (Elementary Principal: Clay County, Fl)

In preparation for this visit, NCSS and each of its schools were required to do the following:

  • Conduct and analyze stakeholder surveys from parents, students and certified staff.
  • Analyze and summarize student achievement data from state and local assessments.
  • Conduct a self-assessment of the current level of performance in regard to the five AdvancED accreditation standards.
  • Develop an executive summary from the information in the self-assessment.

The five AdvancED Standards for Quality are as follows:

Standard 1: Purpose and Direction
Standard 2: Governance and Leadership
Standard 3: Teaching and Assessing for Learning
Standard 4: Resources and Support Systems
Standard 5: Using Results for Continuous Improvement

“The Newton County School System has a laser-like focus on increasing student achievement and more effective teaching,” said NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey. “Both our district and school teams have been working diligently to prepare the evidence of our work for the AdvancED team to review.  I look forward to welcoming the external review team, and I am certain they will see the hard-work and dedication of our staff, the focus of our students, and the support from our parents and community.”

At the end of their visit, the External Review Team will release its findings at a special called meeting of the Newton County Board of Education on Wednesday, March 26 at 3:30 p.m. During this meeting, NCSS will learn its accreditation status for the next five years, although the status must be reviewed by the AdvancED organization before it is official.

AdvancED is the parent organization of 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). AdvancED is dedicated to advancing excellence in education worldwide through accreditation, research and professional services. AdvancED is the world's largest education community, engaging 27,000 public and private schools and districts across the United States and in 65 countries worldwide and educating 15 million students.

For more information contact Ms. Sherri Davis-Viniard, Director of Public Relations for Newton County Schools, at