The McDuffie County School Board voted at the December meeting to seek district accreditation, an honor reserved for systems meeting the highest levels of educational quality.
Board members voted to approve a request to seek district accreditation, a voluntary process that is conducted by the Council on Accreditation and School Improvement of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. A readiness visit took place Nov. 16, and a quality assurance review is tentatively scheduled next fall when a team will visit McDuffie County for a series of evaluations.
"This is an honor," said Kathryn Collins, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Only top school systems with all schools having individual accreditation are eligible for district accreditation.
Earlier this year, principals of all McDuffie County Schools supported the idea of district accreditation, said Superintendent Mark Petersen.
School systems seeking district accreditation have three major responsibilities: they must meet accreditation standards for quality systems, identify and illustrate implementation of a continuous system improvement process, and demonstrate quality assurance, according to the organization's Web site.
The McDuffie County School System is a good candidate for district accreditation because it already uses research based data to plan systemically, and the school improvement plans are aligned with the comprehensive system plan, said Dr. Collins.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools which approves accreditation is an organization that helps schools and school systems improve student success through a rigorous set of standards. The SAIC grants accreditation after assessing factors such as governance, curriculum, instructional design, student assessment, and communications, according to the organization's web site.