Thursday, March 7, 2013

Great news!

Great news should travel fast!  But if you have not heard, let me be the first to share that Oconee County Schools (OCS) will be recommended for district accreditation as a quality system by AdvancED.  Last week, the AdvancED External Review Team visited six schools and interviewed 279 stakeholders made up of five board of education members, 38 administrators, 119 teachers, one support staff member, 53 parents, and 63 students. The team of six individuals, representing four states, spent four days in our county reviewing school data and climate surveys, and analyzing the self-assessment information provided by OCS.  In the end, the review team increased the self-assessment scores on all five standards and provided feedback in the areas of powerful practices and required actions.  Some of the specific feedback is listed below and the entire report is available on the OCS website at www.oconeeschools.org.       

AdvancED Standards for Quality (Scale 1-4)
·         Purpose and Direction                                                3.25
·         Governance                                                                 3.33
·         Teaching and Learning                                               3.08
·         Resources and Support Systems                                 2.88
·         Using Results for Continuous Improvement              3.00

Powerful Practices
·         The visionary leadership and synergy between the superintendent and administration at all levels has created a strong commitment to sustaining a culture of excellence that pervades the entire district.
·         The governing body ensures that school leadership has autonomy to meet goals for achievement and instruction and to manage day-to-day operations effectively.
·         The proactive leadership of the superintendent and staff fosters a climate of transparency and a culture consistent with the district’s purpose and direction.
·         The district systematically engages families by communicating student progress through an outstanding information infrastructure.
·         Oconee County Schools has exceptional facilities and services as a result of providing a safe, clean, and healthy environment for all students and staff.
·         Oconee County Schools commendably utilizes a vast array of traditional and technological methods of communication so that stakeholders at all levels are afforded the opportunity to be informed about system, school, and student performance.

Required Actions
·         Develop, implement, and evaluate a strategic plan aligned with the district’s mission and vision, which focuses on student success and meets the needs of a changing community. 
·         Expand training on the collection, analysis, interpretation, and usage of data to all system staff.

As you can see, the review team was quite impressed by the students and stakeholders who make up our outstanding district.  The powerful practices are plentiful and a good representation of the hard work of our community of learners.  The required actions, which are mandated for all systems, are valuable recommendations and will assist our district going forward.  In addition, the overall scores on the Standards for Quality aid our efforts of continuous improvement in all areas by providing measurable feedback. 

As we conclude this aspect of the accreditation process, I want to personally thank all of the parents, teachers, students, and community members that were an integral part of the SACS visit.  Without a doubt, our system is better due to your involvement and input. 

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