System Earns Accreditation
System rates above the national average in accreditation review
Posted on 03/02/2016
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The Review Team from AdvancED, the accreditation organization that includes the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), has completed an extensive review of Floyd County Schools and recommended the system receive District Accreditation. Dr. David Gullatt, lead evaluator of the team, addressed a called meeting of the Floyd County Board of Education to present the teams findings to the board on Wednesday, at 2:00 p.m

The Review Team interviewed 297 stakeholders during their visit, reviewed papers and examined artifacts related to the standards under review, visited schools and observed classrooms in the system to gather their information to recommend accreditation.The presentation included recommendations the group called Power Practices, where the group felt the system was performing in an exemplary manner; Opportunities for Improvement, where the system could look to address potential needs; and Improvement Priorities, where the group felt their was an immediate need to address an issue.  

The group presented three commendations or Power Practices to the board in the Exit Review. The commendations were:
  • School and system leadership and staff commit to a strong culture that is clearly based on shared values and beliefs about teaching and learning.
  • Board of Education policies and practices clearly support the system purpose and direction ensuring effective, efficient administration of all operations. 
  • Representatives of all stakeholder groups are engaged in the decision making processes that clearly support both the system and school purpose and direction.
Gullatt and his team were very impressed with the system's mission and vision of "Destination Graduation for every child."  The mission was very evident at every turn in the visit of the review group and was at the forefront of every school, student, teacher and community member.  "You pledge allegiance to your mission and it is visible everywhere you turn in the system - that is a good thing," Gullatt said, "You do not see this focus on a mission in every school system and you can be very proud what what you have going here in this community." Gullatt added, "This sets you apart and makes you different from many other school systems." 

The team also outlined four Improvement Priorities for the system:
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive system-wide professional development plan.
  • Develop and implement a system-wide mentoring, coaching and induction program that supports the system values and beliefs.
  • Design and implement a system wide grading and reporting policy that is consistent across all grades and based on clearly defined criteria.
  • Utilize system-wide needs assessment to evaluate present media and information resources to identify staffing needs.
The team rated the school system on the five standards as a part of the review. The rating rubric included the categories: Not Evident, the district has not put practices in place or beginning efforts to meet the standard; Emerging, the district is beginning to put in place the practices necessary to meet the standard but is not meeting it at this time; Operational, The district is demonstrating the standard and using practices commonly found in other schools; and Highly Functional, the district is exceptional in its demonstration of the standard and exhibits practices not commonly found in other schools.  The findings were also broken down into numerical charts that compared Floyd County Schools to other similar school systems across the country.  

Regarding what the group saw when visiting classrooms in the system, the team rated Floyd County in seven categories.
  • Equitable Learning Environment was rated at 2.78 for Floyd County compared to the average of systems reviewed of 2.69 .
  • High Expectations Environment was rated at 2.94 for Floyd County compared to the average of 2.81.
  • Supportive Learning Environment was rated at 3.26 for Floyd County compared to the average of 3.06.
  • Active Learning Environment was rated at 3.18 for Floyd County compared to the average of 2.94.
  • Progress Monitoring and Feedback Environment was rated 2.84 in Floyd County compared to the average of 2.79.
  • Well-managed Learning Environment was rated at 3.22 in Floyd County compared to the average of 3.13
  • Digital Learning Environment was rated 1.69 compared to the average of 1.82.  This is the only rating lower than the average for Floyd County Schools.
The system had rated digital learning as a need category in preparations for the visit and has already begun the process to move forward in this area with improving the infrastructure for advancing digital learning.  The system is in the process of upgrading the wireless connectivity in schools across the system that is scheduled to be completed by the beginning of next school year.  As this process is completed, training will be provided for teachers in using technology in instruction and more devices will be added for student use.  The system recently purchased 1000 Chromebooks for students to use in the classroom. 
The Review Team also presented a rating called IEQ (Index of Education Quality that also compares the system to other systems rated by AdvancEd.  The rating gave the system an overall score, a score on Teaching and Learning Impact, Leadership Capacity, and Resource Utilization.

Index of Education Quality Ratings:
Overall
Floyd County Schools - 297.56
AE Average - 278.34

Teaching and Learning
Floyd County Schools - 280.95
AE Average - 268.94

Leadership Capacity
Floyd County Schools - 333.33
AE Average - 292.64

Resource Utilization
Floyd County Schools - 287.50
AE Average - 283.86

Gullatt noted that all of the system averages were higher than the average of systems reviewed and that being higher in all categories should be a point of pride for the system and the community. "You should celebrate this accomplishment in your schools and in the community," Gullatt said.
 
Dr. John Jackson, superintendent of Floyd County Schools, informed the review team that the system has already started the process of developing a plan of action to move the system forward as many of the groups suggestions had been identified in the system's preparation for the visit. “Our committee chairs, who worked with the standards associated with the review, have already begun the process to develop an action plan for moving the school system forward in the identified areas,” Dr. Jackson stated. “We do not look at this as the end of a process, but rather, a beginning point to launch our school system toward an even higher level of performance for the children we serve.” 

The team will now submit a written report recommending accreditation approval to the AdvancED Accreditation Commission. The Accreditation Commission grants the term of accreditation for local school systems. AdvancED is the world’s largest educational network encompassing 27,000 public and private schools throughout the United States and 69 countries worldwide, all Department of Defense schools, 15 million students, and more than 3 million teachers.