29, 2014
Calhoun County School District
20859 Central Avenue E, RM-G20
Blountstown, FL 32424-6202
PH: 850-674-5927
FAX: 850-674-5814
Website maintained by: Renee' Harrell

Calhoun Earns District Wide SACS-CASI School Accreditation

The week of April 6, Calhoun County School District hosted a Quality Assurance Review Team (QAR) representing the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). SACS CASI is an accreditation division of AdvancED, which is dedicated to advancing excellence in education through accreditation, research, and professional services. The accreditation process is designed to help schools and school districts continuously improve. While in a school district and individual schools, the review team's purpose is to determine how well the district meets the standards of AdvancED and to assess the effectiveness of the district's improvement efforts and methods for quality assurance.

While in the district, the review team's process included reviewing documents and making individual school visits and observations. The team members also conducted interviews with school stakeholders, including school superintendent, school board members, district staff, school administrators, teachers and staff, parents, community members, business partners, and students. This part of the review process gave team members an in-depth, accurate picture of the district and its individual schools.

At the end of the district and school review process, strengths identified by the review team included strong, visionary leadership, excellent community and parental support, effective and varied forms of communication, a positive relationship between the Board of Education and the district staff, and a stable, quality staff. Other strengths included data-driven decision-making, a continuous focus on the core business of teaching and learning, safe and healthy school environments, and collegial work toward a common vision and mission.

In addition to recognized strengths, the review team commended Calhoun County Schools for having supportive, knowledgeable and accessible leaders, for the establishment of a Task Force to determine specific long-range facility needs, and for implementing a framework that enables the district to focus on providing quality while pursuing improvement.

Along with strengths and commendations, the review team also presented recommendations in order for Calhoun County School District to facilitate continuous improvement. One recommendation the team presented involved developing and executing a short and long range facility plan to address the aging buildings and maintenance needs. Another recommendation was to devise a plan to actively recruit highly qualified minority and male teachers. Another suggestion was to explore ways of offering a wider variety of career technical and fine arts courses at the secondary level, along with considering offering additional extra-curricular activities to meet varied interests of students.

At the conclusion of their review, the quality assurance review team made a recommendation to the AdvancED Accreditation Commission that Calhoun County Schools be awarded District Accreditation as a quality school system. The accreditation was different this year, as explained by Mary Sue Neves, school superintendent, "This was the first time in history that Calhoun County School District has participated in Quality Assurance Review District Accreditation." In the past, only the schools have been awarded accreditation. This year, under the new process, the district, with the schools falling under it, was recommended for accreditation.

The final step in accreditation will be review and approval by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission When approval comes, the district and its schools will be granted a 5-year term accreditation.

Mrs. Neves recognizes the effort that was put into the accreditation process long before the review team's arrival. "The Executive SACS Committee under the leadership of Mrs. Wynette Peacock, Director of Curriculum/Instruction, worked for over a year in preparing and planning for our District Accreditation. I would like to personally thank everyone that was involved in this process for their time, effort and dedication in preparation for the District Accreditation review."

After receiving the review team's recommended accreditation, Mrs. Neves responded, "The Board and I were pleased with the Quality Assurance Review Team's recommendation, that the Calhoun County Schools be awarded District Accreditation as a quality school system. The QAR Team was on target with both their commendations and recommendations, and we will work diligently to address the recommendations to make our schools even better."

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