Written by Beth O'Donnell, Asst. Superintendent for Instruction Tuesday, 18 October 2011 20:42
The Wakulla County School System recently earned district-wide, 5-year accreditation for all its public schools from pre-kindergarten through grade 12.
This is the second time the school district has done so, being first in the Big Bend, fourth in Florida, and the 56th district world-wide to earn it in 2005. Before then, each school was accredited individually. A district accreditation review looks at the school system as a whole and how it helps students progress from one year to the next.
Accreditation is vital to a school district and its community so that a high level of service is maintained, plus a diploma from an accredited high school is accepted by accredited colleges and universities.
A visiting team of five trained, distinguished educators representing Florida, other states, and an international school reviewed the district the week of October 3, 2011. Dr. Patricia Golding chaired the AdvanceEd team and stated, “I would be very happy for my children to go here. I would be happy to work here. You do so many things very, very well.”
The team of educators interviewed 196 people that included Superintendent David Miller, all five School Board members , 20 administrators, 47 teachers, more than 60 parents and community leaders, plus several groups of students from the five schools visited representing pre-kindergarten through the high school.
Superintendent Miller welcomed the feedback from the established accreditation organization AdvanceED, which is a consolidation of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, the National Study of School Evaluation, and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement.
He noted, “We are always looking for ways to maintain and improve our ‘Academically High-Performing District’ designation from the state.” He went on to explain further that there were commendations and recommendations made from the visit.
Among the many commendations, the preliminary report stated, “The Quality Assurance Review team observed supportive and professional working relationships among teachers and administrators and the district and schools. The same level of support, concern, and mutual respect was observed in professional staff interactions with students. Parents also commented about the ‘family feeling’ in Wakulla schools as a major source of satisfaction for them.”
Recommendations included implementing a data program that provides easy access to data disaggregation and promotes in-depth data analysis. “This is already in the beginning stages as district staff has secured a grant to purchase a data system that will address the need to analyze ways to bridge any achievement gaps we may see,” stated Superintendent Miller.
Beth Mims, Director of Curriculum, was praised by Superintendent Miller for her outstanding work in organizing the visit. Mims said, “The better education we provide, the better prepared students are to meet the requirements they face once they graduate from our schools.”
Superintendent Miller also thanked the school and district administrators for their leadership. Most importantly, he observed that the teachers were doing an outstanding job educating their students, as they do every day whether being observed or not.
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