Column: District 518 applies for accreditationWORTHINGTON — Accreditation is a voluntary method of quality assurance developed more than 100 years ago by the American university and secondary schools, and designed primarily to distinguish schools adhering to a set of educational standards.
By: Katie Clarke, District 518, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Accreditation is a voluntary method of quality assurance developed more than 100 years ago by the American university and secondary schools, and designed primarily to distinguish schools adhering to a set of educational standards. Today the accreditation process is used at all levels of education, and is recognized for its ability to effectively drive student performance and continuous improvement in education.
The Worthington School District has applied for and earned accreditation status in the past. In order to be accredited, the schools within the district implement a continuous improvement plan. Additionally, continuous improvement strategies and results must be implemented at each building and at the district level. Every five years the district conducts a thorough internal review of its strengths and potential areas for growth, and submits its findings to AdvancED (the accrediting agency). The AdvancED commission then determines if a district is worthy of being accredited.
As a part of the internal review process, each school will rate itself in the areas of purpose and direction, governance and leadership, teaching and assessing for learning, resources and support systems, and using results for continuous improvement. Staff and leaders in each building will work together to complete this self-evaluation.
The internal review also requires student test data submission. MCA and ACT scores will be submitted showing proficiency levels and trends over the last three years.
A new component of the review allows for input by students, parents and staff. All three groups will have the opportunity to provide feedback about their school building through a survey. All responses will be anonymous and sent to AdvancED to use in the review process. Surveys will be available for students and parents to complete from Dec. 3-21. The parent and student survey links can be found on the school district website beginning on Dec. 3. The online survey is available in English. Paper copies of the survey are available in Spanish and can be picked up at the West school building, room 109. Parents who have students in more than one school building can complete the survey one time for each building.
Each school building will also complete a highlight summary of improvement efforts and advancements over the last five years.
All internal review items will be submitted to AdvancED by February. Three school administrators and specialists (from outside of the district) will be in the district to conduct an external review from March 17-20, 2013. The district will be notified of its accreditation status by the end of the school year.
Katie Clarke is District 518’s coordinator of curriculum and instruction.