Oct 25, 2010 5:16 PM
A team from the AdvancED organization has completed its review of the Lafayette Parish School
System and recommended that the LPSS be re-accredited without reservations. Five years ago, the LPSS became one of the first school districts in the country to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Five years later, SACS has joined the AdvancED international network for accreditation. AdvancED represents 27,000 schools and districts across the nation and around the world. These schools and districts represent over 15 million students, 3 million teachers, and more than 18,000 professional educators. The organization accredits private, public,
post-secondary and international schools all over the world, with a focus on excellence in education through continuous improvement and organizational effectiveness.
As part of the five-year review process, a team of educators from across the nation reviewed a self-generated report from the system, evidence to support the report and district and school-level data. They visited 11 schools and interviewed nearly 300 people in Lafayette Parish, including administrators, educators, support workers, business leaders, post-secondary administrators and educators, parents, students and citizens. Their charge was to determine
how the LPSS meets AdvancED's seven criteria for school district accreditation: Vision and Purpose; Governance and Leadership; Teaching and Learning; Documenting and Using Results; Resources and Support Systems; Stakeholder Communications and Relationships and Commitment to Continuous Improvement.
The team ranked the district's adherence to each standard in one of four categories: Not Evident, Emerging, Operational and Highly Functional. The category of "highly functional" is reserved for districts who demonstrate "exceptional" performance in a standard. In order to be recommended for accreditation, each school in a district must meet the requirements for accreditation, and the district as a whole must meet the requirements for accreditation.
The AdvancED team found that the system was Highly Functional in two areas: Teaching and Learning and Commitment to Continuous Improvement. The team found the system to be Operational in all other areas noted above.
Further, the team gave the district Commendations for Schools of Choice; for Charter High School; for offering multiple opportunities for parental involvement; for recruiting, hiring and retaining highly qualified teachers dedicated to rigorous instruction; for establishing lead teacher positions; and for selecting and appointing a superintendent who has the vision and leadership needed to catapult the district to higher levels of performance.
The team gave the district three challenges to address: to work with stakeholders to obtain resources to implement the Master Facilities Plan; to establish separate forums for teachers and students to participate in district decision-making; and to perform a comparative data analysis of trend data from surrounding and comparable school districts.
The team will recommend the district for re-accreditation without reservations. The next step is for the team to deliver their recommendations to the AdvancED Accreditation Commission.
See the district's self-report at www.lpssonline.com Get more info on accreditation at www.advanc-ed.org