SACS: Rockdale Schools recommended for full accreditation renewal
School officials and parents of the Rockdale County Public Schools are all smiles after receiving rave reviews from AdvancED, the parent company of SACS. The agency has recommended full accreditation renewal for the district.
“Rockdale is in the green on all levels. Green is good. This was one of the most prepared school systems we’ve visited,” said Rosetta Riddle, the associate lead on the five-member AdvancED review board. “We visited the schools randomly and selected students and teachers randomly, too. We heard nothing but good things from everyone. We salute and applaud this county school system for extremely high scores.”
The school system received an overall Index of Educational Quality score of 324, on a scale of 100 being the worse and 400 being the best.
Rockdale County has about 16,000 students enrolled in its 11 elementary schools, four middle schools, one magnet school, one charter school and three high schools.
AdvancED teams review schools and school systems every five years. After a year of preparation, evaluations, an 83-page report and random visits to Rockdale County Schools, the team gave its recommendation for accreditation renewal. The district is expected to officially receive the accreditation status by June.
The news was met with applause by schools officials and parents who attended a special called Board of Education meeting at the Rockdale Career Academy on Feb. 18.
“From Feb. 9 – 11, I joined the AdcancED review team on their visits to Salem High, Memorial Middle and Honey Creek Elementary Schools. This is a very comprehensive, year-long process, and the school visits are crucial to how the school system is rated,” said Schools Superintendent Richard Autry. “Rosetta Riddle and her team have told us that with these scores, our school system will be seen as one of the highest-rated districts. I am so thankful for the staff and stakeholders here who come together daily to serve the students of Rockdale County.”
The AdvacED team, which included members from Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona, gave the Rockdale school system high marks in numerous areas such as a 319 on Teaching and Learning Impact, a 342 on Leadership Capacity and 313 on Resource Utilization.
That’s music to the ears of parents like Maria Caldwell.
“This is my second year as a parent in the county and I have enjoyed the experience because the communication with county faculty and staff has been great,” said Caldwell, who has a 5-year-old daughter, Jabria, at C.J. Hicks Elementary School. “These high scores prove that we have some of the best teachers who really want the kids to get the best education possible.”
Riddle says the AdvancED review team commended the RCPS for its commitment to a culture supporting high achievement for all students. RCPS was also recognized for its proactive and systematic resource management that allows the district to move forward, despite challenging financial conditions over the last few years.
While the other members of the review team listened in on the presentation live via the internet and a Mondopad program, Riddle also shared some ways the school system can improve.
“These items of improvement include ensuring that all classified staff have written professional learning plans, and developing innovative avenues for parent participation,” said Riddle. “We also advise this school system to evaluate its current practices in differentiated instruction in light of current research to improve the district goal of fully customized learning for all students.”
AdvancED works in collaboration with three accreditation agencies—North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, Northwest Accreditation Commission, as well as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Council on Accreditation and School Improvement—to ensure that the more than 30,000 schools and school systems AdvancED serves, meets the educational needs of students.