10/18/13 — Schools prepare for 2014 review

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Schools prepare for 2014 review

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 18, 2013 1:46 PM

The Wayne County Public School system is preparing for its five-year districtwide re-accreditation, which will take place in the spring.

The visit and interview process from AdvancED, the accreditation agency conducting the review, is on the schedule for March 10-12, 2014, said Dr. Cynthia Reynolds, director of secondary education/accreditation for the school system.

This is the second time the entire school system will be participating in the arduous process, the first accomplished in 2008, the schools superintendent said.

"We used to do it individually by school," Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor said. "Several years ago we decided to go districtwide."

The strict format is a voluntary method of quality assurance, examining the entire school program as well as the district.

Administrators and school teams are already gearing up for the re-accreditation, Ms. Reynolds said. She said teams have been formed at the individual schools and work has begun to maintain the district status.

"The external reviewing team will meet with the district staff and stakeholders," she said. "Every department will have an opportunity to sit down with the review team. They'll also have an opportunity to visit a sample. They will visit 10 of our schools. They go by a percentage.

"I do not know which schools and it doesn't matter which schools because we're all following the same standards. We are all following the same protocol."

In addition to determining whether WCPS is recommended for re-accreditation or not, suggestions of actions or strategies to implement will also be handed down.

"Two years after the report, we are required to show a report of what we have done with the recommendations," Ms. Reynolds said.

It is an ongoing process, the superintendent said.

"It takes a lot of hard work to get there," he said. "We have spent the last five years preparing for this. It's important that we receive this accreditation. (But) it's not something you do overnight.

"We look forward to them coming. At the same time, you're always nervous when they're coming. Everybody has to be prepared. No one gets off the hook."

And even though accreditation will apply to all 31 schools, only 10 of them "will carry the weight" of scrutiny by the review committee, Taylor said.

Board member Thelma Smith pointed out there is something valuable to be gained from the process.

"What accreditation does," she said, "it makes you look at yourself. It makes you clean up whatever it is that is not right. But when you finish, you have a product that's second to none."

Board member Eddie Radford, a retired educator who has gone through several re-accreditations, said he likes the new format that involves the entire school system.

"It's a team effort," he said. "I think this is going to show the whole community how well this school system is working."