Source: Sherman Publications

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All schools receive full accreditation

by Andrew Moser

April 06, 2011

Oxford Community Schools received a bit of good news this week when they found out on Wednesday, March 30 that all eight of the school within the district would receive full accreditation by AdvanceED.

"We were just very pleased with the outcome because it validates the hard work that everyone is doing, trying to meld all of these initiatives we are doing in the district together and meet the criteria that is necessary for accreditation," said Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum James Schwarz.

AdvancED is a premier accreditation organization that's known worldwide. It serves more than 27,000 public and private schools and districts across the United States and in 69 countries.

According to Schwarz, AdvancED spent three days last week going over nine crates full of different reports showcasing Oxford Community Schools ability to meet the seven standards set forth by the state - vision and purpose, governance and leadership, teaching and learning, documentation and using results, resources and support systems, stakeholder communication and relationships and commitment to continuous improvement.

AdvancED came in Sunday and spent the afternoon and evening pouring over the files the district spent the last two weeks preparing.

On Monday the team spent the day interviewing administration and support staff at the central office, as well as parents with children in the district and school board members.

"Each of these groups had a separate interview in order to get perspectives from each of these different populations throughout the district," Schwarz said.

Tuesday was a big day for the district as the team went through and toured all eight schools within the district, including Crossroads for Youth.

"Aside from visiting classrooms and looking at instruction, they also interviewed teachers in those buildings, support staff, parents and PTO members, the principal and leadership teams," Schwarz said.

The state requires each school district to go through an accreditation process every 3-5 years as part of the school aid act.

The amount of monies a district can collect depends on the outcome of the accreditation.

There are four levels of accreditation a district can receive, according to Schwarz. A district can either be fully accredited, get accredited with a warning, meaning a district has to make corrections the accreditation team found within a specific time limit and submit those corrections for reconsideration.

There is also interim accreditation and not being accredited, which can potentially be harmful to the district with loss of school aid funds or potentially be shut down.

For Schwarz and the leadership teams, it has been an intense few weeks.

"It's been a pretty intense process preparing for them the last couple of weeks, putting together all of those files and artifacts crates," he said.

"The teachers from the leadership teams were really the ones to spearhead gathering all these artifacts and completing the necessary reports for the AdvancED team to look at."

Nothing like a little proof in the pudding.

"People are doing a ton of work and it shows and it is starting to pay off," Schwarz said.