SHEFFIELD — School board member Steve Hargrove says there is always room for improvement, so he was not surprised to learn the system’s recommendation for accreditation included several areas that need improvement.
But Hargrove was obviously pleased with the report.
The five school board members and other system employees attended a presentation Thursday by Claudia Coughgran, lead evaluator for AdvancED, an accreditation organization that helps school systems throughout the country improve their effectiveness.
Accreditation is the formal process of quality control that ensures certain standards are met within an education system.
Coughgran said she was impressed with the system and that the school board is already working on improving the areas that were cited during the evaluation. She covered aspects of the preliminary report for Sheffield schools.
“I go all over the country and the level of dedication the grown-ups in this town have toward children of all ages is stellar,” Coughgran said.
In conducting their evaluation, the AdvancED team interviewed 169 people, including 41 parents and community members, 69 students in all grade levels, 27 teachers and 18 support staff members. They also interviewed two board members and nine district and school site administrators.
Superintendent Tim Morgan said the board began meeting in December 2011 to prepare for the accreditation process.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time,” Morgan said. “We’re glad this is over, but now we’re beginning another stage. We have some things to work on and we need to improve.”
Hargrove said it’s good to know where the system stands.
“This reinforces what we already know,” Hargrove said.
Coughgran called the system’s evaluation “positive” and the items cited for improvement were already known to the school system. She added the assessment team found a strong commitment to the school system among the community members that were interviewed.
Coughgran said the system will have five years to respond to the required actions cited by the team. They will have to provide them with an update on those issues in two years.
She said the team’s report will be completed within the next 10 days, reviewed and forwarded to an AdvancED accreditation committee which will release its final decision in June.
Russ Corey can be reached at 256-740-5738 or russ.corey@TimesDaily.com.
Among the improvements the team wants to see addressed are:
Evaluating instructional programs at all schools.
Revise school improvement goals to reflect changes in student achievement levels.
Develop, implement and evaluate a rigorous curriculum to prepare students for college and careers.
Revise assessment practices to determine if students are understanding what they’re learning.
Develop, implement and evaluate systemic professional development for all instructional staff members.
Create a process to assess daily classroom instruction.