The Rowan County School District has once again completed the process to receive full accreditation for the district by AdvancEd, which is made up of North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, Northwest Accreditation Commission, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. All of the schools within the Rowan County School System are fully accredited. The Rowan County School District is one of only thirty districts in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to successfully complete the process to receive accreditation from AdvancEd.
District Accreditation by AdvancEd is a voluntary process that examines how all the processes and functions of the district work together to the benefit of student learning. The process for accreditation takes place every five years. Five school professionals from Kentucky, Wyoming, and Arizona made up the Quality Assurance Review Team, which interviewed teachers, students, administrators, parents and community members to assess the district’s strengths and make recommendations for any changes.
The process to prepare for the review by the Quality Assurance Review Team began in August 2011, with Nadine Griffith and Larry Tapp spear-heading the preparations. Rowan County Schools Superintendent Marvin Moore said of the visit by the review team, “I knew that when the team visited our schools they would recognize the fine accomplishments of this district. Their recommendations will help our district continue to make improvements that will benefit our students.”
The Quality Assurance Review Team commended the Rowan County School District for its strengths.
1. The district was commended for the partnerships that it has developed with area businesses, organizations and Morehead State University. The team noted that these partnerships help to create an exemplary learning environment for students and staff. The vision statement, “Together We Can,” is clearly communicated and supported by all stakeholders involved in the district.
2. The team commended Superintendent Marvin Moore, noting his focus on doing “what’s best” for students and families, having high expectations for safe, clean schools and for his stewardship of resources during a time of great financial uncertainty for Kentucky Schools.
3. The team also took note of the proactive efforts of district staff to develop and maintain safe and attractive learning environments for students and staff.
4. The district was commended for its work in being fiscally responsive in the utilization of resources, directly impacting the learning environment. The team noted that an essential component of this organizational effectiveness is collaborative stewardship and use of available resources.
The review team noted that the district faced limitations in funding and facilities, such as unfunded state and federal educational mandates, property within the county that cannot be taxed, and shifts and growths within the county populations. In its report, the Quality Assurance Review Team also made several recommendations for the Rowan County School District, such as developing an aligned system/school improvement protocol, broaden the vision statement of “Together We Can” to drive a clear focus on increased academic achievement and the teaching/learning process, and design and implement a system for instructional walk-throughs that is consistent from school to school.
“We have two years to complete the implementation of these required actions and submit a progress report to AdvancEd, ” said Nadine Griffith. “The groundwork for implementation has already been established so the district is well on its way to completing the required actions.”
The accreditation of a district by AdvancEd is not a stand-alone process or something “extra” that a district must complete; rather it serves as an umbrella or framework that supports continuous improvements focused on directly improving learning for all students. School districts who decide to complete the district accreditation process find that it provides cost effective methods for meeting federal and state accountability laws; the accreditation process also provides to the community validation and recognition for improvement efforts as well as recommendations from professionals outside the district which further the district’s improvement efforts. Successful district accreditation provides recognition for the district and its schools, students, teachers and the community.
Superintendent Marvin Moore added, “Preparing for the District Accreditation process allowed us to make an in-depth self-assessment. The process has brought us all together to look at the big picture instead of looking at just the individual pieces of the district. The partnerships that have our district has developed throughout the Rowan County community gave proof to the Quality Assurance Review Team that our vision statement – ‘Together We Can’ – is more than a statement; it is an action. We are working together to do what’s best for the students of Rowan County Schools.”