The Tuscaloosa City School System was recommended for systemwide
accreditation Thursday by
AdvancED, a global leader in advancing education excellence
through accreditation and school improvement.
"Based on the findings from the review of the evidence, this
external review team recommends that Tuscaloosa City Schools be
accredited given further review and final action by the AdvancED
accreditation commission," said Pat Summers, a lead evaluator with
AdvancED. "And with that, we congratulate you."
According to a news release,
AdvancED accreditation is a voluntary process that the school
system chose to undergo.
The process of accreditation involves a set of rigorous protocols
and research-based processes for evaluating a system's
organizational effectiveness. It examines the whole
system -- its programs, cultural context and stakeholders -- to
determine how well the parts work together to meet the needs of
A team of six educators from around the country -- the external
review team -- spent 31/2 days evaluating the system. The team
conducted 166 interviews with school administrators, board members,
teachers, support staff, students, parents and community members. It
also observed 48 classrooms and reviewed documents provided by the
"We may have had one perspective when we came in from looking at
your reports, but as you talked to us and described how your teams
meet and what days you reserve for professional development, we got
a totally different view of what takes place," Summers said. "It
made everything come alive to us so we could feel what you go
through on a daily and monthly basis. And that helped us with our
The AdvancED team evaluated and ranked the school system on seven
different "Learning Environments" using a 4.0 scale. It also
evaluated and ranked them in four areas based on "Index of
Educational Quality" using a scale of 100 to 400.
On the system's "Learning Environments" evaluation, the city
A 2.9 on creating an
equitable learning environment.
-- A 3.0 on creating a high expectations environment.
-- A 3.4 on creating a supportive learning environment.
-- A 3.39 on creating an active learning environment.
-- A 3.09 on creating a progress monitoring and feedback
-- A 3.39 on creating a well-managed learning environment.
-- A 2.46 on creating a digital learning environment.
"These are the ratings from the classroom observations," Summers
said. "... The area that's typically low is not extremely low for
this district, and that's No. 7 (digital learning environment). No.
7 is usually a 1 or just slightly above. We very seldom see 2, so
that's to be noted."
On the "Index of Education Quality," the system received:
-- A 288 for overall educational quality.
-- A 271 on teaching and learning impact.
-- A 308 on leadership capacity.
-- A 300 on resource utilization.
"I am very pleased with the results, and the district will be
pleased," Summers said. "And it also gives you an indication of how
you need to plan your growth in order to move over to the 400 range.
Those scores, in my experience, are a little on the high side. Often
I do not see scores quite at this level. So we are very pleased to
give you this feedback. …