Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Tuscaloosa City Schools Get AdvancED Nod

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Tuscaloosa City Schools Get AdvancED Nod

Article excerpt

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 students.

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 system.

"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 determination."

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 schools scored:

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 environment.

-- 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. …

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