Accreditation is very important to school districts so that there is evidence of quality education from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 and that high school diplomas are accepted by the military, job sites, colleges and universities. Individual Wakulla schools renewed their accreditation every five years until ten years ago. Now for the third time, the entire school district is under one district-wide accreditation to insure focused, seamless learning that builds on prior instruction from grade to grade.
An external review of the school system lets Superintendent Bobby Pearce and his staff get impartial feedback about what is working well and what could be improved on. States Superintendent Pearce, “The information we received was helpful. Even when we think we’re on track, it’s good to hear what experienced educators from an outside source have to say that reinforces our best practices and suggests improvements. It’s the continuous improvement aspect that keeps us on our toes. We can always do better.”
The accrediting agency AdvancED is the largest community of education professionals in the world. It is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts rigorous, on-site external reviews of pre-kindergarten through grade 12 schools and school systems.
AdvancED is a partner to 34,000 schools and school systems across the United States and 70 other nations. AdvancED was created through a 2006 merger of the pre-k through grade 12 divisions of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) and expanded through the addition of the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) in 2012.
In Wakulla, over 250 people were interviewed and 55 random classrooms visited by the External Review Team. Those interviewed included students, parents, instructional staff, support staff, administrators, community members, School Board members, and Superintendent Pearce.
There were three areas, or “domains”, that the visiting team scored: Teaching and Learning Impact; Leadership Capacity; and Resource Utilization. All three domains scored higher in Wakulla than the average domain scores of all the institutions conducting External Reviews during the previous school year.
The External Review Team also noted that Wakulla Pre-K creates “a loving, supportive and academic environment that is inclusive and encourages each child to continue to progress positively in their social, behavioral and intellectual growth.”
In their Exit Interview open to the public, the External Review Team thanked Katherine Spivey and Beth Mims for coordinating the visit. The visiting team noted that it “respects and acknowledges the efforts to improve the quality of your institution and congratulates your system and community on completing the requirements for AdvancED System Accreditation.”