Saturday, May 26, 2018
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District 20 gets high marks

Accreditation recommended

An educational team supports full accreditation for Gothenburg Public Schools .

The five-member Quality Assurance Review Team met with students, staff, administrators and community members for nearly three days last week, Feb. 20-22.

“This is as good as it gets,” said team spokesperson John Sedex of Annandale, MN, during an exit report in the performing arts center on Feb. 22.

Team members, who work under the AdvancEd accreditation agency, looked at how well the district met seven school improvement standards.

Sedex told the faculty, staff and administrators that the district is incredible, noting that the school is operational in six standards and highly functional in governance and leadership (see box on page A3).

Most groups he said he reviews have at least one standard in the “emerging” rubric.

“That means the district is beginning to put in place the practices necessary to meet the standard but is not meeting it,” Sedex said.

He and others on the panel noted the warmth and friendliness they felt from students, school personnel and the community.

The district was commended for:

working with community stakeholders in numerous partnerships that provide mutual benefits.

developing collaborative cultures among the quality administration and staff committed to “excellence is the expectation” for all stakeholders.

providing and maintaining facilities in a manner that supports the delivery of quality instruction and services which exemplify community pride.

However the team also asked that the district:

incorporate a systematic and transparent approach to stakeholder membership on district committees and school groups.

investigate professional development programs focused on research-based instructional practice and strategies that are consistent across the district.

develop a data warehouse that fosters comparisons with peer districts and analysis of student learning by appropriate stakeholders.

After the presentation, Sedex said he would grade the district between an A and a B.

The team’s recommendation will end up with Nebraska’s AdvancEd State Council that formally grants accreditation.

District 20 superintendent Mike Teahon is a member of the council but he won’t be involved in the Gothenburg application.

Accreditation is a voluntary method of quality assurance, used by American universities and schools, to distinguish schools complying with a set of educational standards.

Instead of trying for separate accreditation for the elementary and junior and senior high school as in the past, Teahon said school officials want to attain higher standards.

On Tuesday, he said the district has used AdvancEd standards as the framework for its systems approach to goal setting and school improvement.

“We continuously evaluate our efforts internally within each area and try to address any areas of deficiency,” Teahon said.

He added that working toward accreditation is a process that doesn’t stop once accreditation is granted.

“It’s how we impact the education of our kids,” Teahon said. “We continuously evaluate our programs.”

A more detailed report from the team will be issued in a few weeks.

Gothenburg Public Schools will join 17 other districts in the state if it receives accreditation.

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