Mark Elgart, CEO of AdvancED, the parent company of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, said the process of accreditation is a continuous improvement process.
“We are helping institutions to identify and take action on areas for needed improvement so that students benefit in performance, preparation and the future,” he said. “This is not a compliance activity, not an investigative legal process designed to ‘catch’ you. It is designed to help support efforts. It’s about the students.”
Local leaders and lawmakers also put in their two cents, with interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May saying this news is not only good for the school district, but the county as a whole.
“I applaud the DeKalb County Board of Education and Superintendent Michael Thurmond for their progress,” said May. “Today’s announcement by SACS acknowledges all of the improvements that have been made and that more good is to come. We can all take pride in this accomplishment, as what is good news for the school district is also good news for the whole of DeKalb County.”
In a statement, District 42 State Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, who chairs the DeKalb senate delegation said he was pleased with the outcome.
“I would like to commend my good friend Michael Thurmond, who in concert with the members of the DeKalb County school board has captained this ship,” said Carter. “Today’s decision by SACS is a victory for the students of DeKalb County, their families and our entire system. The political situation that we were confronted with last year was a complicated one, and I was glad that DeKalb County was able to put our politics aside and come together to work in the best interests of our children and families.”
Along with the three required actions the school district has left to complete, there are three new ones given by AdvancED:
-Develop systematic and systemic processes to ensure the continued implementation and sustainability of the continuous improvement efforts of the DeKalb County Board of Education in establishing and sustaining the board as a highly effective governing body
-Develop and implement plans, policies and processes to monitor, evaluate and sustain the school systems’ continuous improvement efforts
-Continue to implement, evaluate and adapt the system’s technology plan to ensure an effective and equitable distribution of technology throughout the system and its long-term sustainability.
“This is a continuous improvement process,” said Elgart. “We’re not at the end of a journey today; you’re actually still near the beginning. The most important elements as you move forward are the sustainability of the actions you’ve taken today.”
The next AdvancED monitoring review will be conducted no later than May 31.