SCS receives highest-ever district accreditation rating from Cognia

Published 2:53 pm Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Stanly County Schools earned system accreditation from Cognia, a nonprofit organization that provides quality assurance for schools, school districts and education service providers, which met with teachers, central office staff and parents last month as part of SCS’s district accreditation.

Overall, SCS received a score of 314.84 out of a possible 400, which exceeds Cognia’s average score of 260 to 280 awarded to school systems in recent years and is the district’s highest-ever mark. The score is a 54-point increase from its 2017 accreditation score of 260.57. The final score is based on factors such as surveys, documentation and interviews.

The positive news was shared with the public during last week’s school board meeting.

“This really was just a great validation for us,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Amy Blake-Lewis. “It’s always good when an outside agency comes in with fresh eyes to take a look at the work we’re doing and give us that feedback.”

SCS began having monthly meetings with principals and district office staff and compiling the relevant data needed to address each of the indicators last fall. The virtual visit with Cognia occurred over a three-day span in early April.

The four-person Cognia team made sure the tangible data provided to them matched with what the relevant stakeholders told them about the district.

Each of the 31 indicators used to evaluate the three domains — leadership capacity, learning capacity and resource capacity — are reported within ranges of initiating, improving and impacting. Indicators are similar to academic standards students are expected to learn with each course of study. SCS was awarded an “improve” rating for 25 standards and an “impact” rating for five. Only one indicator received an “initiate” rating.

The accreditation process occurs every five years to provide feedback from an outside agency on the quality of school system across the nation.

Cognia also offered the district some recommendations that would help to improve the school system. These included formalizing the data collection process, streamlining how the district reviews, modifies and makes improvements to existing programs and improving its teacher evaluation process.

“This is definitely something to celebrate,” Blake-Lewis said. “This is a strong indicator that the programs, the processes, procedures and initiatives that we have established in a post-Covid setting are truly moving our district in the right direction.”

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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