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Clarke County schools accreditation downgraded

Interim Clarke County Schools Superintendent Xernona Thomas on Friday received notification from the accreditation agency Cognia (formerly AdvancED) informing the Clarke County School District of a change in its accreditation status from ”Accredited” to “Accredited Under Review.”

The document Policies and Procedures for Accreditation and Certification (Cognia/AdvancED), contains a detailed description of the accreditation status. As defined, a system with an “Accredited Under Review” status will continue with that status until the school district hosts a Monitoring Review. Cognia will use the Monitoring Review to evaluate CCSD to determine if progress is adequate or suggest additional action. 

Allegations sent to Cognia last fall regarding the operations of the school district resulted in Cognia’s decision to conduct a Special Review, held on January 26—28, 2020. Cognia provided a Special Review Report, which included findings and Improvement Priorities, with the requirement that the district take decisive actions. Cognia requires a “Monitoring Review” to be conducted before December 2020 to evaluate the school district’s progress in addressing the Improvement Priorities listed in report. 

“The report provides specific tasks the district can take to resolve issues and improve effectiveness. We will immediately work with the Board of Education on improvement measures and documenting changes, with the full expectation of meeting the December 2020 timeframe and having full accreditation status reinstated,” Thomas said. 

This change in status does not impact CCSD’s graduating seniors as the district is still accredited by Cognia. The district does not anticipate negative effects for future graduates as the BOE and district administrators will work to address all directives provided within the report. “Although we recognize the status change is disconcerting, the district will use this opportunity to address concerns and implement specific steps to achieve positive change,” Thomas said. 

“In addition to our ongoing training through the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA), the members of the BOE embrace this opportunity to improve its effectiveness,” school boar President LaKeisha Gantt said. “We have begun work on our norms and are committed to policy review to maximize our performance as a governance board. We will accommodate and support all aspects of the review.” 

The documentation related to the Cognia Special Review is posted on the Clarke County School District’s website.

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