School system receives recommendation for district accreditation

The news was all good for the Shelby County School System Oct. 28, as a district accreditation team from AdvancED declared the system a quality school system.

AdvancED is an organization that awards accreditation to schools throughout the country.

As team chairperson Veronica Harts read the team’s recommendation, cheers and applause went up from the large crowd of school system staff and administrators, who had gathered to hear the news.

“We are very excited, and we know you have worked extremely hard,” Harts said to the crowd. “You ought to be commended.”

The district accreditation team, which was made up of 11 current and retired school administrators from around the Southeast, found several strengths of the Shelby County School System, including: superintendent leadership; leadership among staff, administrators, parents and students; organizational structure; the strategic plan, which provides focus; the continuous improvement plan; the Web site; professional development; the sense of pride in the schools and communities; the resources available; and the dedication found in the teachers, administrators and support staff.

The team did make one recommendation for the school system, saying the system needs to come up with a plan to recruit and keep quality minority teachers, administrators and leaders.

Harts said the 491 board members, administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, community members and students interviewed had excellent comments about the school system.

“One middle school student said, ‘You know, our teachers don’t do what’s easy and best for them. They do what’s best for us,’” Harts said. “We see leaders everywhere, and it’s so refreshing.”

After the presentation, Superintendent Randy Fuller said his teachers and staff deserved much of the credit for continually improving the Shelby County School System.

“These people are working for the benefit of our schools,” he said. “This wonderful family you see here is what makes our school system special.”

Harts said she — as well as the rest of her team — was amazed by the commitment of everyone involved with the school system.

“I think the thing that captured our attention was the level of commitment of the administrators, the parents and in the classroom,” she said. “There is a level of commitment that is so high in all these areas. The students are truly getting the most from being in these schools, and I’m so happy I got the chance to be here.”

The team will recommend to the AdvancED accreditation commission that Shelby County Schools be awarded district accreditation as a quality school system. Once that recommendation is reviewed and approved, the district will be accredited for the next five years.