ACS recommended for AdvancED accreditation

Published 6:26 pm Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Alabaster City School System likely will achieve AdvancED accreditation in January. (File)

The Alabaster City School System likely will achieve AdvancED accreditation in January. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster City School System likely will have full AdvancED accreditation in early 2016 after an external review of the school system came back positive and recommended the accreditation.

During a special-called Sept. 23 meeting, the Alabaster Board of Education heard the results of the three-day external review, which was conducted in the system from Sept. 21-23.

The AdvancED external review team consisted of a five-person panel comprised of current and former educators from Bessemer, Perry County, Louisiana, Florida and Tuscaloosa. During the three-day, on-site review, the external review team met with 154 teachers, principals, parents, students, School Board and central office staff members, reviewed school system data and compiled their findings before presenting them to the School Board during the meeting.

The process looked at the school system’s impact of teachers and instruction, leadership and its use of resources, and ACS earned praise in all areas, and earned an “index of education quality” score of 303.14 out of a possible 400. The score was higher than the most recent IEQ scores received by neighboring school districts in Jefferson County, Hoover, Shelby County and Vestavia, and was higher than the AdvancED system average of 278.34.

“The IEQ score puts all of the pieces together,” said AdvancED consultant Drew Moore, who presented the ACS external review report to the board.

As a result of the AdvancED Accreditation Commission likely will approve ACS for full accreditation during its January meeting, Moore said. ACS will receive a full report in about 30 days outlining the full findings of the external review team and making recommendations for future improvement.

According to the report, ACS offers “friendly, welcoming, well-maintained learning environments,” and “exhibits a commitment to the community and to the high-quality education of students.”

After Moore revealed the review’s findings, the about 50 ACS employees in attendance gave a standing ovation.

“When we started this system several years ago, we were scared. We spent nights and weekends in this room working,” said School Board member Linda Church, fighting back tears. To have this validation from such outstanding educators is just wonderful, absolutely wonderful.”

ACS Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said AdvancED accreditation is a “powerful, worldwide recognition for our district.”

“This is no small feat,” Vickers said. “When we started, we were a district of schools. Now, I feel like we are truly a school district, and there’s a big difference.”

“I think this is kind of a validation. This is what you can do when you don’t have limits,” said School Board President Adam Moseley.