Officials from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) will meet with Atlanta Public Schools’ (APS) senior management team, board members and community supporters Monday and Tuesday of this week.
The two-day on-site visit is the final step required to remove the district’s “accredited probation” status and return APS to good standing as defined by the accreditation agency.
According to Board of Education Chair Brenda Muhammad, “The SACS interviewing team is visiting the CLL building today. Scheduled are half hour sessions with APS board members & stakeholders, including parents and Mayor Kasim Reed.”
The final progress report was submitted to AdvanceED C.E.O. Mark Elgart on September 12, by Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr. SACS is an accreditation division of AdvancED.
On January 18, SACS placed the district’s accreditation of high schools on probation, pending the resolution by the Atlanta Board of Education of six Required Actions by September 30, 2011. APS high schools remain fully accredited, meaning that students are eligible to apply to colleges and universities of their choice and receive HOPE and other scholarships. APS elementary and middle schools are not impacted.
Six required actions
In its report to the district, SACS outlined the following six action items that the Atlanta Board of Education must complete prior to the Sept. 30 deadline:
1. Develop and implement a long-term plan to communicate with and engage stakeholders in the work of the district to achieve the Board’s mission for educating the students of Atlanta Public Schools (APS). The plan should focus on efforts that will regain stakeholders’ trust and confidence in the governance and leadership of Atlanta Public Schools. (Download High-Level Action Plan1)
2. Secure and actively use the services of a trained, impartial professional mediator who will work with the Board members to resolve communication, operational and personal issues impeding the effectiveness of the governing body. (Download High-Level Action Plan2)
3. Ensure that the actions and behavior of all board members are aligned with board policies, especially those related to ethics and chain of command, and AdvancED/SACS CASI Accreditation Standards and policies. (Download High-Level Action Plan3)
4. Review and refine policies to promote the processes that are needed to achieve the Board’s Mission in the education of the Atlanta Public School students. The board members shall provide evidence that they have refocused all of their energies on improving the teaching and learning processes for all their students. (Download High-Level Action Plan4)
5. Develop and implement a process for selecting a superintendent that is transparent during all phases, engages public participation, and demonstrates integrity throughout the process. It is strongly suggested that the final selection of the superintendent should be determined by more than a simple majority vote of approval by the Board. (Download High-Level Action Plan5)
6. Work directly with the State of Georgia to address the inconsistencies in the Atlanta Independent School System. (Download High-Level Action Plan6)