Jeffrey Lind: Schools reviewed by AdvancED
By Jeffrey Lind, Assistant Superintendent of School
On March 25 through 27 the Mandan School District hosted an external review team from AdvancED. AdvancED is the accrediting agency for many K-12 school districts throughout the country that might be more easily recognized by its previous name, The North Central Association, or NCA. Schools in Mandan have been accredited by NCA for over 100 years.
AdvancED is the global leader in advancing excellence in education through continuous improvement, organizational effectiveness and accreditation and provides an international protocol for school systems committed to systemic, systematic and sustainable improvement. The purpose of participating in the AdvancED accreditation process is to build the capacity of the system and schools and to increase and sustain student learning. Additionally, participation by the school district in AdvancED accreditation is intended to stimulate and improve effectiveness and efficiency throughout the Mandan Public School system.
The Mandan School District was visited by an external review team of six professional educators, four from North Dakota and two from out of state. Their task during their visit was to evaluate the Mandan School District and its network of schools against a set of five accreditation standards. The accreditation standards are: 1. Purpose and Direction; 2. Governance and Leadership; 3. Teaching and Assessing for Learning; 4. Resources and Support Systems; and 5. Using Results for Continuous Improvement. The data reviewed to make this evaluation included student performance results, stakeholder perception data, a self-assessment report completed by the schools and district, a review of artifacts that evidence the districts performance in each standard area, and interviews with a variety of stakeholder groups.
At the conclusion of their three-day visit to the school district, the AdvancED external review team met with board members, administrators, and members of the district’s AdvancED team to provide and exit report and their preliminary findings. A full report of their findings will be provided to the district within the next six weeks and a decision as to whether the district will be accredited will be determined by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission at their next regularly scheduled meeting in June. The external review team reported during the exit meeting that the Mandan School District performed very well in all five of the accreditation standards and that their recommendation will be for the Mandan School District to be accredited by the Commission.
In addition to the recommendation for accreditation, the external review team reported on required actions, or things identified as opportunities for improvement, that the district must respond to. These required actions were: 1. to engage in a systematic, inclusive and comprehensive revision of the system’s vision and mission statements which will be communicated to all stakeholders; 2. to develop and implement a systematic, research based supervision and evaluation process for all personnel, and; 3. to develop a plan for the procurement of district leadership for curriculum and instruction, assessment, and professional development.
Additionally they cited the following powerful practices, or things they have found that the Mandan School District performs at a high level: 1. The school board provides strong governance and leadership as demonstrated through the school board self-assessment, policy manual and clearly delineated lines of authority between the school board and administration; 2. Excellent counseling services support the social, academic, and career planning needs of all students, and; 3. Staff has developed a positive relationship with students in their respective schools and throughout the child’s educational career.
The preliminary findings and exit report of the external review team reflect very positively on the Mandan School District and the efforts that it continues to make toward providing a high quality educational program for the students of our community. We are anxious to receive the full AdvancED accreditation report and use the findings to not only celebrate success, but to act upon opportunities for improvement as well.
The preliminary exit report of the AdvancED external review team can be found on the web at mandan.k12.nd.us.