Marietta Schools get high marks from SACS
by Lindsay Field
December 13, 2012 01:07 AM | 2801 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — With only one criticism given, which representatives said they had to dig to find, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has recommended re-accreditation to Marietta City Schools.

Six SACS representatives reviewed the district for reaccreditation between Monday and Wednesday. The last review was in October 2007. Marietta’s current five-year accreditation expires June 30, 2013.

During their visit, SACS representatives interviewed 351 district stakeholders, including Superintendent Emily Lembeck, board members, district-level administrators, instructional coaches, principals, parents, business partners, teachers and students.

They also observed classes at Marietta High, Marietta Middle, Marietta Sixth Grade Academy, Marietta Center for Advanced Academics, and Dunleith and Park Street elementary schools.

On Wednesday, SACS review committee chair James Brown told the school board and members of each school’s administrative staff that the reviewers’ standards were rated on a scale of 1 to 4, with one indicating “minimal performance.” The standards are purpose and direction, governance and leadership, resources and support systems, using results for continuous improvement, and teaching and assessing for learning.

Marietta received a 3.0 or higher on the standards.

“Most school districts fall in the middle, between the 2 and the 3,” Brown said. “You should be congratulated.”

The lowest score was a 1.9 for the district’s digital learning environment.

“Don’t be alarmed about that. All of the school districts that we have done with the new protocol have fallen in this range,” Brown said. “As a matter of fact, this is the highest one I’ve ever seen.”

“We were looking at students to see how they were using technology to engage themselves in the learning process, so while we may have seen the teacher using the smart board or the computer to communicate with students, if the students were not actually engaged in using technology, we could not give you credit for that,” he said.

The highest score of 3.3 was given for a having well-managed learning environment.

“That’s most important because you understand that students do not do well when the learning environment is not well-managed,” Brown said.

The only action required by the team was that the district work on building stronger relationships between students and faculty.

“I’m pleased to say that we had to dig and dig and dig to find a required action for the Marietta City School District,” he said. “Regardless of how well a school district might be achieving, or regardless of how well students might be performing … there is always room for growth.”

Lembeck said the district would start working on that task immediately.

“While we are doing a better job assuring that students have mentors and programs like the Boys and Girls Club available for our middle schools on campus, they really want to ensure that during the school day and within the walls of the school that there is constant relationship-building with individual students,” she said.

A copy of the full report will be sent to the board within the next 30 days, and the AdvancEd Accreditation Commission will make a final decision on accreditation by June.

The accreditation will be recorded as full, advisement, warn, probation or revocation.
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