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CSD Accreditation Review


Every five years, we undergo an accreditation review. Our last accreditation was completed in 2016, which means it is time for another review. The timing is challenging, and we’re not permitted to delay this process. We will lean into this review and use the information gleaned from it to celebrate our work and set priorities for improvement.

The accreditation process is an opportunity to validate the great work we do against industry standards. Using research-based standards and evidence-based criteria, we will deeply examine policies, programs, and practices to determine how well various aspects of the district work together to meet our vision and the needs of every student.

A few things have changed since our last accreditation. The most noticeable is that the organization managing our accreditation has changed: AdvancED (SACS) and Measured Progress merged to form Cognia. The process has not fundamentally changed: it still involves system and school teams gathering data and self-assessing our performance against standards. Cognia has three main standards (leading, learning, and resources) and seven quality factors (clear direction, healthy culture, high expectations, impact of instruction, resource management, efficacy of engagement, and implementation capacity) in lieu of the five standards used by AdvancED. Also, Cognia calls the accreditation visit an “engagement review.” Due to COVID-19, the engagement review will be held entirely virtual for our K-12 schools. Additionally, the engagement review will not include any classroom observations for K-12. College Heights is also completing their accreditation this year, but there will be a few in-person visits for College Heights.

Throughout November, school and district teams will train on the processes and procedures for the engagement review. Starting in November and wrapping up by mid-December, stakeholders will complete surveys on culture, climate, and engagement. Throughout November and continuing into January, school and district teams will gather evidence and summarize their findings. By mid-February, our completed work will be submitted to Cognia. In March, we will finalize the engagement review schedule and select stakeholders to participate in focus group interviews. Cognia will conduct our engagement review in the last week of March. We expect to receive the final accreditation report by the end of April.

Additionally, principals will begin creating school accreditation teams over the next few weeks, consisting of staff, SLT members, and other stakeholders. Wilson Center and other administrative staff will likewise be tapped to support this important work. Stay tuned for additional information from your principal about how families and community members can support the accreditation review. As a result of the accreditation process, we will celebrate our areas of excellence and identify targeted priorities to guide our improvement efforts.

Part of the accreditation process is gathering stakeholder feedback. Surveys will be conducted at the district and local school level. The link below is to gather information from our families and community regarding engagement in our district decision-making processes.

Please access the City Schools of Decatur Family and Community Engagement Survey with this link.