In their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22, the Cherokee Central Schools School Board welcomed Dr. Donna James, the state director for AdvancED, the parent organization for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). Dr. James presented the board with a plaque and a banner from AdvancEd, recognizing their achievement for district accreditation. This means that the school district and all of its schools are accredited, and Cherokee Central Schools is recognized across the nation as a quality school system.
Dr. James commented, “You join 63 other school districts across North Carolina who has achieved district accreditation.”
Last spring, Cherokee Central Schools hosted a Quality Assurance Review (QAR) team from AdvancEd, the final step in the district accreditation process. Comprised of five trained professionals from across the state and nation, the QAR team reviewed district documents and performance data, interviewed over 126 district, school, and community stakeholders, conducted site visits to three schools, and observed district and school practices.
The team commended the district for
- School leadership, faculty, and support staff who consistently demonstrate a genuine commitment to a caring and nurturing learning environment. The team also commended the district for
- Cultural preservation and development that is embedded within the entire learning environment and includes a commitment to Sacred Path by all stakeholders.
- Access to an abundance of resources including outstanding facilities, 21st century technology, specialized staff, and a diversity of funding sources that strengthen academic and cultural opportunities for students.
- Maximizing benefits from numerous tribal, community, and other collaborative partnerships.
In addition, the team recommended that the district
- Develop and implement a plan to strengthen the overall stability and continuity of district leadership and governance including strategic pacing of school administrative shifts and the orientation and on-going professional growth of school board members that focuses on defining roles and responsibilities.
- Develop and implement a plan for vertical articulation across all grade levels to advance continuity among curricular and strategic planning processes and involve representatives from all stakeholder groups.
- Implement an aggressive and time-sensitive plan to monitor the school improvement process, address overall and subgroup deficiencies in student performance, and engage all stakeholders.
The school system will be developing plans to respond to and address these recommendations. In two years, the district will provide AdvancED a progress report addressing the team’s recommendations.