Rockford to Take Next Step in School Improvement

by JULIE DEVEREAUX, Principal
Meadow Ridge Elementary

The North Central Association (NCA) is the largest accrediting association that monitors schools in the United States. It is a non-governmental voluntary membership association of schools. To sustain membership in NCA, schools must meet both membership and improvement criteria annually and engage in continuous school improvement that focuses on improving student performance.

Prior to 1990, only the Rockford High School was a member of NCA. In the fall of 1990, a decision was made by the Rockford Public Schools Board of Education to begin the process to accredit all schools in the Rockford district. Since that time, every building has achieved membership and accreditation. The NCA process to school improvement is systematic, data driven, and results in significant improvement over time. The school improvement that has been documented by individual Rockford schools during the last 18 years, is very impressive.

In the fall of 2006, the NCA, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and National Study of School Evaluation (NSSE) came together to form one strong and unified organization called AdvancED. In November 2007, an agreement between the Michigan Department of Education and AdvancED was reached to satisfy the state’s requirements while also meeting the school’s AdvancEd accreditation.

AdvancEd is the world’s largest education community, representing over 23,000 public and private schools and districts in 30 states and 65 countries, serving over 15 million students. Through AdvancED, NCA has defined shared, research-based accreditation standards that cross state, regional and national boundaries. Accompanying these, standards and accreditation process are intended to enhance quality, reduce duplication of effort with state processes, and simplify procedures.

Rockford Public Schools’ next step is to begin a district accreditation process through AdvancED. That process has begun with a Readiness Visit scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 20. To earn AdvancED district accreditation, Rockford will have to:

  • meet the AdvancED accreditation standards;
  • implement a continuous process of improvement; and
  • host an external review team once every five years.

This process is rigorous and demonstrates that the Rockford district is focused on raising student achievement, providing safe and enriching learning environments, and maintaining efficient and effective operations staffed by highly qualified educators. This accreditation commission will provide a nationally recognized mark of quality for our district and all the schools within it. It demonstrates Rockford’s commitment to excellence, our openness to external review and feedback, and our desire to be the best we can be on behalf of the students we serve.

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