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Review team recommends accreditation for GCPS

SUWANEE -- An academic accreditation review team that visited this week with Gwinnett County Public Schools gave district leaders a report on Wednesday, much of which reflected positively on the school system.

In light of its findings, the Quality Assurance Review Team with AdvancED/Southern Association of Colleges and Schools plans to recommend GCPS get full accreditation for another five-year cycle.

A SACS team visits a school district every five years to determine how well it is working to meet students' needs.

Mike Griffin, chairman of the Quality Assurance Review Team, told officials Wednesday that the team visited this week with a cross section of the district: stopping by 28 schools, interviewing 194 administrators, 258 teachers and three local school board members.

In the review team's findings, Griffin outlined the following required actions:

-- Ascertain validity and reliability of interim assessments.

-- Increase integration of instructional technology in all curriculum areas.

-- Develop an all-encompassing process for stakeholders to review system foundations documents such as mission and vision.

Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said he agreed with all the points.

"I think they're right on target," Wilbanks said following Wednesday's presentation. "This has been good input for us, and we will take it all to heart."

The review team also commended the school for the following:

-- Strong, stable leadership using district vision as a catalyst for change.

-- Strategic thinking, planning and action across all divisions.

-- Flexibility to innovate at the school level monitored by district.

-- Relevant staff development that serves as foundation for improvement efforts.

"There were many," Griffin said, "but these commendations we felt like were representative."

According to its website, SACS is one of six regional accreditation organizations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

After the review team provides the report to the SACS commission, it will determine whether to officially renew the district's accreditation.