With the accreditation process approaching, high school principal Angela Crevar gives insightful information about what she wants to see from the students and faculty members.
“We are accredited with Cognia, a regional accrediting system. A regional accreditation represents a level of rigor and institutional effectiveness that would be considered preparatory for college or career readiness. When you have that level of accreditation, it signifies that you [as a school] are doing things in a way that aligns with the best in educational pedagogy and instructional appropriateness in accordance with your professional standards commission,” Principal Angela Crevar said.
Q: Why does accreditation have to be renewed? “Accreditation is a level of achieved professionalism. It is represented a little bit more on your transcript.... The benefit that it gives a school is professional acceptance. Our transcripts are respected at the postsecondary level for meeting Georgia requirements for graduation. Accreditation also makes our students eligible for Hope, which we all want for our students when they go to college.”
Q: How does it change the management of the school? “The point of accreditation is to guide the school. It causes us to reflect and evaluate our processes. We don’t change the management of the school for the sake of accreditation. We change according to the needs of our stakeholders or to improve our processes. Of course, if the review team recommends an area of improvement, we would take that seriously. The accreditation committee will review our process for accountability and efficacy purposes.”
Q: What does the accreditation renewal entail for students? “We want to hear your feedback . There will be a series of surveys for our students to fill out, and we want honest input. If there is something our students are worried about, we want our students to tell us. They do not have to wait for the accreditation process to come around to tell us. There are also times when you [the students] might have a great idea. For example, the homecoming parade was an idea from students and a coach, so we had a homecoming parade this year. The concept of Honors classes also came from students and families. This time the accreditation process will be through a digital review. The accreditation team will have focus groups to meet with students, instead of visiting our classrooms.”
Q: What does it entail for teachers? “Basically, we want to show what teachers are doing in the classrooms, and the teachers have to demonstrate how they meet standards in their instruction. We have divided up the Key Characteristics of evaluation into four groups. Teachers select standards and show how they meet those standards. Stakeholders, like teachers, evaluate how we are meeting those standards. This is where we will see the areas we need to improve and where we are doing well. We want to continue to improve in the areas where we are doing well and adjust to improve other areas.”
Q: What if a school fails the accreditation process? “Well, it depends on if the failureoccurredinaspecific area or if there was an overall failure to meet criteria. In most cases, a school would be put on probation and an improvement plan would be instituted. A school that is struggling ... might be evaluated more frequently or have other criteria they are required to meet within specified time frames.”
Q: What are the pros and cons of being in a smaller school? “When we receive accreditation, we are saying that an outside agency has come in and evaluated our practices, our rigor level and our appropriateness of instruction. [This team] has rated the school and has given it a score. In the past, these scores have been publicized. With this scoring system, information is made publicly available. For example, if UGA wanted to, they could see where our school ranked instructionally. Our students who have gone to UGA and GA Tech have represented us well. That speaks highly of our school. Having a strong Cognia accreditation standing behind our school only helps our school’s reputation.”
In order for the accreditation process to be successful, all stakeholders must participate, or the accreditation may fall short.
The vision of the administration during this process is to have the high school students take ownership and participate in the review of their school and its plan for the future. The accreditation process can only help the students at The King’s Academy. 0