School District 56 will begin preparing this spring for an accreditation review from Cognia, a new organization for evaluating schools.
The evaluating organization has gone through several names - Advanced Ed, SACS (Southern Association of College and Schools) - through the years. Cognia representatives will meet virtually with school board members and district staff to determine the accreditation status.
In a presentation Monday to the District 56 Board of Trustees, Dr. Brenda Schrantz, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said beginning in April she will bring to the board regular accreditation updates.
“They will examine the whole system,” she said, “how the parts work together.”
Accreditation is required every 5 years. The process will happen in the 2021-22 school year.
The district has selected preferred dates - two in November and one in January, 2022 - for virtual visits with the accreditation evaluators. Schrantz said the process will assist with district and school strategic plans. She called accreditation “a continuous improvement cycle.”
Also during its Monday night meeting, the school board was told the KRA (kindergarten readiness assessment) shows that students going into and through kindergarten did show “slippage” because schools were closed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2018 and 2019 these students were “more ready to go,” Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields said.
“In 2020, 80-90 percent approach readiness. That does not demonstrate proficiency, we have some work ahead,” O’Shields said.
Board Member Tammy Stewart said the readiness assessment does show “what a tremendous job our teachers do when we have (the students) all year long; the students show a need and we bring them to readiness.”
She added, “We don’t have high school graduates without students making those gains (early in school).”
Coming from executive session, a majority of the board voted to pursue a land purchase adjacent to Eastside Elementary School, and a unanimous board voted to extend 16 administrative contracts to district office employees (O’Shields said this action normally is taken during February).
The board was informed about upcoming district days:
-- Feb. 25, Joanna Woodson Night at Dominos Pizza (proceeds of take-out pizzas sold goes to the school);
-- March 4, 9 am - 2 pm, blood drive at Clinton High School; and
-- March 18, an “Ask Me Anything” virtual presentation of middle and high school extracurricular activities (these virtual meetings are on the District Facebook page).
Also, March 22 will be the next meeting of the School District 56 Board of Trustees, 7:30 pm in the CHS auditorium - masks are provided and socially distanced seating is available.