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Accreditation: A base from which to build quality schools in Martin County

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Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, states that “Accreditation” is a process in which certification of competency, authority, or credibility is presented. Further, “certification” refers to the confirmation of certain characteristics of an object, person, or organization. This confirmation is often, but not always, provided by some form of external review, education, assessment, or audit. Accreditation is a specific organization's process of certification.

Recently, the Martin County School District (MCSD) was granted AdvancED Education Service Agency (ESA) Accreditation from the AdvancED Accreditation Commission, the national commission that confers the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement accreditation seal. This means that the district and all the schools it operates are accredited, and that the Martin County School District is recognized across the nation as a quality system.

The accreditation process involves three ongoing components: 1) meeting high quality standards; 2) implementing a continuous process of improvement; and 3) engaging in quality assurance through internal and external review. The agency’s accreditation is for a five-year term with regular monitoring of progress and reporting occurring during the term.

“ESA Accreditation as conferred by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission provides the Martin County School District with a nationally-recognized mark of quality for the district and all the schools we operate,” shared Superintendent Laurie Gaylord. “It demonstrates to our community our commitment to excellence, our openness to external review and feedback and our desire to be the best we can be on behalf of the community we serve.”

Dr. Mark Elgart, President/CEO of AdvancED, stated, “AdvancED Education Service Agency Accreditation is a rigorous process that focuses the entire system on the primary goal of creating lifelong learners. The Martin County School District is to be commended for engaging in this process and demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement.”

AdvancED observed the district’s “powerful practices” to include:

  • The superintendent’s efforts to build a climate of trust and reliability are recognized by district and school leaders as well as the board and community stakeholders.
  • Evidence supports the system’s strong ongoing commitment to preparing students for future careers through the career academy programs.
  • Stakeholder interviews verified that the school district has sustained and implemented the Rivers Coalition and River Kidz Project to promote student learning and valuing of the environment.
  • All stakeholder groups validated the existence of a strong, safe and orderly environment throughout the district and expressed a collective appreciation for the ongoing focus on maintaining a secure environment for students and staff.

Having received accreditation lays a foundation for the schools in Martin County to build; but a foundation is just the beginning of what must be achieved by parents, teachers and the community to insure that every student receives a quality of education with achievements that will foster success for the challenges one may face on the constant road of productive yet cooperative and progressive living in America and around the World.

REF: Martin County School District e-Newsletter July 2014

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