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Rowan-Salisbury Schools get four-star rating

By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
The Rowan-Salisbury Schools earned what amounts to a four-star rating from an international education evaluation group.
Dozens of administrators, staff members and the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education gathered Wednesday afternoon at Horizons Unlimited for the results of months of of preparatory work.
Joe Delaney, chairman of the visitation committee from AdvancED, delivered the good news. The eight-member visitation committee unanimously voted for accreditation of the school system.
“A lot of people (in the Rowan-Salisbury School System) are doing a lot of good things,” Delaney said.
He cited dozens of interviews, particularly with the public, which found a high level of confidence in the school system.
“You should be very proud of your school system,” Delaney said, adding that his team will spread the word about the good things being done here, creating a ripple effect that will spread.
AdvanceEd is the new educational accreditation group formed by the merger of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the North Central Association. The new association now has 23,000 schools in 30 states and spans 65 countries around the world.
While individual schools or combinations of schools in the Rowan-Salisbury School System have gone through the Southern Association accreditation process in the past, this is the first time the entire system has gone through the process.
“It was an outstanding visit,” Delaney said, going on to praise the preparation.
A team of educators in the system prepared a self-study looking at all facets of the school system and also prepared recommendations on how to make improvements.
“There is a real sense in this school system is poised … to deal with challenges,” said Delaney, repeatedly saying the system has the “human capital” to confront and deal with all challenges.
He briefly touched on challenges that include an increase in Hispanic students, the need for new buildings and the need for a new central office. Delaney also cited current economic woes and job losses.
The committee arrived Sunday and talked with around 300 people including teachers, principals, other staff members and the public.
Delaney said they “universally heard” from everyone a sense of pride in the school system, and a real sense of confidence in the school district.
Dr. Jim Emerson, chairman of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education, said he had pushed for the system-wide accreditation since joining the board.
The accreditation report will go to the board, which will provide a final report to the school system within 30 days.
Responding to a question, Delaney said any new school that is opened in the next five years will automatically be accredited.
In two years AdvancEd will review the system’s progress in meeting its goals. The accreditation process will be repeated in five years, a process Delaney promised will be “much more palatable,” since the system has completed the first one.
He urged the board to widely disseminate copies of the final report throughout the community.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254 or jburchette@ salisburypost.com.

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