FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Every five years beginning in 2007 and continuing in 2012, Forsyth County Schools earned AdvancED district accreditation. And now, the district has earned it for a third time.
AdvancED conducts external reviews of schools and systems to, “ensure all learners realize their full potential,” according to its website.
“Accreditation is an affirmation of powerful practices that occur in our schools and district each and every day,” said Superintendent Jeff Bearden. “We are grateful to the work of our school board, school and district staff, and parents and community members and for their commitment to continuous improvement and supporting the growth of our students.”
Each year, Forsyth follows a continuous improvement process that aligns the district's vision, mission, beliefs, Learner Profile and School and Department Improvement Plans with the county’s Strategic Plan and AdvancED Standards.
For 2016-17, the district conducted an internal review for the accreditation visit. State and national testing scores, along with graduation rates were considered.
Nearly half of all students, 23 percent of parents and 89 percent of staff completed a survey giving the district a high score. .
Staff said the school purpose is clearly focused on student success, and leaders expect staff members to hold all students to high academic standards.
Parents said they feel the schools have a safe learning environment and there are high expectations for students in all classes.
Areas for improvement included students wanting teachers to encourage family to attend school activities, teachers asking students what they think about school and all teachers adapting their instruction to meet individual needs.
Staff said the data training could be an opportunity for improvement.
Parents expressed a desire to see teachers infuse more examples of how education is relevant in everyday life.
An external review team from AdvancED visited Forsyth County Schools Feb. 5-8 to focus on the teaching and learning impact, leadership capacity and resource utilization.
The external review team interviewed close to 300 stakeholders, reviewed school and district data and evidence, and provided a list of practices and improvement priorities.
Those included recognizing themes like rapid growth and increasing diversity, using the learner profile to help create a school system and not a system of schools and personalized learning.
“Forsyth County School District provides a systemic and systematic process for monitoring and supporting the instructional practices of teachers to ensure student success,” the report said. “This process is supported by a collaborative structure that focuses on improved instruction and student learning at all levels.”