DeKalb West School will be recommended for AdvancED reaccreditation by members of an external review team who visited the school this week.
"The External Review Team recommends to the AdvancED Accreditation Commission that DeKalb West School earn the distinction of accreditation by AdvancED for a five year term that expires June 30, 2019," said Dr. Alice Patterson, AdvancED Lead Evaluator who addressed members of the administration, faculty, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, School Board member Jerry Wayne Johnson, and WJLE at DeKalb West School in an exit report meeting Wednesday afternoon.
"DeKalb West School is doing a magnanimous job. You come to school every day doing what you need to do to educate the children in your community," said Dr. Patterson.
But along with the recommendation for reaccreditation, the team cited an improvement priority that must be addressed with a plan of action within two years. "Every school must have one (improvement priority). That's an AdvancED mandate," said Dr. Patterson. The improvement priority for DeKalb West is to "plan, develop, and implement explicit, differentiated instruction to engage students in rigorous learning opportunities and authentic assessments to meet the individualized needs of all learners".
"You know you have an achievement gap and you know your achievement gap is with your students with disabilities and your general education population. You have good instruction in your classrooms but we look at how you differentiate your instruction at all levels. Your RTI (Reading to Intervention) addresses your struggling learners but your students who are proficient moving to advanced, what do you do to differentiate that instruction? What do you do to challenge those students? How do you level learning within your classroom? We need to work with all of our students with the individual needs of those students at the level those students are going to be successful. We're suggesting that you increase your professional development opportunities for classroom teachers to utilize data, with fidelity, to improve and differentiate instruction, " said Dr. Patterson.
The AdvancED external review team, made up of four Middle Tennessee educators, met with eighty seven stakeholders in conducting its evaluation of DeKalb West including two members of the administrative team, twenty four members of the instructional team, eleven support staff, seven parents or members of the community, two school board members, and forty one students. The school was evaluated in three domains "Teaching and Learning Impact on Student Performance", "Capacity of Leadership to guide and ensure effectiveness in carrying out the strategic direction of the institution", and "Utilization of Resources".
According to Dr. Patterson, the Index of Education Quality results for DeKalb West School exceeded the expected criteria as well as with other institutions in the AdvancED Network nationally. " We take the three domains and use all of our data and standards indicators to make the connection between what we found locally to a national ranking," she said.
*DeKalb West School's overall IEQ score was 294.87 compared to the AdvancED Network Average of 282.79 (All schools in the network nationally evaluated over the last 12 months)
*Teaching and Learning Impact on student performance: DeKalb West School IEQ Score:291.67. AE Network Average 274.14
*Capacity of Leadership to guide and ensure effectiveness in carrying out the strategic direction of the institution. DeKalb West School IEQ Score: 297.73. AE Network 296.08.
*Resource Utilization: DeKalb West School Score: 300.00. AE Network Average 286.32.
A written external report will be prepared and sent to the AdvancED Tennessee Commission for approval and then to the regional office in Atlanta for final action on reaccreditation in June.
Members of the AdvancED External Review Team who visited DeKalb West School, in addition to Lead Evaluator Dr. Alice Patterson were Dr. Suzanne Harris, Dean of School of Education at Travecca Nazarene University; Berthena Nabaa-McKinney of the Nashville International Academy, a private Pre-K through 8th grade school; and Mae Fowler of the Putnam County School System. Dr. Patterson is a member of the faculty at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville.
The AdvancED Network was created as a result of a merger of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools with the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. "Several years ago SACS merged with North Central and created AdvancED which was the K-12 component for accreditation purposes. AdvancED is now a global leader in providing continuous improvement and accreditation services to over 32,000 institutions serving 20 million students worldwide. Our office is in Atlanta, Georgia serving this region. Our state office is in Nashville," said Dr. Patterson.
DeKalb Middle and Smithville Elementary are also to be evaluated for reaccreditation this year. Northside Elementary was recommended for reaccreditation in late January. DCHS was reaccredited last year.