Cobb schools accreditation special review set for August

Cognia's special review of the Cobb County School District will be held Aug. 15-18. Credit: CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

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Cognia's special review of the Cobb County School District will be held Aug. 15-18. Credit: CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

The organization that accredits the Cobb County School District will conduct an on-site review of the system in August.

Cognia’s special review will occur Aug. 15-18, the district said Tuesday in a news release. The organization notified the school district in April of the review after a request from Democratic school board members Charisse Davis, Jaha Howard and Leroy “Tre” Hutchins.

They said in a January letter that their attempts to put items on meeting agendas were ignored: employee safety and morale during the COVID-19 pandemic, early literacy and governance training for board members.

Cognia CEO Mark Elgart previously told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it also received more than 50 complaints from community members about Cobb schools. Most center on board and district leadership and governance concerns, he said.

ExploreCobb schools’ accreditation not immediately threatened by special review

The district said its staff members have spent more than 600 hours preparing for the review, which Elgart said will be done by a team made up of volunteers who are educational leaders in and outside of Georgia.

Once the on-site visit takes place, Elgart told the AJC the report compiled by its team will be done 30 to 60 days. The report will be supplied to Cobb schools, which will release the findings to the public.

Elgart said Cognia will follow up with the district within three to six months following the report’s release to see how the district is progressing on correcting any problems identified by the review team. The timeline to make those changes is usually about a year, he added.

Cobb isn’t the only metro Atlanta school district under Cognia’s microscope. The organization is also conducting a special review of Gwinnett County Public Schools.

ExploreGwinnett district’s accreditation review targets school board behavior

Complaints submitted about that district include Gwinnett board members not understanding their roles or working together, allowing discriminatory student discipline, using social media unethically and not responding to declines in student achievement, the AJC previously reported.

Both Gwinnett and Cobb are the state’s largest school districts, with about 177,000 and 107,000 students, respectively.