DeKalb school board shows “significant progress,” but remains on probation

DeKalb’s newly appointed school board has made some “noteworthy” and positive changes, but “it’s too early to tell” if the school system can stay on track and regain full accreditation, officials said Friday.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the agency that accredits DeKalb County Schools, recently sent a team to the school system to measure its progress.

And though the team found evidence of improvement, SACS officials voiced concern that the school system could be facing more “upheaval” should the school board membership change again.

Six board members were suspended and replaced earlier this year by Gov. Nathan Deal after the system was placed on accreditation probation. Five of the six former board members have since asked to be reinstated.

“While significant progress has been made in the last few months,” said Mark A. Elgart, Ed.D., president and CEO of AdvancED, the parent company of SACS. “The school system is in a precarious position to ensure that this progress is sustained.”

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According to a press release issued Friday by AdvancED, the review team visited the school system from May 15-17 and found the new board is working to “avoid undermining the authority of the superintendent and helping to create a culture supportive of school system leaders in managing day-to-day operations of the system and schools.”

The review team cautioned, however, that “it is too early to determine the system’s ability to stabilize and maintain the patterns of behavior, management procedures, fiscal operation and adherence to AdvancED Accreditation Standards and Policies”

“The Monitoring Review Team recognized demonstrated progress in the climate and atmosphere of the DeKalb County School District,” Elgart. “The superintendent is providing necessary and effective leadership in refocusing the system on its primary purpose – student achievement.”

The report indicated the school system made progress in all 11 required actions from the Special Review Team report from October 2012.

The DeKalb County school system is to remain on probation. Another monitoring review team will be in the district in December, at which time the accreditation status will be again reviewed.

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