SACS visits Clayton County schools

By Greg Gelpi

Accreditation is again up for review for Clayton County schools.

The school system's accrediting agency is conducting on site reviews of Clayton County elementary and middle schools this week.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement will meet with officials at each school and discuss work done since their last review.

The visits are part of a regular cycle of visits that occur every five years and have nothing to do with the warning status that the school system is under, said Paul Robbins, the school system official who works with SACS accreditation. The school system as a whole had been on a year-long probation. That probation was lifted in June, and remains in warning status for not meeting system-wide standards for SACS accreditation.

About 190 teachers, principals and central office staff from around the state will conduct the visits, Robbins said.

The purpose of the visits is two-fold: to verify compliance with SACS standards and practices and verify the methods of instruction being used are able to attain the highest level of academic achievement, he said.

The information from the visits will be collected and reported back to the school system up to 90 after the visits, Robbins said.

All 12 middle schools and 31 elementary schools, except for Kemp Primary School and Marshall Elementary School, the system's newest schools, are being visited. The high schools are reviewed individually and are done so on a different schedule from the elementary and middle schools.

The visits began Sunday and conclude today.

SACS placed the school system on probation for violating system policies and procedures and for the members of the school board meddling in the daily operations of the school system.

The team that visited the school system prior to probation being lifted found seven areas of improvement.

They cited hiring Superintendent Barbara Pulliam from a national search, conducting a board professional retreat, establishing a process for reviewing and revising policies, the superintendent's work with the central office and school board to develop a "cohesive administrative team," opening up the budgetary process to the school system and community and the "orderly process" of the board in recent meetings.

SACS accredits more than 13,000 schools and school systems throughout the country and overseas, including all of the schools in the Clayton County school system.