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School system launches SACS update web site

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Clayton County residents now have a place to let their fingers do the clicking, if they want regular updates about the school system's ongoing accreditation crisis, officials announced on Thursday.

The system launched a new web site, called "Changing CCPS," to make documents and progress reports readily available to parents of Clayton County students. The address for the web site is: www.changingccps.org/.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) revoked the district's accreditation in September largely because of a dysfunctional school board.

"The site was established to keep the public informed on SACS accreditation issues," said Dr. Angie Bacon, the district's chief information officer, in a press release. "We used a variation of our award-winning web presence to illustrate the excellence in workmanship that is going into achieving our accreditation reputation."

A SACS review team will visit the district April 13-16, to monitor the school board's behavior during a meeting, and to conduct interviews. After the visit is completed, the team will make a recommendation to SACS, and its parent organization, the AdvancED Accreditation Commission, about whether Clayton County schools deserve re-accreditation.

District leaders want to regain the accreditation before the end of the school year, so graduating seniors can receive a diploma from a SACS accredited school system.

"Changing CCPS" is not the district's first attempt to place all SACS-related information in one place. The school system has had pages set up on its web site to post some accreditation documents and questions-and-answer forms, since the beginning of the year.

"We just wanted to enhance our efforts to keep the public informed on our progress towards getting the accreditation re-instated," said District Spokesman Charles White.

The school system has action plans for each of SACS' nine mandates for improvement listed on the web site, as well as all presentations made to the school board during its meetings.

School System Spokesperson Jacqueline Evans said the power-point presentation Deputy Superintendent Judith Simmons gave to the board on Monday has already been posted on the new web site. During that presentation, Simmons went through each mandate, and told board members whether district leaders felt the board was "emerging" or "operational."

Parents will be able to view progress made toward meeting each mandate. There is a page which contains a link to each mandate. Upon clicking the button for a particular page for a mandate, parents can see a list of bullet points outlining steps taken to meet the re-accreditation requirement. There is also a frequently-asked-questions page for teachers, students and parents.

Messages from Superintendent John Thompson and school board members also are posted on the site. So far, only Thompson and outgoing board members Lindsey McDaniel and Trena Morris have posted messages on the site.

"Parents and students need to know their diploma will be meaningful going forward," said Thompson in his message. "Teachers and staff deserve the confidence that comes from working in an accredited system ... In short, we are all in this together and we will have to work as a team to move beyond the mistakes of the past and into a brighter future."