An evaluation organization on Wednesday recommended re-accreditation for the Lafayette Parish school system, awarding the system an average score while also pointing out areas that could use improvement.
Nonprofit accreditation group AdvancED presented an abbreviated version of its findings at a board workshop before a full report of its evaluation is made available in four to six weeks.
“I think the end result is we’ve got a tool that we can use and we’ll continue to use over the next couple of years to improve,” said Don Aguillard, the school district superintendent.
The school system went through a full accreditation process in 2005 and a less-extensive renewal visit in 2010. Because a decade had lapsed, AdvancED performed the full accreditation process this year.
AdvancED evaluators, who represent school systems throughout Louisiana and elsewhere in the U.S., conducted more than 250 interviews and visited 79 classrooms across the district’s 42 schools, said lead evaluator William Rivenbark, a retired superintendent from North Carolina.
“I don’t think you have a problem,” Rivenbark told Lafayette Parish School Board members and district administrators.
All school systems that undergo the accreditation process receive recommendations for improvement that must be addressed within two years, regardless of their score, Rivenbark said.
Most of the recommendations involve setting systemwide protocols where the district showed inconsistencies, including in how teachers adjust their instruction to meet the needs of different students, how they define assignment expectations to students, and teachers’ grading and reporting practices.
Evaluators also noted the district lacks a system for providing long-term student-mentor relationships, Rivenbark said, and a systemwide technology evaluation.
Still, evaluators commended the district for its progress since their initial visit last summer, including its efforts to address a long list of facilities needs and to train staff to use and evaluate student performance data.
They also commended the school system for its strong partnerships with community organizations, but encouraged the district to further that involvement to help increase community support for district goals and initiatives.
The school system will see that relationship measured in April, when voters will decide whether to approve separate 11.5-mill and 2.5-mill property tax increases to support school construction and facilities maintenance, respectively.
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