Before evaluators visit Lafayette Parish schools to assess the school system as part of its accreditation process, they want to know what parents, students and staff think about their own school.

AdvancED, a nonprofit and nonpartisan group that evaluates educational institutions, is collecting survey responses as part of its evaluation of whether the school system will maintain its accreditation.

The process is voluntary and recognition that a school system is using best practices and focused on continual improvement, said Annette Samec, the Lafayette Parish school system’s chief academic officer.

As part of that process, parents, students and staff are surveyed on parental involvement, whether the school has established goals, the school’s leadership, the school’s communication with parents, and several questions related to parents’ views on whether teachers are responsive to their child’s learning needs.

The questions are related to the five areas evaluators will review during their visit in February: purpose and direction; governance and leadership; teaching and assessing for learning; resources and support systems; and accountability data and how the district uses results for improvement.

Some of the parent surveys are available on the school system’s website listed by school while other schools provided parents the information either directly on their school’s website or through information sent home with students, Samec said.

“All 42 schools are participating and the AdvancED people will collect the information to give us individualized reports to the school and a district as part of a final report,” she said.

The school system went through a full accreditation process 10 years ago and went through a renewal visit in 2010 that’s not as extensive as the full accreditation process, Samec explained.

Because it’s been 10 years, the school system faces another full accreditation process.

“The district wants to be accredited as being a sound program,” Samec said. “It’s a quality assurance process that gives the community, the public, the business community the assurance that we’re in line with best practices.”

Evaluators will visit the district Feb. 14-17 and provide a report on their findings during a special meeting planned Feb. 17, though the accreditation decision won’t be released until a later date, Samec said.

The Lafayette Parish school system is one of 22 public school districts in the state meeting the AdvancED accreditation standards, according to the group’s website. The dioceses of Houma-Thibodaux and Baton Rouge have also achieved districtwide accreditation.

Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.