A team of educators is putting the East Baton Rouge Parish school system under the microscope this week during a visit that will determine whether the system retains its hard-won districtwide accreditation earned in 2009.
The 17-member team from AdvancED arrived Sunday night and is wrapping up its work at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at a special School Board meeting where it will disclose its recommendation of whether to renew accreditation for five more years. That recommendation is typically endorsed by AdvancED’s national board.
Twenty-two public school districts and two Catholic school systems in Louisiana are accredited by AdvancED. AdvancED is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that accredits primary and secondary schools throughout the United States as well as internationally.
East Baton Rouge’s accreditation in 2009 required the school system to conduct a media promotional campaign, which it did, to correct what reviewers saw as a disconnect between the quality of the schools and how people perceived them.
“Interviews with district personnel and community stakeholders, as well as site visits to individual schools provided evidence that the quality of education and public perception of the educational quality were out of alignment,” Eddie Krenson, a senior vice president with AdvancED and leader of the visiting team, told the School Board in April 2009.
The latest visiting team is led by North Carolina-based educational consultant George Griffin.
Wednesday’s meeting is the culmination of a months-long process that required not only the school district, but all of the 80-plus schools in the district to submit reports.
The 17-member team is split between educators from Louisiana and educators from other states. The team is visiting 20 schools this week, and is interviewing School Board members, principals, parents and community leaders.
To retain accreditation, East Baton Rouge Parish schools must meet standards in five areas: purpose and direction; governance and leadership; teaching and assessing for learning; resources and support systems; and using results for continuous improvement.
On Jan. 15, Stacy Dupre briefed the School Board on the visit.
She is director of school initiatives and has spent the past months shepherding the reaccreditation process.
She said the 20 schools the AdvancED team are visiting represent a cross section of the parish, based on school performance scores.
“We want them to see everything and all the wonderful things we have in EBR,” she said.
She assured the board the school system success by Wednesday’s School Board meeting.
“At that time, I’m sure they are going to continue our accreditation,” she said.
Wednesday’s meeting is being held at the School Board Office, 1050 S. Foster Drive.