Bryan County Schools is routinely ranked among the best districts in the state.
School officials will find out today how those rankings stack up against the findings of the accrediting agency AdvancedEd at a called school board meeting at 2:30 p.m in Black Creek.
AdvancedEd, formerly known as SACS CASI — short for the Southern Association of Colleges And Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement — has had representatives in Bryan County since Sunday, where they’ve been interviewing stakeholders, poring over records and visiting schools.
One of those interviewed was school board Chairman Eddie Warren, who said he expects the system to get passing grades, though he said it’s mandatory that the agency find something that needs improvement before the next accreditation five years down the road.
“The only thing I can say for certain is that with the teachers we have in Bryan County, I have 100-percent faith that we will be re-accredited,” he said. “On the other side of that coin, I really don’t have a clue what they may leave us to work on.”
The meeting with AdvancedEd’s team today marks the end of preparations that began some time ago.
“This is not something you can come back from Christmas break and say, ‘Let’s get all our ducks in a row,’” Warren said. “This is documentation of information that has been going on for quite some time. It’s definitely not a one-week deal. This is stuff you have to plan for years in advance to make sure everything is being done to standards, the way it’s supposed to be done.”
In July at a board workshop, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brad Anderson announced the system would undergo accreditation as a whole for the first time. In the past, schools in Bryan County were accredited individually.
“After some discussion we felt it would be better for us to do it as a system,” Anderson said at the July workshop. “Instead of putting all the pressure on the individual schools, it puts a good deal of pressure on our system itself.”
Anderson said having an “external eye” look at the system is a good thing, and in a recent press release announcing the arrival of the accreditation team, Bryan County Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher echoed that thought.
“Bryan County Schools is a great system,” Brooksher said. “We believe strongly that the AdvancED accreditation process will make us even better. Our entire community will benefit when the system commits to examining all of its processes and systems to determine what more we can be doing to benefit the constituents we serve. This is the essence of the accreditation process.”
In addition to examining everything from policies and procedures to the way the BoE deals with the public, AdvancedEd’s team visited four schools this week as part of its inspection — Lanier Primary, Bryan County Middle, Carver Elementary and Richmond Hill High.
The schools were apparently chosen at random, but AdvancedEd’s website says the overall process is anything but.
“Today accreditation examines the whole institution — the programs, the cultural context, the community of stakeholders — to determine how well the parts work together to meet the needs of students,” it said.