After finalizing their report from a monitoring review mid-June with Cognia’s (formerly AdvancED) Accreditation Committee Review Team, the Liberty County School System received word Monday that they attained Cognia’s Highest Level of Accreditation.
Due to their review and report Cognia has changed the previous LCSS accreditation status from “Accredited Under Review” to the highest accreditation status of “Accredited.”
The Cognia Committee reviewed the district’s progress toward addressing accreditation standards, improvement priorities, and directives it received in January 2018 when AdvancED paid a visit to the LCSS to address continuous complaints made against the governing board.
According to a press release issued by the LCSS the Cognia Committee concluded that the LCSS has met Accreditation Standards 1.4 and 1.5.
Standard 1.4 addressed the governing authority’s ability to establish and ensure adherence to policies that are designed to support system effectiveness.
According to the review team’s monitoring report, they conducted individual interviews with the seven school board members. When questioned about a policy audit and the development of a timeline for review of all board policies, board members explained the audit led by the law firm of Harbin, Hartley and Hawkins, and the adoption of a staggered schedule provided a review of one-fourth of the board policies each year. The superintendent and thirteen-member district leadership team provided the same explanation of policy audits and reviews.
The report went on to say that parents and community leaders also echoed similar sentiments regarding the Board’s actions. The report said stakeholders found that board meetings are now more meaningful and structured with less confusion or infighting among board members. Both groups informed the team that there is much more positive communication among the different media formats related to the Board and how they are currently representing the system as a highly functional board. Members of the Board seem to work more cohesively and as a team.
Standard 1.5 addressed the governing authority’s ability to adhere to a code of ethics and functions within defined roles and responsibilities.
The report stated that the team reviewed numerous artifacts, documents, and video recordings of school board meetings from January 2018 to June 2020. Reviews of agendas and sign-in sheets revealed that board members have met or exceeded the state required annual hours of training and an overwhelming majority of members have participated in whole board training sessions. Interviews with board members and the review of artifacts revealed that whole board training sessions have been regularly scheduled and facilitated by the Georgia School Boards Association and the Carl Vinson Institute.
“This is a great accomplishment for the leadership team and allows us to continue to move forward for the betterment of the students of Liberty County,” said Dr. Franklin Perry, Superintendent of Schools.
The Cognia Review Team complimented the district on its progress and commitment to meeting the Accreditation Performance Standards on behalf of all learners in the district. The review of evidence, along with stakeholder interviews, made it very apparent to the Cognia team that the leadership of the system and the board members had placed a great deal of emphasis on professional development activities and training sessions regarding effective board governance the report stated.