Archived Story

HCS recommended for accreditation

Published 6:01pm Wednesday, January 15, 2014

An advisory group from AdvancED has recommended that Hartselle City Schools receive accreditation.

Dr. Edlow Barker with AdvancED announced the team’s findings during special meeting Wednesday afternoon at the central office.

Barker said he was impressed by Hartselle City Schools after the group interviewed 91 administrators, teachers and other personnel from the school system and made 55 observations of classrooms in the system.

“I wished that my wife could have met several of the students we talked with,” said Barker, who is from Richmond, Va.

School Board Chairwoman Monty Vest said she is very pleased with the preliminary report from AdvancED.

“The information that we will get from AdvancED will help us raise the bar in our school system and help us go to the next level,” Vest said. “Some of the recommendations that they made were things that we have already discussed. We mentioned many of those things with the group. I am very pleased that we were recommended for accreditation.”

School Superintendent Dr. Vic Wilson thanked the school system’s team, which included more than 50 employees, parents and students, for their hard work during the accreditation process.

“We are excited to receive the recommendation for accreditation,” Wilson said. “This report will help us develop our system-wide strategic plan.”

Barker and four others representing AdvancED visited Hartselle City Schools Sunday through Wednesday. The group gave the system high marks in six of seven categories, including well-managed classrooms, a support structure for the students and having high expectations for achievement.

The one category that received lower marks was technology. Barker said the group didn’t observe much technology being used by students during the 20-minute segments they spent in each of the classrooms they visited.

Barker said that wasn’t out of the ordinary for most school systems. The group, however, made technology infrastructure one of their required action items.

“Most school systems have lower scores in technology,” Barker said. ”We want kids to use it in the classroom.”

The group also required action to be taken on regularly update or managing the district-wide purpose and to have an inclusive way of updating and revising policies and procedures.

Barker said the school system would have to show steps taken to improve these three areas within two years.

The committee also recommended improvements on its professional development plan, monitoring and adjusting curriculum, a strategic planning process, coordination and evaluation of student support services and analyzing data collected by the school system.

Two areas of strength included the system’s communication inside and outside the district and its leadership.

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