Vermillion earns district accreditation status

Vermillion earns district accreditation status
The Vermillion School District recently became the third district in South Dakota to receive the distinction of full District Accreditation from NCA/AdvancED. NCA/AdvancED provides a national guide for school systems committed to systemic, systematic, and sustainable continuous improvement. The process is designed to support, enhance, and stimulate growth and improvement throughout the entire school system. The two other school districts in South Dakota to accomplish this level of accreditation are the Meade (Sturgis) and Lennox School Districts. Vermillion School District will be recognized for achieving this level of accreditation at the annual NCA/AdvancED Conference in Chicago this month.

To be accredited, a district must meet three basic requirements. First, the entire district must meet all seven of the AdvancED Accreditation Standards for Quality School Systems. These seven standards, supported by research, focus on factors that are proven to be present in effective schools and include standards for: Leadership and Governance, Strategic Planning, Valuing Students and Community, Information Systems, Valuing Faculty and Staff, Helping Students Learn, and Documenting Performance Results.

Next, the district must be involved in an effective process for continuous improvement. To demonstrate continuous improvement, the district and its schools must implement an improvement plan based on student performance and school/community data that includes clear goals for raising the achievement of all students. The district and its schools also must document growth in student performance and organizational effectiveness. According to Superintendent Mark Froke, "Achieving district accreditation provides assurance to the community that Vermillion Schools are engaged in ongoing improvement efforts focused on academic growth of our students."

Finally, the district must host a Quality Assurance Review (QAR) team visit. This team must be comprised of professionals from outside the district. The team engages the district stakeholders in a healthy, professional dialogue about district improvement efforts, validates that the district meets the standards for accreditation, and provides feedback and makes recommendations concerning future efforts to improve student performance and organizational effectiveness. The QAR team provides a written report identifying district strengths and opportunities for improvement on each of the seven standards. The visiting review team was comprised of experienced teachers and administrators from North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota.

Upon the completion of the recent onsite review, the Vermillion School District received the distinction of full district accreditation for the next five years. The report was very favorable and validated our ongoing focus on improving our schools and raising student achievement. Vermillion School District is now committed to fully implement the recommendations and continue our focus on school improvement

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