School trustee responds to AdvancED re-accreditation

July 8, 2014

By law, the South Carolina Department of Education accredits all public education units — school boards, school district operations and schools, and certifies the diplomas issued by school districts in the state. The School District of Pickens County is accredited by the state and in its 2012-13 report gave our district a 3.93 (out of 4.0) score. The state gave our school board the highest score of 4.0 or “All Clear,” showing it was/is compliant with state education laws, regulations and standards.

AdvancEd is a private organization our school district pays a fee to accredit its schools, board and district. This is separate from the accreditation process of the Department of Education; it is voluntary and not required by law. Colleges look at this AdvancED’s accreditation when reviewing applications of students, so our district chooses to participate in its accreditation process.

In December, AdvancED recommended renewal of our accreditation. Like most all audits or review processes, AdvancED listed required actions in terms of education, building maintenance and board governance.

Working with the board’s attorney and consultant, the next few months we discussed the report and the district and board worked to address AdvancED’s concerns. We formulated our response and submitted it to AdvancED in April as it asked.

District leaders and board members met with AdvancED in May. AdvancED was satisfied and has renewed the school district’s accreditation for another five year term. We will continue to work with AdvancED as we do the state on all accreditation issues.

Alex Saitta

Pickens County School Board Trustee