Norris District to Host AdvancED Accreditation Review September 15th-18th

Norris District to Host AdvancED Accreditation Review September 15th-18th

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Norris District is hosting its first ever District Accreditation review beginning Sunday evening, September 15th and concluding on the afternoon of Wednesday, September 18th at 4 pm with a public Board meeting in the auditorium to receive the informal exit report from the team (a formal written report from the visiting team will follow later). The visit is an extensive process designed to give the review team a 360 degree perspective of Norris, gathering stakeholder input from Board members, teachers, students, parents, other staff, and spending lots of time in classrooms directly observing. Various teachers, students, and parents have specialized individual roles in the visit as delegates of these various representative groups, and will have an instrumental role in the visit.

“It’s really all about actualizing our mission and showing how everything we do is anchored in our guarantee of quality learning experiences to assure every learner thrives,” said Superintendent Dr. John Skretta.

The district will be assessed based upon five key performance standards common to AdvancED systems; these standards serve as the basis for quality educational system operations focused on student learning.

Standard 1:  Purpose and Direction
Standard 2:  Governance and Leadership
Standard 3:  Teaching and Assessing for Learning
Standard 4:  Resources and Support Systems
Standard 5:  Using Results for Continuous Improvement

Currently, the Norris District is accredited building-by-building. Norris has a long and proud history with AdvancED and many of current Norris administrators and teacher leaders serve as reviewers for other schools and districts.  “With the expansion of our campus to four buildings and an increasing emphasis on doing things as a system in a coherent fashion (re: our focus on k-12 curriculum alignment), it makes lots of sense to shift to a district accreditation,” said Dr. Skretta.  The district pursues external agency accreditation via AdvancED as a voluntary initiative of total quality commitment, and the district already meets and exceeds all state accreditation requirements via Rule 10 from the Nebraska Department of Education. 

Visiting team members bring vast expertise, experience

AdvancED is a member organization.  The visiting team members are fellow educators who are trained, experienced AdvancED reviewers.  District review teams include two out-of-state members.  Our team has five members, all of them outstanding educators in their own right:

Lead Evaluator: Dr. Sharon Knudson (Wyoming)

Associate Lead Evaluator: Andie Maupin (District Facilitator from Bellevue PS)

Kathy Vetter (Data, Research, Evaluation specialist with NDE)

Ryan Ricenbaw (Waverly HS Principal)

Dr. JoAnn Stevens (AZ) 

The visit will include an abundance of interviews of key stakeholder groups in addition to many hours of observed classroom instruction, mostly centered on observations conducted Tuesday, September 17th.  The District has prepared extensively in order to demonstrate its readiness to be district-accredited.  The district hosted an external team district readiness visit a year ago already, and was granted official district candidacy following that readiness assessment.  Over the last year, the teacher leaders and admin serving on the SI Exec Council (district steering) and building-level School Improvement teams have worked to not just continue to plan and promote quality professional development, but to prepare for the visit by developing an Executive Summary, Self Assessment, and conducting stakeholder feedback exercises.

The accreditation review visitation concludes Wednesday, September 18th at 4 PM with a public Board meeting in the auditorium. Members of the public are invited to attend. This exit report meeting is expected to last approximately 30 minutes and will share out some initial ratings from the team on performance standards as well as some highlights they observed during their time on campus.  There are no other items on the agenda for this special meeting. The team is also expected to share a few key recommendations they have for us to work on over the next five year improvement cycle.  

“We will succeed,” predicted Superintendent Dr. Skretta. “That said, the continuous improvement process never ends and the emphasis is never on "checking it off" but on getting a little bit better, day by day, year by year.  We intend to continue doing just that.”