Troy Schools earns new accreditation

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2013

With plenty of pats on the back and a trio of action items, an on-site accreditation committee wrapped up its work with the Troy City Schools on Wednesday.

“We are recommending you for a new, five-year accreditation,” Dr. Nancy Bolz told district administrators and school board members. “You are doing some tremendous work in Troy City Schools.”

Bolz led the five-person external review team for AdvancED, which oversees the accreditation process. The team has been in Troy since Sunday, and during that time interviewed four school board members; 11 administrators; 40 teachers; 17 support staff; 54 students; and 37 parents and community members. The team members also conducted on-site visits to classrooms and reviewed data provided by the district.

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The team provided its feedback to the board on Wednesday and will provide its formal report within 30 business days. The accreditation should be approved formally in June.

The external evaluation team provided feedback for five key standards: purpose and direction; governance and leadership; resources and support systems; using results for continuous improvement; and teaching and assessing for learning. The system was scored on a scale of 1 to 4, with 4.0 being the highest score possible. Troy’s scores ranged from 3.0 to 3.5.

“Of course we wanted all 4s,” said Lee Hicks, superintendent. “But when I met with Dr. Bolz, she told me right away that’s pretty unrealistic.”

Bolz agreed, telling the board members “you’ve got some really good, solid ratings here.”

In offering feedback, the team cited several “powerful practices,” which are what Bolz called “pats on the back” for what’s being done. Those ranged from a strong vision that extended from the district’s leadership to the community and stakeholders to a culture that supports the fostering of a consistent purpose and direction of the district. Other accolades included the focus on monitoring and assessing performance and using that data to improve student learning, the willingness to focus on individual students’ needs, strong fiscal management to foster both development of the district and personnel, and effective communication of information about student learning, school performance and achievement of goals.

“This system is doing a very fine job of focusing on individual students having the opportunity to be successful,” Bolz said. “And they are being very fiscally responsible.”

As for areas of improvement, the team cited three required actions, which must be addressed within the next two years:

• The need to develop systemic coordination and monitoring of the data analysis leading to adjustments to curriculum, instruction and assessment.

• The need to develop a formal system to mentor and develop personnel.

• The development of a formal strategic plan, created through a process that involves regular evaluation of short and long-term strategies.

“They need to get a good strategic plan in place, to do a better job coordinating good practices at the building level across the system and to do an even better job of supporting teachers,” Bolz said.

Roxie Kitchens, board member, said the recommendations and feedback help both the board and the administration in moving forward. “We always want to do a better job for our children, and thanks to what you have observed and recommended we will be able to do that.”