As the District is closed over the Thanksgiving break, here are some things we’re thankful for this season and throughout the year…

After a rigorous review, the School District of Palm Beach County once again earned District Accreditation from AdvancED.

The re-accreditation process examined the entire school system – its programs, cultural context and its community of stakeholders – to determine how well each of the parts work together to meet the needs of the more than 174,000 students in the District’s schools.

The District has held the distinction of being accredited for 10 years, and the latest review ensures the District’s standing as a fully accredited District for the next five years.

Students and parents benefit from accreditation as it ensures that the quality of education in the District meets national accreditation standards. Additionally, accreditation fosters program accountability to the public, and engagement in continuous peer review and improvement. District employees benefit because they can be confident that the compliance and quality of the education we provide is continuously, systematically, and rigorously reviewed, updated, and examined.

“While I am not surprised by AdvancED’s findings of excellence across our District — both as a system and in classrooms — I am pleased that they recognize the same standard of excellence happening in our District that we exhibit every day,” Superintendent Donald E. Fennoy II said.

During the three-day extensive evaluation, the review team used a set of research-based standards to review the District’s practices. The AdvancED findings also included:

  • Observers noted the high quality of teaching occurring in District classrooms.
  • Of the 66 District-operated Earning Learning programs observed, all earned a score above 90 percent (with 13 scoring at 100 percent and 58 programs scoring at 99 percent).
  • The culture of the District exceeds expectations in developing “learners’ attitudes, beliefs and skills needed for success.”
  • The District exceeds expectations in implementing a “process to ensure the curriculum is aligned to standards and best practices.”
  • The system exceeds expectations in providing “programs and services for learners’ educational future and career planning.”
  • The District exceeds expectations in “integrating digital resources into teaching, learning and operations to improve professional practice, students’ performance and organizational effectiveness.”
  • A sense of community was evident in all schools visited with “administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and students committed to supporting a positive, cohesive and engaged school community.”
  • How the District identifies the specialized needs of learners and assesses the progress of students also exceeds expectations.

AdvancED found that the development and implementation of the Strategic Plan and how it provides a continuous improvement process for gains in student achievement exceeds what is typically seen or expected in a school system.

“In a brief two-year timespan [since the implementation of the Strategic Plan], the system has made great strides to gather its data, plan improvement initiatives, and strategically begin the implementation process,” the Engagement Review Report noted. “Through active stakeholder participation, an extensive array of relevant data sources and a shared commitment for excellence, a Culture of Excellence characterizes the continuous improvement processes in the system.”

Each school and District department engaged in self assessments, and 991 stakeholders including teachers, parents, school leaders, District leadership and students were interviewed by the accreditation review representatives. Additionally, reviewers visited 46 schools and 438 classrooms to observe the use of AdvancED’s Effective Learning Environment Observation Tool. Forty principals whose schools were not visited were interviewed during the review as well.

“The accreditation process not only highlights the excellent practices throughout the District, but it also provides valuable feedback on where we can improve. We are reviewing those opportunities to develop initiatives and better processes for both our students and staff,” said Deputy Superintendent Keith Oswald.

To review the complete AdvancED Engagement Review Report, click here.

About AdvancED: The accrediting agency is a non-profit, non-partisan international organization that conducts rigorous, on-site system quality reviews of Pre-K through 12 schools and school systems to help educators and their communities ensure that all learners realize their full potential.