TALLADEGA -- The Talladega City school system’s first accreditation process under the leadership of Superintendent Terry Roller and the current board is complete.
“It’s over,” Roller said in a brief video posted to the system’s social media. “We did it. I want to say good job to all the friends, family, community members, stakeholders, teachers, staff, all the board members and business leaders, everyone who took time out of their busy day to come by and be part of this wonderful process of accreditation.
“Our staff and our principals did a wonderful job of representing our system in the best possible light.”
A team from AdvancedEd conducted the observations and interviews that will be the basis for reaccreditation.
Roller explained that the assessment team would be looking at “three domains,” specifically teaching and learning; resources; and governance and leadership.
“They made some generic comments, but the official report is not ready yet,” he said.
Curriculum Coordinator Pattie Thomas compiled a memo for system employees based on the exit interview with the assessment team.
That memo explained that, over the past four days, the AdvancedEd team spoke with 140 people involved with the system in various capacities and observed 54 classrooms at all grade levels (including pre-k) and all subjects.
“The team said our efforts and hard work is paying off,” Thomas wrote. “A next step might include a more personal one-to-one communication with all stakeholders. The full report will help us understand exactly what this looks like. This was a top-to-bottom look at our school system. One team member said ‘We were a burgeoning power house.’ She said we are on the verge of greatness.
“The team appreciated the honesty of the superintendent as he gave an overview of our district and this amazing journey of improvement in which you all have been a part. They said it was very thorough and powerful.”
She added that family and consumer sciences teacher Kim Mitchell had been singled out for special praise.
“One team member said she wasn’t sure if she was dealing with students or if they were adults,” Thomas wrote. “The team found the career tech program to be amazing. All levels (elementary, junior high and high school) talked about career tech as a strength and something of which everyone is proud. One team member mentioned that for (Talladega High School) to have 500-plus students and for over 700 children to be participating in career tech classes was superb.”
The total figure comes from students taking more than one career tech class, she added.
The AdvancedEd team also determined that “everyone knew about the strategic plan, vision and mission … (and) that our social media presence is very powerful and impressive … Students are proud to be a part of this district,” which Thomas highlighted as her favorite finding.
Resources were evenly distributed across the system, and the system was rated highly for well-managed classrooms, Thomas wrote.
“They specifically said all six schools had very well-behaved students (who) gave eye contact, spoke to the guests and were even noted as saying ‘excuse me’ to each other (at the high school),” she wrote. “The team found our students to be well-behaved, polite, on task, excited and proud. In fact, they said our students were exemplary in behavior.”
There were several suggested improvements, including more opportunities for training and leadership and “looking at our organizing the process of learning. I think this will be easier and more doable when the state decides on an assessment for next year,” Thomas wrote.
The completed report, including specific priorities and commendations, should be sent to the district in the next 45 days, she said.