CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District received initial accreditation on Monday from AdancEd.
The accreditation comes along with five highlighted areas that need improvement. Accreditation is a type of quality assurance that proves a district is meeting education standards.
Despite approval, the president of the AdancEd accreditation company said the district “needs some work."
AdvancEd President and CEO Mark Elgart said the district has five areas that need improvement: board governance, classroom culture, alignment, allocation of resources, and community engagement.
“The board needs training as a whole board.” Elgart said. “They need to understand their roles and responsibilities to each other and governing the district efficiently.”
As Elgart was giving his findings to the board, there was some back and forth discussion and disagreements among board members.
Elgart also highlighted the disparities that were found across schools in the district and said were one of the things that would need to be improved upon.
“Today there is a great disparity in available resources,” Elgart said. “The high performing schools have more resources to meet the needs of resources than low performing schools. The district needs to engage a different budgeting process.”
Elgart also said talked about the alignment as a district as a whole, noting the changes the district has seen over the last few years.
“The district has gone through a tremendous amount of change in a short amount of time,” Elgart said.
Elgart said classroom culture needed to be improved, talking about improvement needs relating to engagement and active learning inside the classroom.
Despite the five key areas, the accreditor said he believes the district can make the necessary improvements which is why they received the initial accreditation.
“The areas that we’ve noted are not going to be fixed overnight,” Elgart said. “They’re going to take three, four years. We want to see progress over the three, four years. We want to see evidence the steps they’re taking are having a positive influence.”
Elgart said it took the district three years to get to this point where they received the initial accreditation but said it’s often harder to maintain the accreditation than to achieve it.
“It’s very significant,” Elgart said. “As I have noted it has taken this district nearly three years to get ready for this day to reach accreditation. They went through an enormous amount of work. That success should not be under appreciated.”
Charleston County School District is the last district in the Lowcountry to receive accreditation.
Schools in Orangeburg, Williamsburg, Beaufort, Dorchester, and Berkeley counties all have accreditation.
Elgart said they must make the necessary improvements if they want to keep the accreditation.