As the Salem School district began its new year, it received recognition for setting high standards and meeting them.
In August, the district received Accreditation from the AdvancED Accreditation Commission, certifying "that the district and all of its schools are accredited, and that the Salem School District is recognized across the nation as a quality school system."
According to Superintendent Ken Rich, Salem schools must meet state standards and be accredited by the state. But, since the early 90s, local schools have also received accreditation from the North Central Association, an arm of AdvancedED Accreditation. All schools undergo re-accreditation every five years.
"Thanks to our patrons and students and our staff for working hard to try to improve," Rich said at the Aug. 20 school board meeting. "This accreditation means that we're not going to stand for just the accreditation that's required, the state accreditation. We're going to try to do more than what is required. The (acceditation) team that came in was very happy with what they saw in this district, and gave us good feedback during the visit last April."
Rich said, in the past, the elementary and high schools have been accredited separately. This year, the school system sought to be evaluated as a district.
"The team looked at the elementary, high school and superintendent's office as one, and tried to determine that all three work together to better the district," Rich said.
According to AdvancedED Accreditation, schools must rate high in three categories: setting and meeting high standards, implementing a continuous process of improvement and engaging in quality assurance through internal and external review. While the district has been accredited for a new five year period, AdvanceED Accreditation monitors a district's progress during the term.
Accreditation certificates will soon be posted in school buildings.
Dr. Mark Elgart, President of AdvancED Ed, said, "The Salem School District is to be commended for engaging in this process and demonstrating a process of continuous improvement."
School Board Public Meeting
While all school board meetings are open to the public, Arkansas schools are required to host a special public meeting, early in the new school year, to discuss their past performance and future plans, and to answer questions from citizens.
The Salem School District will hold its annual meeting on Monday, Sept. 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.
Superintendent Ken Rich asks the public to note the Sept. 17 date of the meeting. Past information schools released about the public meeting listed an incorrect date, Sept. 20.
At the public meeting, the school district should have updated information about how elementary and high school students fared in state testing during the 2011-2012 school year. Principals Corey Johnson and Wayne Guiltner will discuss elementary and high school programs, and new approaches to teaching and learning during the meeting.