JHS earns continuing accreditation

Published 5:06 pm Thursday, September 25, 2014

During the accreditation process this year, faculty at Jemison High School created a "PATH to success" wall spotlighting JHS alumni and their accomplishments.

During the accreditation process this year, faculty at Jemison High School created a “PATH to success” wall spotlighting JHS alumni and their accomplishments.

Jemison High School earned continuing accreditation this year from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement.

“I’m very proud that we got through accreditation,” JHS Principal Allen Wilson said. “Accreditation demonstrates to our students, parents and community that we are focused on raising student achievement, providing a safe and enriching learning environment, and maintaining an efficient and effective operation staffed by highly qualified educators.”

SACS CASI, an accreditation division of AdvancED, took action on the school’s accreditation at the AdvancED Accreditation Commission meeting held June 26, according to a press release.

"Pride, Achievement, Teamwork and Heart" is the new vision JHS coined during accreditation.

“Pride, Achievement, Teamwork and Heart” is the acronym JHS is using as its new vision.

JHS has been accredited since 1999.

“You don’t have to be accredited, but it’s looked upon favorably by colleges,” JHS Assistant Principal Diane Calloway said. “It was a lot of work. It shows the extra effort JHS was going through to have this for students and the community. We were very pleased.”

During a yearlong process to earn accreditation, Calloway said the school had to identify strengths and weaknesses compared to different standards and develop ways to improve.

SACS CASI provides nationally recognized accreditation, the purpose of which is continuous school improvement focused on increasing student performance, the release said.

Accreditation is granted on a five-year term.

To earn accreditation, schools must meet SACS CASI’s high standards, be evaluated by a team of professionals from outside the school and implement a continuous process of school improvement.

“They come in and see what you make out of what you have,” Calloway said. “We thought we were doing a good job, but it’s good to have somebody confirm that.”

JHS staff reviewed and updated the school’s safety issues, including the safety plan and building security.

Engineering instructor Brooke Elliott was chairwoman of the committee spearheading accreditation efforts.

Elliott said accreditation allows students to take certain class credits with them into college and not have to backtrack.

“When students go to college, they can go straight into freshmen courses without taking remediation,” Elliott said.

Calloway said the process included surveys from students and community members about the school’s strengths and weaknesses.

The school also created a new vision, “Pride, Achievement, Teamwork and Heart,” and spotlighted JHS alumni who each shared their “PATH to success” and achievements after high school.

“It wasn’t just us,” she said of the staff. “It was a community effort. We’re just proud of everyone drawing attention to successes.”

SACS CASI accreditation is recognized across state lines, which eases the transfer process as students move from accredited school to accredited school but also assures parents that the school is meeting nationally accepted standards for quality and successful professional practice, the release said.

“SACS CASI Accreditation is a rigorous process that focuses the entire school on the primary goal of creating lifelong learners,” Dr. Mark Elgart, president and chief executive officer of AdvancED, the parent organization of SACS CASI, said in the release. “Jemison High School is to be commended for engaging in this process and demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement.”

SACS CASI is a non-governmental, voluntary agency that accredits nearly 13,000 public and non-public institutions throughout the world, the release said.

“It’s very important to us,” Wilson said of his school’s accreditation. “Everybody just pitched in and did their part.”

Other accredited schools in Chilton County include Chilton County High School and Maplesville High School.

To learn more about accreditation, visit Advanc-ed.org.