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Volume 2

January 27, 2011

“What You Put In Is What You Get Out.”

Greetings from the AdvancED Texas Office and Happy New Year! I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the wonderful work you are doing to provide the children of Texas with a quality education. I also want to take this opportunity to talk about the value of accreditation. How do districts and schools really benefit from being an accredited district or school, and what are the benefits? The answers to these questions may help some districts and schools consider accreditation. It starts with the individual and the members of an organization actively engaging in the purpose of the organization to receive the benefits. For example, many of us belong to a wellness club with the purpose of losing weight, getting more physically fit, and ultimately living a more healthier lifestyle. Often as a member of a gym, you have access to a personal trainer and the use of exercise equipment and classes--after all these are the benefits received in turn for paying for a gym membership. But, if you do not use the services that the gym offers, follow the trainer's exercise plan, or stay committed to maintaining a healthier lifestyle, then you may not experience the benefits you seek. If you indeed follow the exercise plan, then you're well on your way to achieving the desired results. This is similar to districts and schools seeking accreditation through AdvancED. AdvancED provides an effective process for systematizing and maximizing school improvement efforts. We provide a blueprint for districts and schools to achieve operational effectiveness and student success. We provide schools and districts a means to get in shape and stay fit! The key is that you have to actively engage in meeting the AdvancED Standards, continuous improvement, and a process of Quality Assurance Review. You have to be committed to following the process in order to experience the results in school improvement and increased student performance. Now, being accredited is more than a membership in a professional organization; it is a powerful school improvement process that results in continuous improvement. So the question is not only what will you get out of becoming accredited, but what are you going to do to make sure your school continuously improves and student learning increases when you engage in the school improvement process? What effort are you going to put in to maintain the regimen prescribed. That's easy--110%!

Some people may be thinking why should districts and schools engage in the accreditation process when they already have a good school with high student performance? The answer is simple--you have to maintain the positive results. Districts and schools, much like you and I at the gym, have to keep on following that plan and often create new plans as the environment changes in order to see the continued benefits. Many education providers like members of the Kids R Kids, #44 in Pearland, Texas pictured with me here have committed themselves to the accreditation and continuous improvement results and are ready to put in the work following the process and reap the benefits. The benefits of accreditation to districts and schools are: quality standards, continuous improvement, and an internal and external review process that results in improving the effectiveness of the organization and the performance of students.

If you would like to know more about the accreditation and school improvement process and the benefits, please feel free to contact our office, so we can get your district or school on the workout plan today!

Sandra Sherman
Director, AdvancED Texas

Quick Links
School Leadership: "Excellence is Not an Act..."
As we begin the 2011 year, many of us reflect on the successes of the past year, assess what worked, and focus on areas that we could improve. As you reflect, think about what makes an organization successful. The critical element of success in any organization is leadership. From the largest and most successful to the smallest organizations, the characteristics and behaviors of the leadership determine the success and quality of the organization. Please take time to review the leadership behaviors listed below, determine your strengths, and then identify an area that you would like to improve as you lead your school/organization in 2011. The common behaviors of great leaders include a dedication to:
  • Serving others
  • Leading from the heart with passion and compassion
  • Creating a shared vision and purpose
  • Building relationships with stakeholders
  • Sticking to the principles of honesty, integrity, and fairness
  • Making a difference in the success of the organization through commitment and hard work
Remember in the words of Aristotle, "Excellence is not an act, it is a habit."
Progress Report for ASSIST
AdvancED Texas is very happy to report the successful implementation of the new ASSIST program including the Self-Assessment and the Executive Institutional Summary. The schools hosting a Quality Assurance Review (QAR) team this fall successfully have completed the reports and requirements for accreditation. Thanks to all of the schools for the work they put in to prepare and host a QAR team.
Book Review of Author Carl Glickman
Holding Sacred Ground, Essays on Leadership, Courage, and Endurance in our Schools written by Carl Glickman and published by Jossey-Bass is a great read. If you already have read this book some time ago, it is worth reviewing again. Be sure to check out Chapter 5, “Pretending Not to Know What We Know." This chapter holds some 'can't miss' information. If your school doesn't have a professional library for staff, please consider creating one and adding this book to your collection. Reading professional literature and journals is a wonderful and inexpensive way to engage staff in professional development. Think about using some of your professional development funding to start a staff library today.
Make Your Voice Heard
As the Texas Legislature meets this year, it is important for educators to be informed about legislation impacting education in Texas for public and private schools. Communicate with your elected officials, and let your voice be heard for the children and educators in Texas.
Thanks from AdvancED Texas
During the fall semester, AdvancED Texas conducted 21 QAR visits, welcomed 24 new schools, and received 10 new applications. As mentioned earlier, thanks to all of the schools for their hard work in completing the Self-Assessment process and hosting a QAR team. Thanks also goes to the newly accredited schools and new applicants for their commitment to education. Our gratitude also is extended to the AdvancED Texas State State Council for their support and valuable input and feedback throughout the accreditation process. A special thanks goes to our Field Consultants, QAR Team Chairs and Members, and the Reader Reviewers for their excellent work.  We really appreciate all of the outstanding work everyone is contributing to our mission to advance excellence in education worldwide.

AdvancED, the home of NCA CASI and SACS CASI, is dedicated to
advancing excellence in education worldwide.

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