DeKalb County School District

AdvancED/SACS Accreditation Review

Critical Communications








Overview: Accreditation Review

updated February 3, 2016


This page provides an ongoing status and reporting system for DeKalb County School District's accreditation with AdvancED/Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

On January 28, 2016, the DeKalb County School District received full accreditation status from AdvancED/SACS CASI. The District met the three remaining Required Actions. A review of the Institution Progress Report submitted by the District on December 18, 2015 provided documentation of sufficient progress, artifacts, and evidence to support the change in accreditation status.

The District will continue the work to ensure the sustainability of all required actions and is currently in process of preparing for the 5-year accreditation renewal scheduled for 2017. Please visit this web link to stay up-to-date with accreditation information.

Status Reports

February 26, 2015
.pdf link icon Press Release: AdvancED/SACS Upgrades Accreditation Status [ ]
.pdf link icon Monitoring Report [ ]
.pdf link icon Institution Progress Report [ ]

December 8, 2014
.pdf link icon Institution Progress Report [ ]

July 18, 2014
.pdf link icon Press Release: DCSD "Making Material Progress" [ ]
.pdf link icon AdvancED Report [ ]

May 12, 2014
.pdf link icon Institution Progress Report [ ]

January 21, 2014
.pdf link icon Press Release: DCSD Off Probation [ ]
.pdf link icon Monitoring Report [ ]

December 6, 2013
.pdf link icon IPR Final [ ]
.pdf link icon IPR Summaries [ ]
.pdf link icon RA7 Change Management Guidance (12-04-2013) [ ]
.pdf link icon RA7 Change Process Chart 9 [ ]
opens in same window icon RA7 Change Request (fill-in form) [ ]
opens in same window icon Implementation Plan Template (fill-in form) [ ]

November 19, 2013
Information Technology
.pdf link icon Technology Audit Executive Summary [ ]
.pdf link icon Staff Technology Use Survey Data [ ]
.pdf link icon DCSD 21st Century Learning Environment (21CLE) Framework [ ]
.pdf link icon DCSD 21CLE: Technology Resource Alignment [ ]
.pdf link icon Technology Training Plan Proposal [ ]

July 5, 2013
.pdf link icon Executive Summary: AdvancED Monitoring Visit Report [ ] (May 15-17)
.pdf link icon Press release: AdvancED Sees Recognizable Progress in DeKalb Schools Efforts To Meet SACS Accreditation Guidelines [ ]
.pdf link icon AdvancED Report [ ]

May 15, 2013
.pdf link icon Institution Progress Report [ ]
.pdf link icon Clarification of Concerns within Advanced Special Review Team Report [ ].pdf link icon Textbook Status Executive Summary as of 01-21-2013 [ ]

April 5, 2013
.pdf link icon AdvancED Required Action Status Report [ ]

March 22, 2013
.pdf link icon AdvancED Required Action Status Report [ ]
- will be published on a monthly basis to provide information of the work-in-progress towards the eleven required actions.


December 6, 2013
.pdf link icon BOE Presentation [ ]
March 7, 2013

opens in same window icon DCSD Students Videoconference with Governor, Superintendent [ ]
The 21-member Student Advisory Council will discuss SACS accreditation

opens in same window icon view videoconference

Strategic Plan

In the fall of 2013, the DeKalb County School District embarked on the development of a five-year Strategic Plan. The desired outcome is to align the work in the District from the boardroom to the classroom for the ultimate purpose of increasing student achievement and organizational effectiveness. In December of 2013, the Board of Education approved the following Strategic Plan components: Vision, Mission, Motto, Beliefs, Goal Areas, and Performance Objectives. Implementation of the plan began at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. The District created performance measures, targets, and initiatives to ensure success in each of the five goal areas. A monitoring and data collection cycle process was also developed and implemented.

opens in same window icon Strategic Plan web page [ ]

.pdf link icon Board-approved Vision, Mission, Goal Areas [ ]

Frequently Asked Questions

» What is accreditation?

Accreditation is the act of granting credit or recognition, especially to an educational institution that maintains suitable standards.

Definitions of accreditation:
  • n. the act of granting credit or recognition (especially with respect to educational institution that maintains suitable standards)

Information found at:

» What is AdvancED?

AdvancED is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts rigorous, on-site external reviews of PreK-12 schools and school systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential. While expertise is grounded in more than a hundred years of work in school accreditation, AdvancED is far from a typical accrediting agency. The goal of AdvancED isn't to certify that schools are good enough. Rather, they have a commitment to help schools improve.

Information found at

» Are DeKalb County Schools accredited by AdvancED?

The DeKalb County School District is fully accredited by AdvancED/SACS. District accreditation includes all schools and district offices.

» How did DCSD gain full accreditation?

In 2012, AdvancED commissioned a Special Review Committee to review complaints of financial mismanagement and low student performance in the DeKalb School District. The report from the Special Review Committee identified eleven Required Actions that DCSD had to address in order to retain accreditation. At that time, AdvancED, lowered DeKalb's accreditation status to Accredited on Probation.

In 2013, as a result of that report, the BOE and District embarked on a three-year journey of school improvement to ensure that DeKalb did not lose accreditation. The District addressed AdvancED's Required Actions, which included a thorough review of policies, procedures, and processes utilized by District. At approximate six-month intervals, AdvancED monitored DeKalb's progress. During each progress check, the District submitted an extensive formal progress report to AdvancED. Upon receipt of DeKalb's report, a Monitoring Team from AdvancED would visit the district to review the evidence, conduct stakeholder interviews, and examine artifacts to determine the degree of improvement made from the previous visit. Periodically, AdvancED would add additional Required Actions which increased the number from eleven to fourteen. During the three-year period, the district was upgraded to Accredited-Warned and then Accredited on Advisement.

On December 18, 2015, as required by AdvancED, the DCSD submitted a formal report to the accrediting agency. In January, 2016, upon completion of review of the report, AdvancED determined that the district had sufficiently addressed all Required Actions and returned the district to full Accreditation.

» How does AdvancED know that DeKalb is following the Standards of Quality for School Districts?

In order to earn and/or maintain AdvancED Accreditation, a school or school system must: 1) meet the Accreditation Standards, Policies and Procedures of AdvancED; 2) host an External Review Team at least once every five years; 3) engage in continuous improvement; 4) submit all required accreditation reports; and 5) pay all required accreditation fees.

Information found at:

» What are the next steps for DCSD to retain its full accreditation?

The DeKalb County School District received a letter from AdvancED on January 28, 2016 indicating that we had been granted full Accreditation status. We have now shifted our focus to the process of renewing our 5-Year System's Accreditation with AdvancED in 2017. To that end, the DeKalb School District has prepared a 15-month timeline of action beginning with technical assistance training for district and school teams on March 15 & 18, 2016, to be conducted by AdvancED. This training will allow for AdvancEd to review, with specific personnel from each school and a team of district leaders, the process and tools necessary for facilitating successful accreditation renewal for DeKalb County School District and its schools.

» Is AdvancED the only accreditation organization that Georgia recognizes as an accreditation agency?

No, the State of Georgia recognizes the two accrediting agencies for public K-12 schools listed below: (1) AdvancED and (2) Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC).

» In addition to AdvancED is DCSD accredited by GAC?

Yes, in 2014-15, the DCSD completed the application process to accredit the highs schools within the school district. Once the application was accepted by GAC, DCSD high schools completed the rigorous task of ensuring compliance with GAC standards and undergoing an examination by GAC officials at DeKalb's high school sites. After GAC officials completed the site visits, the Commission recommended that DCSD high schools earn accreditation. In a letter to the Superintendent of DCSD dated March 19, 2015, the GAC Board of Commissioners accredited all DCSD high schools as a GAC: Accredited with Quality School.

GAC information found at

» What are the benefits of dual accreditation?

Dual accreditation benefits the students of DeKalb County in the following manner:

  • Offers two sources of accreditation for universities and colleges to consider when reviewing applications from DCSD students
  • Provides two independent outside assessments of school quality and adherence to standards by DCSD high schools
  • Ensures eligible graduates from DCSD will be able to enroll in a Georgia college or university, regardless of whether one or the other accreditation agency removes accreditation from the DCSD

School Flexibility Options

Georgia law has mandated that by June 30, 2015, all school districts in the state must inform the opens in new window icon Georgia Department of Education [ ] of any intention to seek waivers from state law and Department of Education policies and regulations. If a school district chooses not to seek any waivers, it must acknowledge that it will not do so and that it understands that none will be given after June 30, 2015, except in cases of natural disaster. What is being offered to school districts is the flexibility to innovate and increased autonomy, including waivers from state laws, rules, and guidelines, in exchange for greater accountability and higher student performance expectations.

Over 18 months, the DeKalb County School District worked with parents, students, employees and community members to gather insights and feedback on the strengths and challenges of the district as well as the practices which would yield the best results for students in the future. After this extensive process and a public hearing, the DeKalb County Board of Education decided that the flexibility option that best aligned with the district's values and student needs was the Strategic Waivers School System option.

For more information please visit the opens in same window icon School Flexibility Option webpage [ ]

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