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 does "Accreditation on Probation" mean?

A school or school system that shows little or no evidence of meeting two or more of the Standards or requirements of the accreditation process, and the resulting Required Actions are deemed to seriously detract from the school or system's educational program, limit the school or system's ability to fulfill its mission, and/or cause potential harm to students will be accredited on probation. In such cases SACS CASI will assist the school system to address the remaining work needed to improve operational efficiencies as well as insure that it authentically commits to a well-defined strategy of continuous school improvement. In such cases SACS CASI will assist the school system to address the remaining work needed to improve operational efficiencies as well as insure that it authentically commits to a well-defined strategy of continuous school improvement.

» What must DeKalb Schools do to retain accreditation?

The DeKalb County School District is accountable for addressing the Required Actions in the December 2012 report (noted below), and must host a Monitoring Team in May 2013 and a second team in December.
In preparation for the Monitoring Reviews, the school system must submit an Institution Progress Report to AdvancED/SACS CASI no less than two weeks prior to the Monitoring Team Review. The Institutional Progress Report should contain evidence of all actions taken, including documentation of results, to address the Required Actions.

  1. Devise and implement a written, comprehensive plan for unifying the DeKalb County Board of Education so that the focus can become serving the needs of the children of the DeKalb County School District .
  2. Ensure that all actions and decisions of the DeKalb County Board of Education are reflective of the collective Board and consistent with approved policies and procedures and all applicable laws, regulations and standards, rather than individual board members acting independently and undermining the authority of the Superintendent to lead and manage day-to-day operations.
  3. Establish and implement policies and procedures that ensure segregation of duties of the governing board and that of the administration including the elimination of Board working committees which result in board members assuming administrative functions that should be the responsibility of appropriate staff.
  4. Implement and adhere to fiscally responsible policies and practices that ensure the DeKalb County Board of Education will adopt and ensure proper implementation of budgets within the financial means of the school system and that support the delivery of an educational program that meets the needs of the students.
  5. Establish and enforce a policy that board members honor the chain of command when communicating with stakeholders.
  6. Ensure a robust district diagnostic assessment program (universal screener, progress monitoring probes, and benchmarks included) that is a systematic and a regular component of the district's comprehensive assessment system, includes a variety of formative assessment tasks and tools to monitor student progress, and provides school personnel access to the State Longitudinal Data System.
  7. Establish a formal change management process for new system initiatives (vision, mission, strategic plan, curriculum, benchmark assessment, etc.) to address development, implementation, timeline, monitoring, communication and evaluation effectiveness. This process should be in accordance with state regulations and guidelines.
  8. Conduct an internal audit on the available technology across all schools in order to identify areas of need with the intent to allocate appropriately throughout the district. Support this action by researching appropriate training for teachers and staff to ensure technology's effective use in daily instruction.
  9. Communicate to stakeholders the differences between programs and financial resources available to schools.
  10. Enroll all students (K-12) in Parent Portal and communicate with parents this action to work more closely with them. Establish policy for timely Parent Portal updates by teachers. Also provide students with tools to monitor their success.
  11. Re-establish the district's strategic planning team for the purpose of effectively implementing the DeKalb County School District's Strategic Plan to guide the direction of the district.

» Has the educational program at DeKalb County School District been affected by the challenges faced?

The educational program at DeKalb County School District has been affected by many challenges and issues that have occurred over the past decade. Unaddressed, some of these challenges could have significant impact on the education of students long-term.

» In what activities did the Special Review Team engage?

In preparation for the review, the school system provided the Special Review Team with school board meeting agendas and minutes, school board meeting videos, board member e-mails and correspondence, school board policies, board committee information, contracts for legal services, legal fees, the forensic audit, financial audits and statements, the staff organizational chart and responsibilities, and hiring policies and procedures. The system, in cooperation with SACS, identified a list of key stakeholders to be interviewed during the Special Review. The DeKalb County School District established a schedule by which 52 individuals including all nine Board members, the superintendent, 35 staff at the central office and school level, and six community representatives including business/community leaders and parents were extensively interviewed.

» Who were the members of the Special Review Team?

The Special Review Team was comprised of diverse and highly skilled and experienced professional educators including former school superintendents trained to conduct reviews of this nature. Team members came from Georgia and other southeastern states. AdvancED review teams are selected with sensitivity to the population and demographics of the school system under review.

» Will AdvancED/SACS continue to be involved with the school system and in what ways?

We will continue to work with the system in the accreditation and school improvement process. The AdvancED Georgia office will be available to assist with any of the Required Actions in preparation for the Monitoring Team Reviews in May and December.

» Does Accredited Probation affect seniors?

The system and its schools are still accredited and therefore the status of Accredited Probation has no impact on seniors seeking college admissions and scholarships, such as HOPE.

» What are the requirements of accreditation?

In order to earn and/or maintain AdvancED/SACS CASI accreditation, a school or school system must: 1) meet the Accreditation Standards, policies and procedures of AdvancED; 2) demonstrate continuous improvement of student performance over time; and 3) seek and respond to stakeholder feedback on the quality and success of the school or school system. A more detailed description of all requirements can be found in our Accreditation Policies and Procedures at

» What is AdvancED?

AdvancED operates three regional accrediting agencies, accrediting 32,000 institutions in 71 countries serving over 20 million students - the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). SACS, founded in 1895, has been a leader in public education reform and improvement in areas as varied as desegregation, centralized testing and school board governance.

Accreditation is a process of helping institutions improve through a systematic program of evaluation, assuring that an institution not only meets quality standards, but also that it demonstrates a continuous commitment to providing quality education programs that are aimed at improving student performance.

For more information, please visit

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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