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Two Farragut schools become SACS accredited

Farragut Intermediate and Primary schools have just joined the ranks of accredited elementary schools in Knox County.

Knoxville has a total of 50 elementary schools, and 21 are now accredited, said Russ Oaks, Knox County Schools System spokesman.

Oaks said elementary school accreditation is a “baby step” toward creating a world-class school system, and that the goal is to have 10 elementary schools go through the process each year.

Adrian Burnett, Bonny Kate, Chilhowee Intermediate, Pond Gap, Powell, Ritta, Sterchi and Sunnyview Elementary schools were among other schools recently accredited.

Julia Craze, FPS principal, said eight schools currently are going through the process, including Hardin Valley Elementary.

A.L. Lotts Elementary and Cedar Bluff Intermediate schools will be facing accreditation work in the 2007-2008 school year. Cedar Bluff Primary School was accredited in 2004.

A Southern Association of Colleges and Schools quality assurance team from Oak Ridge studied the schools in 21 different areas.

Ratings of “meets expectations,” “meets expectations with recommendations” and “did not meet expectations,” were given for each area, said Kay Wellons, assistant principal at FIS.

Principals from both Farragut schools were pleased with the marks their schools received.

Accreditation is a long process that involves feedback from students, parents, teachers and community members, as well as the SACS committee ratings.

Wellons said FIS met expectations in all but three areas.

The SACS committee advised FIS to expand the professional library for teachers and staff, give third-graders more access to the mobile computer lab and further develop the accelerated math and accelerated reader programs before acquiring any other software programs.

She said teachers sometimes have not been able to use the accelerated math program because of technical problems, but added the technology committee is working on that problem.

Parent surveys revealed that parents feel welcome at the school (3.67 out of 4.0), but would like to have more decision-making power.

Farragut Primary School scored very well and Craze said she is glad the school went through the process, but added this is an ongoing process.

“You don’t just get accredited and say, ‘We’ve got accreditation and never have to do anything again.’

“We’ll hand in an annual report,” Craze added. “In five years, a review team will come in, and then in ten years, we’ll pretty much go through it all over again.

“From my perspective, a principal’s perspective, this makes you self-reflect and use data-driven information to see if you’re doing what you think you’re doing.

Overall, “We hardly had any areas that we need to be improving,” Craze said, adding that the SACS committee suggested the school better integrate the use of technology.

She said some things have changed as a result of the surveys. The school has changed math strategies and has developed a rubric, or model, for writing assessment.


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