Blount County Board of Education
“Based on our findings, this External Review Team recommends that the Blount County School System be accredited by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission,” was the final remark by AdvancED Lead Evaluator, Dave Stipe, during a Blount County Board of Education special meeting on April 16.
The report came at the conclusion of a four-day evaluation by a six-member AdvancED External Review Team. The team was to determine the system’s effectiveness in meeting established standards of accreditation in three areas: impact of teaching and learning, leadership capacity, and utilization of resources.
Stipe commented on the outstanding leadership of the superintendent and board. The External Review Team identified a “Powerful Practice” in the school system based upon comments during interviews conducted, noting the high esteem of the board by staff and community, which is rare in most systems. “The board has instituted a practice of collaboration among all stakeholders that ensures system effectiveness,” he stated.
He praised the dramatic decrease in the number of dropouts the district has experienced and system efforts to meet the needs of students. Also of note were classroom observations that revealed a high level of student engagement and interaction.
The team interviewed central office personnel, school staff, parents, and community leaders at Blountsville Elementary, J.B. Pennington High, Hayden Primary, Hayden Elementary, Locust Fork Elementary, and Locust Fork High. In addition to the interviews at each school, the accreditation team visited and observed instruction in several classrooms. In all, 246 interviews were conducted (113 with parents, community members, and students) and 43 learning environment observations made.
Supt. Jim Carr shared the following: “The Blount County School System received an outstanding report. What a great accomplishment for our system! This is possible due to the dedication and hard work of our students, parents, community stakeholders, teachers, administrators, and staff. I extend a thank you for your support of this process, which helped us maintain our system accreditation honor and recognition.”