Global school improvement organization Cognia awarded the recipients of its annual recognition program for accredited schools and districts this past week. The System of Distinction Award is based on the results of Cognia’s rigorous accreditation engagement review process. The McDuffie County School District was named as one of only 38 worldwide recipients of the prestigious award this year.
“We are so pleased to have been recognized in this way. The System of Distinction Award is validation of all the hard work put in by everyone in our school system, including faculty, staff, administrators, board members, parents, and students,” said McDuffie County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mychele Rhodes. “It sets us apart as an organization that does everything in its power to ensure a quality education for our students and prepare them to become excellent citizens.”
The McDuffie County School District participated in the accreditation process with Cognia completing a comprehensive self-assessment. In the spring of 2022, trained external, third-party educators, conducted an engagement review based upon Cognia standards for leadership, learning, and resource utilization. Cognia’s Performance Standards for accreditation are based on ever-expanding research and understanding of learning in order to define high-quality education around the world.
“They had formalized processes for, I believe, almost everything that was there, so that you knew what to do in any situation. It was easily to be replicated. That’s something that you don’t see everywhere,” said Julie Von Frank, Cognia’s lead evaluator for McDuffie County. “It’s so important that you not just be proud that I’m here at this level. You’ve got to continue to want to go to a higher level, and they do, all of them, from the students up to the board members. It was just that evident.”
The McDuffie County School District participates in the accreditation process every five years, and this year’s score was the highest in the district’s history, a 386.94 out of a possible 400. The district’s results were more than 100 points greater than the five-year average for the Cognia network. Out of 31 standards considered, the district scored the highest possible rating on 30 of them.
Cognia is a global, nonprofit improvement organization dedicated to helping institutions and other education providers grow learners, teachers, and leaders. Cognia offers accreditation and certification, assessment, and professional services within a framework of continuous improvement, serving 36,000 public and private institutions from early learning through high school in more than 90 countries.