Hamilton County Superintendent of Schools Harry Pennington was recently notified that the school district received special recognition for having all eligible elementary, middle, and secondary schools accredited. According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (CASI) of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) the district is considered a "2004-2005 Super System for Quality Schools." He congratulated the district for its "... schools' accreditation accomplishments and continued success in improving educational opportunities for the young people it serves."

This District is one of only 38 districts in Florida that qualified for this recognition. Pennington said, "For our school system to be one of only thirty-eight in the state to receive this recognition is indeed special. This acknowledgment shows the dedication of our employees in seeing that our public schools meet the accreditation requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. I am extremely pleased with this recognition and I would like to commend everyone for their hard work."

SACS CASI is not a government agency and accreditation is voluntary. Accreditation helps schools improve teaching and student learning through a systematic process of self-analysis in terms of standards. Accreditation assures not only that an institution meets the standards, but also that it demonstrates a commitment to continuously providing quality educational programs.

An alliance between SACS CASI and the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation (CITA) provides every elementary, middle, and secondary school that holds SACS accreditation the additional benefits of national accreditation and international recognition.

SACS accreditation ensures benefits to the community, including: mission and goals focused on improving student performance and each school's capacity to improve teaching and learning; a collaboratively developed improvement plan that includes methods for measuring students progress and involves key school stakeholders; a continuous improvement process that integrates all types of school planning and evaluation requirements; the assurance of quality through regular review of programs by a team of outside peer professionals; accountability and value for tax dollars spent; and Regional, National, and International Recognition as an accredited school.

Founded in 1895 and headquartered in Decatur, GA, SACS is one of six regional accreditation bodies in the United States. SACS serves 11 Southern states from Virginia to Texas, as well as American-International schools in Latin America and other geographical areas. For additional information check the Association's web page at www.sacs.org.

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