Birmingham Public Schools district earns high honors

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published January 4, 2012

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BIRMINGHAM — The Birmingham Public Schools district as a whole can now boast an impressive new accreditation, in addition to the individual honors the schools have previously earned.

AdvancED, the world’s largest educational community and accreditation organization, sent a team of eight educators to Birmingham Dec. 11-14 for a Quality Assurance Review, and the team recommended the district for full accreditation status. This is the first time the district has sought such an evaluation for the entire district.

The review was based on seven standards: vision and purpose, governance and leadership, teaching and learning, documenting and using results, resource and support systems, stakeholder communications and relationships, and commitment to continuous improvement.

In the vision/purBIRMINGHAM — The Birmingham Public Schools district as a whole can now boast an impressive new accreditation, in addition to the individual honors the schools have previously earned.

AdvancED, the world’s largest educational community and accreditation organization, sent a team of eight educators to Birmingham Dec. 11-14 for a Quality Assurance Review, and the team recommended the district for full accreditation status. This is the first time the district has sought such an evaluation for the entire district.

The review was based on seven standards: vision and purpose, governance and leadership, teaching and learning, documenting and using results, resource and support systems, stakeholder communications and relationships, and commitment to continuous improvement.

In the vision/purpose, teaching/learning, resource and stakeholder categories, BPS was named “highly functional,” the highest possible rating. In the other three categories, the district was “operational,” the second highest score.

The team also awarded BPS five commendations for its practices, including having a high degree of fiscal responsibility and developing a clear articulation and understanding of the district’s mission.

“AdvancED is the standard for public education. The fact that we rated so high and got full accreditation on our first attempt speaks volumes,” said Deputy Superintendent Paul DeAngelis. “The areas where we scored higher were all things we know we do well and take a lot of pride in.”

]The QAR team did, however, determine that BPS must take action to improve in three areas: creating a district-wide assessment to examine the implementation of Common Core Standards in K-12 curriculum; to establish an evaluation process to determine the effectiveness of Professional Learning Communities, Response to Intervention, and 21st Century Teaching and Learning; and to improve the staff’s literacy of and use of assessment data.

While the district has two years to show improvement in these areas, DeAngelis said the task is already under way. The district has brought on instructional specialists, a position that directly supports teachers with anything from enrichment activities to analyzing data from standardized testing results.

“We’ve already seen a tremendous benefit from having them onboard. They’re there to ensure that the teachers have everything they need to support the kids,” said DeAngelis.

BPS parent Becky Brady is excited about the outcome of the review. She has a sixth-grader at Berkshire Middle School and a third-grader at Beverly Elementary.

“I know that the district is always looking to move ahead and provide the best education for our children. If they can continue to set the standard and move forward, instead of sitting back, that’s the best example we can set for our children.”

She added, “I see every day what’s happening in the schools, regardless of this seal of approval. But it’s great to be confirmed as a parent that your kids are in the right place with the right people.”

The formal report from AdvancED will be posted on the BPS website in early 2012. For more information on the review, visit www.birmingham.k12.mi.us.
pose, teaching/learning, resource and stakeholder categories, BPS was named “highly functional,” the highest possible rating. In the other three categories, the district was “operational,” the second highest score.

The team also awarded BPS five commendations for its practices, including having a high degree of fiscal responsibility and developing a clear articulation and understanding of the district’s mission.

“AdvancED is the standard for public education. The fact that we rated so high and got full accreditation on our first attempt speaks volumes,” said Deputy Superintendent Paul DeAngelis. “The areas where we scored higher were all things we know we do well and take a lot of pride in.”

]The QAR team did, however, determine that BPS must take action to improve in three areas: creating a district-wide assessment to examine the implementation of Common Core Standards in K-12 curriculum; to establish an evaluation process to determine the effectiveness of Professional Learning Communities, Response to Intervention, and 21st Century Teaching and Learning; and to improve the staff’s literacy of and use of assessment data.

While the district has two years to show improvement in these areas, DeAngelis said the task is already under way. The district has brought on instructional specialists, a position that directly supports teachers with anything from enrichment activities to analyzing data from standardized testing results.

“We’ve already seen a tremendous benefit from having them onboard. They’re there to ensure that the teachers have everything they need to support the kids,” said DeAngelis.

BPS parent Becky Brady is excited about the outcome of the review. She has a sixth-grader at Berkshire Middle School and a third-grader at Beverly Elementary.

“I know that the district is always looking to move ahead and provide the best education for our children. If they can continue to set the standard and move forward, instead of sitting back, that’s the best example we can set for our children.”

She added, “I see every day what’s happening in the schools, regardless of this seal of approval. But it’s great to be confirmed as a parent that your kids are in the right place with the right people.”

The formal report from AdvancED will be posted on the BPS website in early 2012. For more information on the review, visit www.birmingham.k12.mi.us.

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