RSS School & System Acccreditation

Navigating the 2014- 2015 AdvancED Accreditation Process

2014-2015 District Accreditation Visit

During the Spring of 2015, Rowan-Salisbury will be hosting our second district accreditation External Review Team visit. Educators from outside and inside of North Carolina will be in Rowan-Salisbury for four days to visit schools, observe in classrooms, talk with stakeholders, examine data, and provide us feedback to advance our continuous improvement efforts.

More information about the External Review Team visit is located at Systems Accreditation Handbook.

The Rowan-Salisbury School System accreditation visit is scheduled for April 12-15, 2015.

Accreditation Report Timeline

RSS will need to follow a very specific timeline for completion of the Accreditation Report components for both the district and each individual school. Please review the descriptions of each of the components provided below, access the resources that describe how to complete each part, and develop a schedule that will enable your school to adhere to the timelines indicated.

Our timeline includes a review at the district level prior to any documents being submitted to our external review team. More specifics about the review process will be available soon.

The System Accreditation Process: Responsibilities of the School

Each of the schools connected to a system are responsible for contributing to the preparations for hosting an AdvancED External Review Team. Each school will be responsible for updating their demographics and completing and submitting collection of diagnostics and reports using the ASSIST online system. The collection of these components makes up the School Accreditation Report.

The Accreditation Report consists of:

  1. Goals and Plans (your current SIP)
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Self-Assessment
  4. Stakeholder Feedback Diagnostic
  5. Student Performance Diagnostic
  6. AdvancED Assurances

Answers to frequently asked questions about the accreditation process can be found on the AdvancED site at AdvancED Q & A.

The System Accreditation Process: Responsibilities of the School District

In addition to the accreditation report each school will complete, the school system is primarily responsible for the preparations connected to hosting an AdvancED External Review Team. The district oversees the work at each school and completes and submits the school reports as well as develops its own collection of diagnostics and reports using the ASSIST online system. The collection of these components makes up the District Accreditation Report.

The District Accreditation Report consists of:

  1. Goals and Plans (the current strategic plan entered into ASSIST)
  2. District Executive Summary (offline template)
  3. District Self-Assessment or District Self-Assessment Concept Map
  4. Stakeholder Feedback Diagnostic Report for the School System and Stakeholder Feedback Worksheet
  5. Student Performance Diagnostic Report for the School System and Student Performance Worksheet
  6. AdvancED Assurances for the District

Other documents related to district accreditation are provided for reference.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the accreditation process can be found on the AdvancED site at AdvancED Q & A.

Log onto ASSIST at

As you work on the creation of each component of your school's accreditation report, you will have the chance to SAVE or UPDATE your documents. You can also create PDFs of each report to share with your staff as needed. Remember, do not SUBMIT or PUBLISH any document. All accreditation report information will be submitted after the district level review has been completed.

#1 - Completing Your Current School Improvement Plans

To close out your school's 2014-2016 School Improvement Plans, please complete the following steps by Friday, December 12, 2014.

  1. Review your 2014-2016 plan to be sure it is complete and entered into the ASSIST template.
  2. Save a copy of the plan as a PDF, using the following naming convention: School Name 2014-2016 School Improvement Plan (Log onto ASSIST, choose Goals and Plans, select Plan, scroll to the bottom of the page and choose Edit Plan, type in the new name in the box at the top of the page, and save your plan.)
  3. Post the following information on your school's web page:
  • the pdf of the plan you saved from ASSIST
  • a list of the current year's SIT members
  • a list of the remaining SIT meeting dates for the school year
  • minutes of any meetings held this year

If you need help with any of the steps, please contact your grade span director.

Some specific resources that will help finalizing your plans are:

Log onto ASSIST at

UPDATE: School Improvement Plans

This component should be complete at this time. Take a look at where the items are located on your website to see whether or not they are easily accessible to your school community.

Be sure to update the site with minutes from SIT meetings as they take place.

#2 - Stakeholder Surveys

The AdvancED Stakeholder Surveys are designed for an school or school system to gather data on its stakeholders’ perceptions, opinions, and overall knowledge of various facets of the institution. Administering the student, staff, and parent surveys fulfills an accreditation requirement for all schools and districts.

We will be deploying those surveys prior to Thanksgiving vacation. More specific information will follow within the next few days. Paper surveys will be available for parents who do not have the ability to complete the survey online. Several other languages are available as well. Paper surveys (English, Spanish, and other selected languages) will be sent to your attention at the school.

After survey deployment, the expectation is that schools will continue to follow up with parents, students, and staff in order to secure participation at the following levels:

  • parents - at least 20% of parents responding
  • students - at least 40% of students responding
  • staff - at least 60% of staff responding

Resources available for the deployment and the interpretation of the survey results are:

Log onto ASSIST at

Checking Progress of Stakeholder Surveys

Below are instructions on how individual schools can access their survey reports to check progress toward the participation goals for each group.

  1. Log in to your ASSIST account.
  2. Click on the Diagnostics & Surveys tab.
  3. Click on the Reports tab.
  4. Scroll down to the Survey Reports section, where you will see the five survey reports that AdvancED provides.
  5. Click on the report you wish to view.
  6. On the following page, select the criteria for the survey you want to view this for (survey type, school year, etc.).
  7. Then, click on View Report to view the report online or Export Report to have the report sent to the email address you are logged in under.

UPDATE: Stakeholder Surveys

Ongoing as needed

Continue to check the AdvancED site to see whether or not you have met the expected participation rates for parents, students, and staff. The surveys for your school will remain open until you have met the targets for each survey.

You can use the attached document In order to track your progress toward expected participation rates.

#3 - School Self-Assessment

One key component of the Accreditation Report is the school Self-Assessment.

The AdvancED Self-Assessment is designed to serve as a valuable tool that will assist schools in reflecting upon their effectiveness as well as prepare them for an External Review. The Self-Assessment is based on the five AdvancED Standards for Quality, which serve as the foundation of the AdvancED accreditation process. It helps a school identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement by reflecting upon questions posed in the Indicators and rating themselves on a 4-level scale.

Work should begin on the self-assessment right away with the goal of completing the self-assessment for your school by December 19, 2014.

Resources available for completion of the self-assessment process are:

Log onto ASSIST at

UPDATE: Self-Assessment

This component should be complete at this time.

  • Once all questions in the Self Assessment have a response, select COMPLETE to finalize the Self Assessment.
  • You can REOPEN the diagnostic at any time for editing before submitting the diagnostic.
  • Select VIEW RESULTS to see a bar graph of your results. Viewing diagnostic results provides the overall ratings for your institution at the Standard level. Standard level ratings are calculated by an algorithm in ASSIST that looks at your performance level responses to each Indicator

#4 - Student Performance and Stakeholder Diagnostic Reports

The Student Performance Diagnostic aids schools in collecting and analyzing student performance data in order to identify areas of achievement and those in need of improvement. The Stakeholder Diagnostic enables schools to analyze results of the staff, student, and parent surveys in a systematic way.

Each school should plan to begin the diagnostic components when we return from Christmas break in January. At that time, sufficient survey results as well as state and local data should be available for all schools. Thorough data analysis will also enable schools to appropriately reflect on results as the School Executive Summary is written. Schools should plan to complete their student performance and stakeholder diagnostic reports by February 13, 2015.

Resources available for completion of the diagnostic reports are:

Log onto ASSIST at

UPDATE: Student Performance Diagnostic

In progress

The mid-year data team presentation you are preparing for your January/February data team visit should also be used as the documentation portion of the student performance diagnostic report. The reflection that you do in preparation for your data team visit should also provide you and your team with the majority of answers to the Student Performance Diagnostic questions.

Be sure that your data team presentation contains all necessary information. Save your presentation as a pdf document and follow directions in the guide to attach the data presentation in ASSIST.

UPDATE: Stakeholder Feedback Diagnostic

In progress

Be sure to use the Stakeholder Feedback Worksheet to compile the results from your surveys. Use the information you have gathered to work through the questions and provide responses in the Stakeholder Feedback Data Document. Links to both can be found above.

#5 - School Executive Summary

The Executive Summary is a narrative diagnostic tool that captures your school or school system’s story. It contains the vision and cultural context of the institution, key information about how the school provides teaching and learning, and highlights challenges and opportunities. The Executive Summary is a required component of the Accreditation Report that must be submitted in preparation for an External Review; however, institutions are encouraged to use it as an ongoing

support tool.

Schools can begin to work on the Executive Summary at any time. The report should be complete and ready for review by March 1, 2015.

Resources available for understanding and completing the executive summary are:

Log onto ASSIST at

UPDATE: Executive Summary

In progress

You and your team should be working on your school's executive summary at this time. Remember that this is the opportunity to tell a story about your school and reflect on accomplishments, changes, and challenges. Be sure that the report is reviewed and edited by several people at your school so that it is a cohesive narrative.

#6 - Advanced Assurances

ASSIST provides a streamlined process for certifying each school's adherence with accreditation, compliance and/or accountability statements. These statements are called assurances. All assurances require a simple “Yes” or “No” certification response, and offer the ability to upload supporting documentation as well as provide additional

narrative comments. Institutions engaged in the AdvancED Accreditation Process will

need to certify a handful of assurances once every five years prior to hosting an External Review.

Schools can begin to enter information into the Assurances section of ASSIST at any time, but the report should be complete and ready for review by March 1, 2015.

Resources available for completing the AdvancED assurances for schools are:

Log onto ASSIST at

UPDATE: Assurances

In progress

You and your team should be working on your school's assurances at this time. Remember to review each statement carefully. If you have questions or concerns about any of the assurances, please contact your grade span director.


Dr. Darrell Barringer, will be serving as chair of our External Review Team in April. On September 22nd, he provided an orientation for the Administrative Team. A link to the handout from his orientation is provided below.

AdvancED Standards for Quality

AdvanceED has developed standards for quality schools and school districts. These standards are research-based, comprehensive quality statements that contribute to a quality educational experience and operational effectiveness. AdvancED believes that every school requires:

  • stable governance, management, and leadership;
  • a coherent course of study;
  • a reliable system by which to assess students’ progress;
  • instructors who have a clear understanding of what they aim to teach, how, and why; and
  • access to the resources they need.

AdvanceED Standards for Quality Schools and School Districts should guide us as we prepare school and district plans for continuous improvement. Please review those standards below.

Your ASSIST Account

To log onto ASSIST, go to the AdvancED website ( and choose LOG IN from the upper right-hand corner. Enter your username and password, and choose ASSIST from the list. You can also log in directly at

If you do not have an AdvancED account you will need to create one. In order to do that, you must have your ADVANCED SCHOOL ACCESS CODE for your account to be properly connected to your school. Please contact Alesia Burnette for that information.

Other ASSIST Resources

A number of ASSIST resources can be found at this site Guides and Resources

Some specific resources that will help your school as you are prepare for the April accreditation visit are:

Log onto ASSIST at

Rowan-Salisbury Schools' Strategic Plan

The district's strategic plan goals should be the basis of your individual school plan. Details about those goals can be found on the RSS website at Goals & Strategies.

Each school will create school-based goals in each of the following FOUR broad areas:

  1. Literacy and Reading
  2. Engaging Student Work
  3. School Safety
  4. Parental Involvement

North Carolina School Improvement Planning

A copy of the guidelines published in the North Carolina School Improvement Planning Implementation Guide is provided to answer many of your School Improvement Plan development questions. This guide was revised by NC DPI in September of 2013 to provide updated guidance for principals and School Improvement Teams. A copy of the guide can be found at

NOTE: Be sure to review pages 7-15 entitled Part Two: Legal Requirements for School Improvement Planning. In addition, please remember that a list of SIT members, SIT meeting dates, times, and minutes from SIT meetings must be posted on your school website.

In preparation for our pending accreditation visit, our district will be using the School Improvement Plan template found in ASSIST (found on the AdvancED site). You can access ASSIST at


Dr. Moody sent a link to information about SMART goals. See the link below to find definitions and examples of how to develop SMART goals . The goal entry section of the ASSIST template is set up for SIT members to enter very specific, measurable goals for each area.