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Birmingham City Schools receives full accreditation for first time ever

Times Staff Report

Birmingham City Schools (BCS) in July received full systemwide accreditation for the first time ever, announced Superintendent Lisa Herring. The school system gained approval from AdvancED, a nonprofit, nonpartisan accrediting organization that conducts rigorous, on-site reviews of various educational institutions and systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential.

“This is a proud day for BCS and a testament to the grit and tenacity of our system,” said Herring. “We have worked hard toward district accreditation but recognize that today does not mark the end of the journey. It is a beginning as we continue to press forward toward academic excellence.”

Prior to this designation, schools participated individually in accreditation efforts by AdvancED, also known as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). BCS’s accreditation will be in effect for five years.

Since 2012, BCS has been on the journey toward districtwide accreditation. During that time, the system was required to comply with specified actions that included building the system’s cash reserve, ensuring an effective board-governance structure, and increasing student achievement.

While not achieving full district accreditation until the recent award, BCS has operated with conditional accreditation, was required to participate in ongoing district assessments, and was closely monitored by AdvancED review teams. To achieve the goal, BCS met and, in some cases, exceeded required actions. One such example is in the district’s cash reserves. While only required to carry a one-month operating balance, the district currently operates with a more-than-four-month reserve. Other improvements include alignment of district goals and resources; ongoing board training; and development of a district strategic plan.

The first day of classes for BCS is August 6.

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