District Accreditation

  • Marion County Public Schools will be working towards Cognia System Accreditation during the 2023-2024 school year. All non-charter public schools in the District will be part of this process.

    The accreditation process asks institutions and systems to critically evaluate their vision, strategies, priorities, leadership, programs, and resources. Accreditation is designed to help educational systems boost their ongoing performance efforts for the benefit of their students. Cognia insists on a relentless pursuit of excellence – for itself and for the institutions it accredits. This ethic of excellence ensures that institutions will find rich benefits from accreditation and that parents can confidentially make informed decisions about their children’s education, knowing their child’s school is accredited. Accreditation matters because our students deserve the highest level of educational excellence possible.

    About Cognia

    Cognia has worked with accreditation and school improvement since 1895, and brings this 100+ years of experience and expertise through three US-based accreditation agencies — the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). The Cognia Accreditation Process, a protocol embraced around the world, is a clear and comprehensive program of evaluation and external review, supported by research-based Standards, and dedicated to helping schools, school systems, corporation systems, and education providers continuously improve.

    Cognia™ Performance Accreditation uses research-based standards and evaluative criteria to examine a whole institution or system—the policies, programs, practices, learning conditions, and cultural context—to determine how well the parts work together to carry out the system’s vision. The accreditation experience includes both self-assessment and evaluation from professional evaluators.  

    Cognia Performance Standards K-12 and Postsecondary Institutions

    Why Does Accreditation Matter?

    For Students
    Students benefit from their institution or educational system’s commitment to raising student performance and achievement. Students that attend an accredited institution gain greater access to federal loans, scholarships, postsecondary education and military programs.

    For Parents
    Accreditation guarantees institutions uphold high standards, providing parents with the confidence to make well-informed decisions regarding their children's education.

    For Teachers/Staff
    Through the accreditation process, teachers and staff engage in a critical evaluation of teaching and learning practices. This evaluation fosters a culture of continuous improvement and a focus on achieving academic excellence.

    For Communities and Businesses
    When schools demonstrate educational excellence through accreditation, it enhances the reputation of the community. As a result, communities become more attractive for economic growth and expansion of businesses.

    Accreditation Process

    The accreditation process is a strenuous undertaking which probes the entire system from policies to learning conditions, leadership, resources, and cultural context, to determine how well the parts work together to meet the needs of every learner. It ensures accountability for all and enhances the growth mindset for the system. The Accreditation acknowledges and recognizes an alignment of overall continuous improvement for a system of schools.

    The Cognia system accreditation model encourages one shared vision of continuous improvement and a common language of improvement to increase efficiency and effectiveness. With this approach, our school system is reviewed once per accreditation cycle.

    With the system accreditation process, we will:

    • Determine how well components work together to meet students’ needs
    • Increase transparency and buy-in of processes and policies
    • Enhance communication and collaboration across teams
    • Improve equitable management of human and fiscal resources
    • Engage our teams in targeted training and professional development
    • Set strategic direction based on system-wide data

    Cognia System Accreditation Timeline:

    • August 2023 to February 2024

    Questions about District Accreditation may be directed to Ben Whitehouse, Director of Student Assessment.