Birmingham City Schools (BCS) has been given full district accreditation by AdvancED, the national accrediting agency. According to Birmingham Superintendent Lisa Herring, this is the first time Birmingham City Schools has been accredited as a system with no conditions. In 2013, the system had been placed on probation.
The full accreditation is a remarkable comeback for a school system that was marred by financial woes and School Board infighting five years ago.
Herring credited working on behalf of the students, as the key to the turnaround.
Stating on WBRC Fox6, “What we focus on is our ability to be able to work on behalf of children. Even when we don’t agree, we come to a place of understanding and make decisions around what’s best for children.”
In 2013, AdvanED, put BCS on probation citing micromanagement and dysfunction across the school board. Andre Harrison, AdvancED Regional Director, mentioned that the process is different than accrediting each school because there’s more focus on leadership and student performance across the entire district.
A few of the requirements for the school system was to improve student achievement, build up cash reserve, and ensure an effective board governance structure.
According to BCS, they met and exceeded some of those requirements. “One such example is in the district’s cash reserves. While only required to carry one month’s operating balance, the district currently operates with a more than four month reserve. Other improvements also include alignment of district goals and resources, ongoing board training, and development of a district strategic plan.”
“This is a proud day for Birmingham City Schools, and a testament to the grit and tenacity of our system,” said Dr. Lisa Herring. “We have worked hard toward district accreditation but recognize today does not mark the end of the journey. It is a beginning as we continue to press forward toward academic excellence.”
The accreditation will last for five years.