It took two years and many a hurdle, but all DeKalb County schools are now accredited.
When the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/AdvancedEd put the DeKalb system on probation, parents had legitimate worries over whether loss of accreditation was coming next. When Clayton County lost accreditation, for instance, hundreds of students fled the system.
Interestingly, it wasn’t an educator who pointed a way forward. Dunwoody Councilman Terry Nall began to search for a backup plan. It led to a state agency not widely familiar to the public.
The Georgia Accreditation Commission exists to do exactly what SACS/AdvancED does but with a lower profile and lower costs.
Nall used city council resolutions and persistence with the DeKalb school board and its superintendent, Michael Thurmond. They agreed over time to seek that second opinion and GAC was hired.
Its consultants began site visits and earlier this month rendered a verdict.
In a letter to Nall, the executive director of the GAC, Phil Murphy, told Nall his board had voted unanimously to approve the DeKalb consultants’ recommendation.
“All high schools were ‘Accredited with Quality,’ which means they met all standards,” he wrote.
That is the commission’s highest rating.
The DeKalb school board heard the news last week.
Since Nall began the effort, SACS/AdvancedEd has lifted the county school system from probation, but even if school board behavior again turned below standards, high school students’ diplomas, scholarship efforts and the like would be unaffected.
Nall has a daughter at Dunwoody High School.