For months the Appling County School System has teetered on losing its Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) coveted accreditation. Had the system lost SACS accreditation, it would have had dire consequences on students, stakeholders and the entire community.
Following a visit by a SACS monitoring team in late June, the findings were released and Appling’s accreditation status has been improved to “Warned” instead of “Probation”. Probation, simply put, meant that our school system was one step away from loss of accreditation. In fact, I believe our system was very close to losing accreditation after a December 2010 visit by the monitoring team. Had it not been for the system having three newly elected board members and a newly appointed superintendent that took their positions January 1, I feel strongly that the review team would have yanked Appling’s accreditation.
Another reason I have this opinion is because in December the team found that the system had only made progress on three out of the seven required actions. The remaining four required actions had not even been addressed at that point. Now our system has completed three of the seven actions and is making progress on the remaining four steps according to the team’s recent visit. This is a dramatic improvement and Superintendent Scarlett Copeland, board members Randy Crawford, Randy Sellers, Minnie Barnes, Scottie Ammons and M.C. Barlow, as well as the entire school system staff and stakeholders should be commended for their hard work and determination to get our system back on the right track.
Years ago I remember that one of my cousins visited my family’s farm during the Christmas holidays. Being from a big city, this cousin had never experienced life on the farm. All at once he came running into my parent’s house crying and telling his dad that something had bit him outside near the cow pen. His dad followed him outside to see what had bit him. Low and behold it was simply the electric fence, which my cousin proceeded to get shocked by a second time when he showed his dad the culprit of his attack. He simply did not learn from his mistake.
It is my sincere hope and prayer that our system will learn from past mistakes, continue to progress and make the Appling County School System one of the most revered system’s in the state. The children and stakeholders of this community deserve nothing but the best, especially following the past few years.
(On a side note, action by the board did not go unnoticed. At a recent meeting and prior to entering into a closed-door session, board members announced that they were entering the session to discuss personnel and litigation. Following the session the board voted on a number of items and then noted that they needed to go into another closed session to discuss real estate since it was not announced prior to the first closed session. It would have been very easy for board members to just go ahead and discuss the topic in the first closed session. Nobody would have ever known except board members, the superintendent and Board Attorney Alex Johnson. This simple act showed that board members, Copeland and Johnson are mindful of the Georgia Open Meetings Act and are concerned that they follow law and procedures. Thank you.)