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District Accreditation

District Accreditation


What is District Accreditation?
AdvancED District Accreditation is a powerful systems approach to improving student performance results and organizational effectiveness over time. District Accredi- tation recognizes that increasing student achievement involves more than improving instruction. It is a result of how well all the parts of the education system - the district, school, and classroom - work together to meet the needs of students.

What is the difference between District Accreditation and School Accreditation?
Accreditation has historically focused on individual schools. Most often, each school has determined whether it would engage in accreditation, which goals it would pursue, and what evidence would be used to determine success. Only recently has the district been perceived as a key leverage point for school improvement. Research now reveals that a school district is uniquely positioned to lead and support effective improvement of each of its schools.

Building on this research, AdvancED has developed an accreditation process specifically designed for school districts. The process invites school districts and their stakeholders to collaborate in reviewing the quality of the district's systems, the success of each individual school, and their collective contribution to student learning and overall district effectiveness.

What are the benefits of District Accreditation?
District Accreditation is not a stand-alone process; rather, it serves as an umbrella or framework that supports system- wide continuous improvement focused directly on improving learning for all students. School districts engaged in District Accreditation indicate that it is a highly effective process for meeting and exceeding federal and state accountability requirements. In addition, District Accreditation:

  • Supports and enhances a common language of school improvement across content areas and grade levels, as well as across individual schools, feeder schools, and school district lines of responsibility.
  • Ensures continuity and collaboration in planning for improvement anchored in a common vision for education among all of the district's schools and ensures that each school's improvement goals complement those of the school district.
  • Provides the school district and community with external review and recognition for improvement efforts as well as recommendations from an external team of professionals that are designed to further the district's improvement efforts.
  • Supports a system-wide approach to achieving results.
  • Ensures alignment and coordination among all of the schools in the district.
  • Provides an internationally-recognized mark of quality for the school district and its schools, students, teachers, and the community.

How does a district achieve District Accreditation?

District Accreditation requires commitment from the district's leadership and Board of Education.The school district must have in place or in development a quality continuous improvement planning process focused on improving student learning and commit to achieving and maintaining the following requirements:
1. Meet AdvancED standards. The AdvancED Accreditation Standards for Quality School Systems are derived from educational research and best practice. They are centered on teaching and learning and encompass all aspects of a district. The standards require that schools have a clear vision and purpose; have effective and responsive leadership; have a rigorous curriculum taught through sound, research-based methods; collect, report, and use performance results; provide adequate resources and support for its educational programs; value and communicate with stakeholders; and have a commitment to continuously improve. They can be viewed and downloaded at

2. Engage in a continuous process of improvement. An accredited district is committed to being better today than it was yesterday. The district and all of its schools identify a shared vision, maintain a district-wide profile of the current reality, establish plans and assess the implementation of interventions, and document the results of their efforts to improve student learning and school/district effectiveness.

3. Demonstrate quality assurance through internal and external review. Internal review involves district and school stakeholders. External review involves feedback from experienced educators from outside the district. In both cases, reviewers examine evidence to determine if the district and its schools are meeting the standards and achieving goals for improving student learning and school/district effectiveness.

District Accreditation Brochure