District is handling Pickens education issues

February 4, 2014

To the editor,

I’d like to respond to the letter written concerning the recent review by AdvancED of the School District of Pickens County. AdvancEd’s team recommended a renewal of the district’s accreditation. (As some think and others have written, they think AdvancED recommended non-accreditation. That is untrue.)

With all accreditation processes, be it the one done by the State Department of Education or AdvancED, there is usually a list of required steps of improvement. AdvancED listed three things it wants the district/ board to address in terms of education issues, building issues and board governance.

We are already moving forward on all of that. The administration is handling the education issues. The board is working with a consultant on the governance issues, and we have already met with him and will meet again next week. The board is drawing up a policy that will create a building maintenance budget process, we believe will satisfy the requirement on buildings.

The district’s graduation rate has risen 4 points the past four years. When you look at the exam all high schoolers take – the Exit Exam, scores are the highest they’ve been since 1999. When you look at the PASS, it shows elementary and middle schoolers are gaining ground too. Our district is in the top 10 in the state.

I’m confident the renewal of accreditation will be finalized in a few months.

Alex Saitta

Pickens School Board Trustee