Opelika City Schools get high marks in accreditation review
Opelika City Schools get high marks in accreditation review
Tyra L. Jackson | Reporter | Opelika-Auburn News |

Representatives from an accreditation team evaluated Opelika City Schools this week, and officials were happy with the results that were announced at a board meeting Wednesday.

The system was evaluated by AdvancED , a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts reviews of K-12 schools and school systems. A team of six evaluators visited six of eight Opelika City Schools. Principals were interviewed at the two schools that were not toured.

Opelika City Schools received an outstanding review, said Bill Craig, lead evaluator.

“As a board and school community, you should be proud,” Craig told board members and instructors.  

The school system was evaluated based on five standards, including governance and leadership, with 41 indicators. The indicators were rated on a scale of 1-to-4, with four being the highest. The Opelika City Schools System received an overall score of 315.45 for the Index of Education Quality, a holistic measure of an institution’s overall performance based on a comprehensive set of indicators and evaluative criteria. The network average is 278.03.

The AdvancED team recommended Opelika City Schools for accreditation. The accreditation results for Opelika City Schools will be announced later this year.

Craig said he and others were impressed with how school leaders used data to monitor the school system, how resources were used to focus on the school’s mission, and how Opelika City Schools collaborates with the community.

Superintendent Mark Neighbors was just as pleased with the results from the external review exit report.

“It was a good experience, and we’re proud of our folk,” he said.

Though Opelika City Schools received a good score, the system had one area of improvement to work on. Craig said it needed to develop and implement classroom strategies to increase the frequency of differentiated instruction and student use of technology tools to support the system’s instructional initiatives. Improvement priorities must be addressed within two years.

Craig said he noticed Opelika City Schools were working to improve that area. Neighbors said it’s been the system’s goal to better that sector of education.

“We’re talking about setting up workshops to reach students who are struggling,” he said.

Neighbors said the system will continue to make improvements and he is impressed with the work instructors and leaders have done to earn a good score.

“It’s validation that we focused on what was important,” he said.