Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools Pursue System-Wide Accreditation
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Beginning this Fall, the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools will embark on
a two-year process to become accredited by AdvancED,
the world’s largest educational accrediting agency. This represents a significant
step forward for Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese, the vast majority
of which until now have been accredited through an internal process. All the elementary
schools are currently recognized by the State of Illinois and will continue to participate
in that separate process.
Strategic Plan for Catholic Schools (2013-2016) calls for an externally
vetted ongoing school improvement process leading to system-wide accreditation.
The AdvancED process, used at all levels of education and recognized for its ability
to effectively drive student performance and continuous improvement, fits the mandate
of the plan.
“Adopting an accreditation process with national credibility coupled with the resources
afforded us by the AdvancED State Office bodes well for our continued growth in
every measure of school excellence. We do what we do to serve our young people.
Our high schools choose this process for individual validation. Including our elementary
schools as a ‘district’ validates that we remain serious about standards for Catholic
schools across Lake and Cook Counties,’” comments Sr. Mary Paul McCaughey, Archdiocese
of Chicago Catholic Schools Superintendent.
Additionally, the Systems Accreditation designed for Catholic school systems aligns
the schools with both the AdvancED Standards
and the recently published National
Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools
(National Catholic Standards). The standards for continuous school improvement
and their vetting by outside evaluators help to ensure quality across several measures.
Each year schools will collect and analyze data, set goals, plan, implement, and
evaluate their efforts with the goal of authentic school improvement. The main areas
around which data will be collected are Catholic identity, academics, governance,
community engagement, and infrastructure.
This Fall, elementary schools sponsored by the Archdiocese or their local parish
will work to meet the AdvancED Standards and the National Catholic Standards as
a system (“district”), while developing a common language for school improvement.
School leaders and a locally appointed AdvancED chair will provide data for performance
benchmarks that will enable all Catholic elementary and secondary schools to assess,
strengthen, and sustain their operations.
To learn more about the AdvancED accreditation process, including the key review
steps and timeline, visit our
Accreditation page on our Catholic School Resource Portal.