In Focus Blog

Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools Pursue System-Wide Accreditation

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

By Ryan Blackburn

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.

The 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.


  • 8/21/2013 7:33:57 AM | link | reply

    Good Morning. I was wondering if Epiphany Catholic School in Little Village will be participating in thi swonderful program as well? If so could you explain what type of changes would be implemented and what can we expect to see from this program. My daughter Is a 6th grade student there. Any info would be much appreciated. Thank You and have a wonderful day.

    - Kimberly Z.

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