Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

March 5, 2013

School works to get high marks

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — A long, grueling process involving lots of work behind the scenes pays off in a big way for a school’s self-assessment when it results in high marks for accreditation.

That was the case for Pauls Valley’s junior high during a recent team visit and last fall for the local high school as both had pretty good report cards after undergoing a lengthy evaluation resulting in national accreditation.

Looking like they had just come out the hardest test of their lives, one of the many local junior high officials wrapping up their accreditation process was school counselor Janet Cook

“It’s a self assessment,” Cook said.

“We did the internal review. They’re really the external review,” she said, referring to a team of officials who came in and looked at just about every aspect of the school.

The process itself actually started about a year and a half ago when officials began a process of assessing what they do at the school.

Then a couple of weeks ago the process finally wrapped up with a two-day visit by a team made up of school administrators in Oklahoma and the state Department of Education.

The last time the junior high underwent this lengthy evaluation was back in 2003, according to Cook.

“We’ve been spending the last year looking at our school; looking at what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong,” she said.

“We assess ourselves and then the team comes in to see if we’re doing what we say we’re doing and that it all matches up.

“The accreditation process is all about improvement; about how we can better our students, improving teaching, leadership, focusing on the school performance and direction.”

Once the visiting team was here they went about the business of talking to just about everyone to see how the school measures up when it comes to the high standards of the national accreditation.

“They were observing teachers; talking to parents, students and support staff,” Cook said.

“They interview the teachers and the students and some parents.”

In the end the never ending process of assessing themselves paid off for the junior high as it did receive high marks for the accreditation.

“It is kind of prestigious to be chosen as a high performing school,” she said.

“Our school is way above normal.”