The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has contracted with AdvancED parent company of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), to provide a Web-based school and district improvement planning framework and management system beginning in the 2012-13 school year.

AdvancED’s Adaptive System of School Improvement Support Tools, or ASSIST, can be used for the required Comprehensive School and District Improvement Planning (CSIP/CDIP) process that has been mandated for nearly 20 years. The Elizabethtown Independent and McCracken County school districts have agreed to serve as the pilot sites for this new approach during the 2011-12 school year and will utilize ASSIST as well as the new planning framework in conjunction with their District Accreditation processes.

AdvancED ASSIST is an interactive Web-based platform that uses state-of-the-art technology to guide users through a meaningful continuous improvement process, support disciplined thought and data-based decision making, and ensure that compliance details and improvement activities are effectively monitored and implemented. Through the use of ASSIST, Kentucky schools and districts will have the ability to create unique data profiles, build high-quality goals and plans, document the implementation process, and evaluate effectiveness of program and planning initiatives in a single user-friendly system. ASSIST also enables collaboration among schools across the state as well as the AdvancED network of 27,000 schools in the U.S. and abroad and provides a framework for managing the SACS CASI accreditation process.

This system also will be used to manage and support compliance and reporting requirements for several programs, including the federal Title I program. The dynamic nature of ASSIST allows schools and districts to document their ongoing improvement efforts, access data and respond to questions and assurances one time and then use all of this information to address compliance requirements across various programs, eliminating duplication of effort and creating a seamless monitoring process.

In making the announcement, Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said that “AdvancED and SACS are recognized across the world as the leading organization for school and district improvement and accreditation. Our partnership with them in the use of ASSIST will help our educators reduce the number of plans required from schools and districts and better align our practices to the U.S. Department of Education, which is highly interested in more comprehensive plans that track resources and results. ASSIST could be a valuable tool for the CSIP/CDIP process, and I encourage all school districts to consider its use.”

Tom Jones, AdvancED Kentucky state director, noted that “AdvancED and KDE are focused on the same goal of promoting excellence in student performance and school/system effectiveness in Kentucky schools. Our partnership with KDE will establish a single common framework that will eliminate redundancies for school and district improvement planning and create a statewide network to support and help manage improvement initiatives.”

About AdvancED
Dedicated to advancing excellence in education through accreditation, research and professional services, AdvancED is the world’s largest education community, serving and engaging more than 27,000 public and private schools and districts in 71 countries and serving nearly 16 million students. A non-profit organization, AdvancED is the parent organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has been accrediting schools in Kentucky and throughout the southeast for more than 100 years.

Accreditation is a process of helping institutions improve through a systematic program of evaluation, assuring that an institution not only meets quality standards, but also that it demonstrates a continuous commitment to providing high-quality education programs that are aimed at improving student performance.

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