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ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO CATHOLIC SCHOOLS PURSUE SYSTEM-WIDE ACCREDITATION

CHICAGO, IL (August 22, 2013) - Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, 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 process represents a significant step forward for Catholic elementary schools in Cook and Lake counties.  Prior accreditation for a majority of Archdiocesan elementary schools has been through an internal process.  All Catholic elementary schools are currently recognized by the State of Illinois and will continue to participate in that separate process.

The Archdiocese of Chicago Board of Catholic Schools Strategic Plan for Catholic Schools for 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 plan’s mandate. 

“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,” commented Sr. Mary Paul McCaughey, OP, Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools Superintendent.  “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.”

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 schools to assess, strengthen, and sustain their operations.

More information about the AdvancED accreditation process, including the key review steps and timeline, is available by visiting the Accreditation page on the Catholic School Resource Portal.

For more information about Catholic school admissions, please visit http://schools.archchicago.org. Many schools are still enrolling students for this school year.

The Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools serve over 85,000 students in 250 schools across the City of Chicago, and Cook and Lake counties. In each of the past three years elementary school enrollment has increased in the City of Chicago, and over half of all schools are stabilizing and growing their student enrollment. It is the United States' largest private school system and the recipient of the most U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Awards of any other system. Parents or guardians seeking faith, focus and achievement for their children are encouraged to visit http://schools.archchicago.org.

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