LUMBERTON – The Public Schools of Robeson County was recently named a Cognia candidate for accreditation, which is a step forward in the districtwide accreditation process that aims to improve the district and better serve students. 

The district recently received the news after a Cognia Candidacy Review took place in July at PSRC Central Office.

“We have worked incredibly hard over the last two years in preparation for this review. Over the next few months, Public Schools of Robeson County will be streamlining procedures, highlighting awareness for our new vision and increasing equitable opportunities for our most precious resource, students,” said Robert Locklear, assistant superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability at PSRC.

Historically, each school sought accreditation individually. However, the district’s move toward accreditation is in line with the goal of instructional alignment across schools and will place the district at a national level.

The Candidacy Review took place during a six-hour schedule as the district was evaluated on various topics ranging from learning cultures to system assurances like an improvement plan, security and crisis management plan and other items.

“We provide trusted expertise and actionable ideas that move the needle on school quality. Accreditation is the launchpad for school improvement,” according to Cognia’s website.

 “Based on rigorous research-based standards and evidence-based criteria, the process probes the whole institution—from policies to learning conditions and cultural context—to determine how well the parts work together to meet the needs of every learner,” Cognia’s website states. 

The Public Schools of Robeson County will participate in the fall North Carolina Cognia Symposium during its conference in Charlotte from Sept. 12-13, in preparation for the upcoming systemwide accreditation in the spring of 2023.

 “Accreditation isn’t about passing a one-time inspection—it helps education providers meet improvement goals and sustain commitments to better learner outcomes,” Cognia’s website states.

 Evidence and information related to the district’s ability to meet Cognia accreditation standards were gathered by Cognia representatives during the review, as stated in a report released by Cognia. The district provided the Candidacy Review Workbook prior to the review, which was comprised of items like an Executive Summary, standard ratings, and Assurances.

There were 23 members of the district’s leadership team who took part in the review including the superintendent, assistant superintendents, and others, as stated in Cognia’s report.

 “Three classroom teachers representing elementary, middle, and high school levels were interviewed face-to-face. Two parents interviewed in person provided additional perceptions, while another agreed to speak remotely,” the report by Cognia states.

 “School leadership and staff shared the process used to complete preparation for the review. Steps included becoming familiar with the system accreditation process and scheduled collaborative meetings of focus teams for rating standards and completion of the Cognia Candidacy Workbook,” as stated in the report.

 Locklear looks forward to continuing the process toward accreditation of the district.

 “To have our processes validated by Cognia, and for them to specifically recognize the pride that our stakeholders have in our district, shows that our hard work is paying off. We look forward to the next steps in the process,” Locklear added.