Accreditation Engagement Review

Autauga County Schools earned a favorable Accreditation Engagement Review in August 2023 following a multi-week review process by Cognia, Inc. - formerly known as AdvancedEd. This favorable report allows all Autauga County schools to remain in academic good standing through 2028.


Accreditation is a continuous improvement process vital to maintaining a premier educational experience through the foundational concepts of teaching and learning. Accredited schools allow for the ease of transferring credits between schools in the same or different states and have developed a reputation for high-quality education recognized by post-secondary institutions and employers. Using Cognia’s Performance Standards, Autauga County Schools is able to examine effectiveness as well as capacity and capability to achieve the vision and goals set for the future as outlined in the district’s new strategic plan


Using Cognia’s rigorous research-based standards, the engagement review process examines the whole institution - the program, the cultural context, and the community of stakeholders - to determine how well the parts work together to meet the needs of students. A highly skilled and trained team of reviewers gather evidence and information that pertains to the standards to assess the quality of the learning environment to gain valuable insights and target improvements in teaching and learning as well as the operation of the institution. Related information is systematically reviewed to analyze performance to sustain high-performing areas and initiative improvement in underperforming areas. Insights are organized into four key characteristics critical to the success of any educational system.

Review Insights

Guided by evidence, the review team provided these insights specific to Autauga County Schools about the effectiveness of the processes, programs, and practices within the district. 


Culture of Learning

Leaders actively engage stakeholders to support the guiding principles such as mission, purposes, and beliefs that promote learners’ well-being; however, the staff members only occasionally demonstrate commitment to learners’ academic and non-academic needs and interests.


Leadership for Learning

Leaders occasionally guide professional staff members and cultivate effective individual and collective leadership in the continuous improvement process. In the overview presentation, the system indicated the quality of leadership for learning is critical to the success of the system.


Engagement of Learning

Learners experience curriculum and instruction that is sometimes monitored and adjusted to sometimes emphasize the diverse culture that deepen’s each learner’s understanding of the content.


Growth in Learning

The professional learning program is implemented system-wide; however, it is not evaluated nor informed by the learning environment. 


Summary of Findings

The review process focused on establishing evidence of effective practice and performance in relation to the accreditation standards. The following were noted as areas for improvement and will be reviewed through Cognia’s ongoing progress review. 

  • Develop, implement, and document practices, processes, and decisions that are consistent with and based on the system’s stated values. 

  • Develop and implement professional learning focused on improving pedagogical (academic) skills and knowledge to better address learners’ needs and interests.

  • Develop and implement a formal, systematic process for analyzing trends and current data to deepen each learner’s understanding of content at increasing levels of complexity.

  • Develop a process for developing, monitoring, communicating, and adjusting the continuous improvement plan.


Assurances are requirements that accredited institutions must meet to qualify for accreditation. Autauga County Schools was found to be in compliance with all assurances as a part of this review process.

  • The institution complies with all applicable governmental laws or regulations.

  • The institution adheres to ethical marketing and communication practices to transparently disclose current and accurate information to the public.

  • The governing authority adheres to written policies that govern its conduct, decision making, ethics, and authority; and engages in training aligned to its roles and responsibilities. 

  • The institution annually submits all financial transactions for an annual audit conducted by an accounting authority external to the institution. 

  • The institution annually reviews and implements written management plans for security, crisis, safety and health for onsite and virtual environments that includes expectations, communications protocols, and training for student, staff, and stakeholders. 

  • The institution participates in required training related to accreditation or certification by timeframes prescribed by Cognia. 

  • The system executes a written quality assurance process to monitor and verify that all institutions within its jurisdiction:

    • Meet applicable governmental requirements of the schools’ location;

    • Meet the Cognia Accreditation and Certification Policies and Procedures;

    • Meet the Cognia Accreditation and/or Certification Standards and Assurances, and

    • Implement its required education programs with fidelity

Cognia, Inc. is a widely respected organization of 40,000 institutions in more than 90 countries. This global network of enthusiastic educators is designed to strengthen schools with a holistic approach to continuous improvement which encompasses accreditation and certification, assessment, professional learning, and customized improvement services. 


For more information, contact Holly McNider, Director of Curriculum and Instruction.