South Summit gets A+ on accreditation |

South Summit gets A+ on accreditation

Megan Yeiter , The Park Record

South Summit High School was approved as an accredited school by the Utah State Office of Education. The state-wide accreditation process holds high schools to education standards and promotes improvement, according to South Summit High School Principal Gary Twitchell, who said every school has to go through the accreditation process.

"We just went through the process and we got the highest rating you can get," Twitchell said. "It’s a fairly long process and the state has a list of criteria that you have to meet."

The school was required to develop a plan to improve student learning and set desired results, according to Twitchell, who said the school was also required to analyze data.

"You look at your test scores and which demographics are learning and where you can make academic progress," he said. "The state sends an evaluation tech out to your school and that team goes through the data you’ve collected and the evaluations you’ve collected and they determine whether or not your students met those accreditation requisitions."

Twitchell said because the school received the highest rating, they won’t have to be re-evaluated until 2017. If a school receives a lower rating, then the state is sometimes required to review that school annually.

"There are four ratings you can get. A rating of one means the school is far below standard and if you get that rating your school has to be revisited every year," he said. "A rating of two means there were certain omissions in regard to the documentation. You are given thee years to fix those things."

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Twitchell said if the school doesn’t take initiative it will not be recognized as an accredited high school. He said in that case, credits don’t necessarily count and colleges don’t have to accept those students attending that high school.

South Summit High School Vice Principal Troy Coil said the process involves a lot of hoop jumping. The school targeted where they needed to make improvements, according to Coil, who said they identified several areas to focus on for the Desired Results for Student Learning (DRSL).

"We decided to focus within our school to identify character development, which means that it deals with respect for others and respect for teachers," he said. "For example, not coming to school tardy. We’ve done things to try to reduce that so students are showing respect to their teachers and peers and not disrupting class."

The high school finished first in language arts test scores, tying with several other high schools, Twitchell said.

"We feel pretty privileged to get such a good rating by the state," he said. "There were about six schools that tied for the highest language arts scores," he said. "Anytime we can tie Park City we feel pretty good."