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A three-day virtual Cognia accreditation visit ended with a highly complimentary exit report on Thursday, November 11, 2021 for Richland School District Two.
Richland Two was evaluated on Cognia’s high standards in three areas: Leadership Capacity; Learning Capacity; and Resource Capacity. Dr. John Sedey, lead evaluator for a team of six evaluators made up of educators from across the country, delivered the report. There were six general findings in the exit report of which at least one had to be an area for improvement.  Those findings are as follows:
  • The governing board and leadership of Richland School District Two adheres to a code of ethics, functions within defined roles, and establishes and operates under policies and practices that are designed to promote learner success and support system effectiveness. 
  • Professional learning structures in Richland School District Two are cohesive, coherent and deeply embedded in the culture. 
  • In Richland School District Two, strategic resources and business management are deeply embedded and protected in all operational processes and allocations to support efficiency, accountability and effectiveness. 
  • Richland School District Two values data literacy and the use of a variety of common assessments for quality assurance and continuous improvement. 
  • Richland School District Two lacks a systemic way by which learning experiences and impacts are assessed as part of continuous improvement. 
  • Richland School District Two is in the process of developing sophisticated individualized learning pathways in collaboration with community partners but lacks equitable opportunities for students across levels and locations. 
The Cognia accreditation team had virtual conversations or conducted interviews with 312 people including teachers, students, administrators, board members, professional and support staff, parents and community partners to assess the district’s strengths and make recommendations for improvements.
The Cognia team was particularly impressed with the level of support provided throughout the district to schools. “I don’t think I have seen a system that has as much support provided to schools than you folks have,” said Dr. Sedey. 
More details about each of the six findings will be in a written report provided to the district in approximately 30 days. The district will learn its overall Index of Education Quality (IEQ) score, ratings for each Standard and receive a narrative describing general findings themes. 
“Based on my experience with reviews, you rate at the top. I don’t have a finite number for you but I would say you would be in the top five percent or more,” Dr. Sedey added. 
Richland School District Two Superintendent Dr. Baron R. Davis says he is pleased with the overall results and looks forward to reading the full report that will guide the district’s efforts to be premier in all that we do. “Equity has been a focus in Richland Two for about four years and we have come a long way. Even with all that the district has accomplished, however, there are still areas for growth and improvement. This demonstrates how important our equity and inclusion efforts are to ensuring we prepare all students to lead and excel in their chosen pathways to success. I’m very appreciative of everyone in the Richland Two family who participated in this accreditation process and for the continued support of our school district,” said Dr. Davis.
Cognia is a non-profit, non-partisan organization staffed by the largest community of education professionals in the world. This organization conducts rigorous reviews of Pre-K-12 schools and school systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential.
Richland School District Two is the largest school district in the Midlands area of South Carolina and one of the fastest-growing in the state. Richland Two serves nearly 28,000 Pre-K through 12th grade students in 41 schools and centers: 20 elementary schools, seven middle schools, five high schools, four magnet centers, one child development center, one virtual school program, one adult education center, one student innovation center and one alternative school. A district of choice, where every school is an excellent choice, Richland Two offers 40 magnet programs of which 14 are schoolwide, 23 school-within-a-school, and four are stand-alone centers. The district is currently home to 25 nationally certified magnets at 16 schools, 12 of which are Demonstration Magnet Schools. These schools have met rigorous Magnet School Standards of Excellence set by the National Institute for Magnet School Leadership. They serve as innovation laboratories for others to learn best practices in theme-based education. Richland Two’s mission, in partnership with our community, is to develop global citizens of tomorrow - citizens who are prepared to lead and excel in their chosen pathways.