MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - For the first time in a while, there was an overall sense of optimism Wednesday as the Bibb County School Board got some big news.
A packed room erupted into a standing ovation after it was announced the district was being recommended for re-accreditation.
"Interestingly enough, each school does their own assessment," says Dr. Stephen Oborn, lead evaluator for AdvancED. "We started with that; we didn't start by coming in and making our own. We had their assessment and then we did ours. We were lock-step in many cases with a very honest assessment that they had put forth, and so that made it easier."
This week, an external review team from AdvancED interviewed teachers, parents, students and board members--more than 400 people in all, and they visited 48 classrooms in eight different schools.
While they did recommend re-accreditation, they'll also ask the AdvancED office to send a team to monitor the system over the coming months, specifically when it comes to governance.
"Yes, looking back, we can reflect and know that mistakes were made," says Dr. Steven Smith, the system's newly named interim superintendent. "We just need not to make the same mistakes again."
Board members are already taking steps to improve. Jason Downey told those in the room the system has seemingly turned a corner, and that we haven't seen anything yet.
"We're working together," says Downey. "(With) our unanimous vote to elect our officers, unanimous vote to bring Dr. Steve Smith in as our interim superintendent--things like that. Things where we get on the same page, we put personal agendas aside, we put aside all of the internal conflicts that we have and focus on the children."
Oborn says he'll submit his recommendation to the AdvancED office, and they'll make their decision on the district's accreditation status next month.
He did say, in most cases, his recommendation is approved.