The Columbia County school system was recognized Wednesday as a quality school system.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, following a three-day review, announced at a Wednesday called meeting that the system qualified for re-accreditation.
The accreditation recognizes the system for meeting "high standards of education," said Associate Superintendent Lauren Williams.
A nine-member SACS council visits school systems every five years to re-evaluate their accreditation.
For the first time this year, the SACS council evaluated a select group of Georgia school systems as a whole, including Columbia County. In the past, the council judged each school individually.
Through an examination of school documents and interviews conducted with school officials and parents, the council formed a list of commendations.
Lucy W. Hayden, associated executive director of SACS, praised the system for its excellent reputation, strategic planning, use of technology, quality teaching, community pride and more in an oral report delivered at the special meeting.
Despite her praise, Hayden also warned school officials they should begin more thorough preparations for its rapid enrollment growth and facility needs.
"There are varying planning methods they could explore in that arena," Hayden said.
Columbia County School Superintendent Tommy Price welcomed the praise and called the criticism necessary.
"We've learned from this," Price said. "We'll continue to use this as a learning tool."
School board Chairman Wayne Bridges said the SACS council report offered no surprises.
"We certainly appreciate that report, but we knew it," he said. "I don't want to brag, but we know we have a good thing going."
The council will prepare a more detailed written report of the school system and deliver it to them in 30 days, Hayden said.
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