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Posted: Tuesday, November 13th 2012 at 3:38pm

NCCSU School of Education earns national accreditation

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DAHLONEGA - The School of Education at North Georgia College & State University (NGCSU) has earned full accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) for its undergraduate- and graduate-level teacher training programs.

The national accreditation is required by the University System of Georgia and is part of a seven-year review process that included a site visit in February. In their final report, reviewers called North Georgia's professional development communities (PDC) approach to teacher training a "notable program." Reviewers commended faculty for their collaboration with pre-K through 12th-grade partners throughout the region, giving the highest rating possible in the area of best practices in service and noting "The mission of the university is to provide outstanding instruction first and foremost."

"The fact that North Georgia's School of Education has once again been recognized in this manner is further indication of the level of excellence of our teacher preparation programs. NCATE is a highly respected and thorough accrediting body, which makes this designation even more meaningful," said university President Bonita Jacobs.

North Georgia's PDC model puts university students and their professors in public schools in Lumpkin, Dawson, Forsyth and Hall counties in a two-year, full-immersion model that translates into at least 50 percent more field experience than is required for teacher certification. Student teachers even take their college courses at the public school, providing a more integrated experience that includes pre-planning activities and parent-teacher conferences.

"This accomplishment is a tribute to the quality of our students, the tireless work of our faculty and our partners in the field, the classroom teachers, principals and superintendents throughout the region who help mentor our students," Dr. Bob Michael, dean of the School of Education, said. "Our graduates are in high demand because superintendents and principals know that teachers who earn a degree from North Georgia are well-equipped to help students succeed."

The PDC model, which started with the middle-grades program several years ago and is being implemented in North Georgia's other education programs, was lauded throughout the reviewers' report.

"The professional development community (PDC) model is a notable program that provides a natural opportunity for collaboration and an authentic community in which candidates can practice," the report reads. "…Candidates, faculty and school partners confirm that this model creates a genuinely collaborative partnership."

North Georgia is one of 26 public and private schools in the state to carry NCATE accreditation for one or more of its teacher preparation programs. Though the next accreditation visit for North Georgia wouldn't be scheduled until 2019, Michael said the School of Education will have to go through the process again under the auspices of the University of North Georgia, a new institution expected to be created in January, pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, by the consolidation of North Georgia and Gainesville State College.

"If the past is any indication, we should do quite well in that re-evaluation because Gainesville State just completed its NCATE renewal last year and both institutions came out very strong at the end of the renewal process," Michael said.

At this point, there is no time frame for when that process would begin.
Associated Categories: Business News, Local/State News

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