DHS prepares for SACS visit

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 28, 2005

The big day is getting closer for Demopolis City Schools. Soon, schools will present their research on what is going well and what needs work to SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) in hopes of receiving the prestigious status of an accredited school. The Demopolis school system has gained a reputation as one of the finest in the state and as such, usually greets the committee with an impressive, well-built report.

Putting together this report is no easy task as it is hard work to dig up five years worth of information. The group first to embark on this arduous journey for Demopolis High School is the Profile Committee.

Debbie Nichols, a member of the committee, said their group looks at every aspect of the school and its role in the community.

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“We look at our overall situation like the demographics of our community,” Nichols said. “We look at our school in every aspect like the number of faculty members and the number of students and the number of students to teachers in each class.”

Nichols said the committee looks at information such as the ACT scores for the past five years, graduation exam scores, the drop out rate and the number of free and reduced lunches.

Advanced Placement scores and the number of students who move on to attend two and four year schools are also a major part of reports.

Nichols said they use all this information to compile a report on the status of the students to present to SACS.

“We gather a lot of different data about our students and about our school as a whole,” Nichols said. “We write that up in addition to the community data and just kind of try to project a picture of our school to start out with what has been going on with us for the past five years,” Nichols said. “It gives them a basis for the other committees to take that and look at what we did in our studies and what we would do to improve on some of the things we would like to improve on.”

Nancy Tyson, a Science teacher Demopolis High School who also helps with preparations for SACS, said the research gives the school a chance to look at where they are and where they want to be.

“The big picture is we have to go through the data and see where we stand,” Tyson said. “We talk about what we think about the schools, what we are here for and where we want to be. The idea is to put that together and form goals. We say this is what we believe, this is what we want, now what are we going to do about it? We put together an action plan.”

Nichols said in addition to their work in the school, the committee also branches out to the parents and citizens of Demopolis through surveys.

“We give out surveys to our faculty, to our students, and we reach out to community business leaders and then to some of the parents to get feedback from some of them,” Nichols said. “We send the same questions out to all those people and then we get that back to them and put it all in out report.”

Tyson said keeping the community involved is a strong point for Demopolis High.

“I think that is something we do a good job of keeping that line open and they are all very responsive,” Tyson said. “As far as the process in concerned they can do a lot of good with their input. They can tell us what they feel like is going well with the schools and criticism can be useful too.”

The last presentation to SACS was made in 2000.