Author Topic: "ACCREDITED AS A SPECIAL PURPOSE SCHOOL'- Another Item to Ad  (Read 836 times)

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Offline Deborah

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« on: February 18, 2005, 01:59:00 PM »
Another Red Flag for parents to be aware of when considering a residential facility- Is the program only ?Accredited as a Special Purpose School? and not licensed by the state as an RTC or TBS. Ideally they should possess both Accreditation and a proper License. Accredited for the academic aspect and a License for the therapeutic/behavior mod aspect.

If the program is only accredited, that leaves the ?therapeutic? aspect of the program unregulated and unmonitored, wide-open to the owner?s discretion. If they were licensed with the state and the state had effective regulations, much of the abuse and neglect would end or the program would face sanctions if investigated and found to be in violation.

Accreditation associations are solely concerned with the academic aspect of the program, and have only recently begun to accredit RTCs and TBSs. And as we have seen with some programs, the assoc?s standards can be very low, and/or the program is not providing what the assoc recommends. If your child received an inadequate education and/or returned home behind his peers academically, the association that accredited the program needs to receive a complaint.

After reading a couple of websites, I have to wonder if these associations understand the nature of residential BM programs and if indeed Special Purpose Schools is the proper classification. If they don?t, they need to be informed and educated. They could actually help close the loop of licensing fraud by requiring applicants of residential programs to possess the proper license from the state, as the association guidelines provide no protection for the consumer in terms of the therapeutic aspect.

Consider this from Georgia Accrediting Commission:
Accreditation by the GAC has always been a way of recognizing schools with good EDUCATIONAL programs. Its standards continue to serve as guides for those who want to develop good programs.

And GACs requirements of Special Purpose Schools:
Educational Agencies with Special Purposes are defined as those agencies serving groups of students whose learning needs are so sufficiently different from those of a heterogeneous population that specialized instructional methods and/or facilities are needed. The learning needs of the individual students served by these agencies must be sufficiently similar that they can best be met by grouping these students together in a specialized setting.

The process of accrediting Educational Agencies with Special Purposes begins with an examination of the AGENCY'S WRITTEN STATEMENT OF ITS EDUCATIONAL GOALS. This focus allows the agency's program to be uniquely specialized to meet the LEARNING NEEDS OF THE STUDENTS served and to be responsive to the interests and general welfare of the groups and students they serve.

Because Educational Agencies with Special Purposes vary widely in the kinds of students they serve, the kinds of programs provided also vary. For this reason, the Commission has developed specific principles that these agencies must meet. However, because of the specialized nature of the programs, it is essential that there is sufficient stability in leadership positions to ensure program continuity. Therefore, all Educational Agencies with Special Purposes are required to meet the following conditions in order to be Provisionally accredited or Accredited with the Georgia Accrediting Commission:

1. The educational agency must employ three or more full-time equivalent professional educators. The teaching staff must have academic preparation in language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. Other part-time or full-time teachers should be employed as the need arises.

2. The agency must be visited by a committee, appointed by the Executive Director of the GAC, composed of at least one member of the Board of Directors or the Executive Director and one other person who may be a member of the Board of Directors or an approved consultant prior to approval for Provisionally Accredited or Accredited status. (Expenses for this visit will be paid by the agency seeking accreditation.)

3. Whenever the person designated as the educational director of the agency leaves the position, the Executive Director of the GAC must be notified so that a visiting committee may be appointed to visit the agency within 18 months of the change to verify the CONTINUITY OF THE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM before continuation in Provisionally accredited or Accredited status is approved for a second year following the change in the person designated educational director of the program.

THAT?S IT ! Where are the guidelines on how they may or may not use behavior modification? On staff education and qualification? Where are the guidelines on what punishments are forbidden? Or on contact with parents, mail, food, physical space, etc, etc, etc?
They don?t have any.
One must keep in mind too that these associations only provide members with 'guidelines' NOT 'regulations' supported by law, which come with sanctions.

Take a look at the ?esteemed? SACS- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools ... nonpub.pdf
Requirements of a Special Purpose School:
Coprorate Status and structure
Financial Adequacy
Educational program
Accurate and Ethical Advertising and Marketing= The school?s advertising is accurate in describing its purposes, methods, and results.
Qualified Educational Staff
Admission and Placement Procedure= The admissions procedures include testing or assessment for developmental and performance levels in the educational program in which the student is enrolled.
Admissions counseling leads to the identification of developmental goals.
Management and Supervision
Student Attendance and Conduct
Counseling, Records and Follow Up= Developmental and/or academic and any personal counseling relevant to ACADEMIC progress are provided as instruction proceeds.
Communications and Relationships= There is evidence of communications with other appropriate agencies, professionals and, schools such as public health, mental health, physicians, and other professionals.
Physical Facilities and Equipment= The school?s physical facilities are inspected and approved for the maximum number of students enrolled by local fire and health authorities. Provision is made to assure limits are never exceeded.
School Improvements and Development

I might add, and this is significant, the program I was looking at is not even classified as a Special Purpose School, but only as a Secondary School; and therefore has even less requirements for accreditation. ... ic2004.pdf

This begs the question- Did SACS classify them as a Secondary School based on information provided by the program, or by their own assessment of the services provided at the facility?

Either way, a parent can't rely on membership in an Accrediting Association to ensure their child will be educated or properly cared for in a residential BM facility.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
Hidden Lake Academy, after operating 12 years unlicensed will now be monitored by the state. Access information on the Federal Class Action lawsuit against HLA here: