Pursuing High-Quality Education: 2023-2026 Strategic Plan

“The quality of a school goes beyond its name, location, or reputation. An education institution succeeds when it supports every learner every day, offering opportunities for every learner to reach further.” This phrase comes from Cognia, an organization that provides schools with holistic support, including accreditation and certification, assessment, professional learning, and customized improvement.

Previously named AdvancED, Cognia is the organization selected by the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh for schools to work with to ensure high quality education. The Franciscan School worked with AdvancED years prior to secure our accreditation, but this is the first time we are working with the newly rebranded Cognia. TFS’s accreditation is an important part of our identity and authenticity. “It’s a very reflective process,” shares Principal Dawn Smith. “It makes you hone in on what you are doing as a school, and how you can improve. Every school should always be improving.” Smith’s unique perspective comes from her experience serving on accreditation teams that evaluate other schools. 

Cognia believes that the hallmark of a good school is that it continually strives for improvement. At TFS, we believe in this same idea. In a world that is changing quickly, we want to ensure that we stay rooted in our values, yet are also adapting to meet the needs of our students in the best way possible. Cognia presents a list of 30 performance standards - redeveloped in July 2022 - to define the practices of a good education institution and provide the criteria for improvement efforts that they believe will energetically and visibly grow learners, teachers, and leaders. The standards are placed in the following categories: Culture of Learning, Leadership of Learning, Engagement of Learning, and Growth in Learning.

Historically, TFS has been on a five-year cycle with the organization, with the sixth year being the year for recertification. Beginning in the Fall of 2022 and led by Principal Smith, the committee of faculty and staff at TFS began the process of creating our report of findings. This included hours of work with parent and student surveys, test score reviews, policies and procedures analysis, and a mound of data evidence. The team - which consisted of Principal Smith, Assistant Principal Colette Dziadul, Julie Hetu, Patsy Thieken, and Kristen Dellasega - was responsible for rating the school on each of the 30 standards, with data to support each rating. 

Following the presentation of our report, the Cognia team provides our team with a summary of findings. Our team then creates an improvement plan to address the noteworthy practices and areas of improvement within a 3-year cycle. This is a very intentional look at Cognia’s 30 performance standards and how TFS can maintain our level of high-quality education for the future. 

We are pleased to share that The Franciscan School has received our accreditation from Cognia! 

From the process, our leadership also created a 3-year plan that will run from 2023-2026. The plan will focus on four main goals:

Goal 1: TFS will continue to expand technology updates to stay current by setting goals, seeking funding, and monitoring improvement. We will update our long-term technology plan, which looks at system upgrades, training faculty, and policies regarding technology.

Goal 2: TFS will continue to monitor and promote the social, emotional needs of all students, demonstrating that the students’ wellbeing is at the heart of our school’s mission, vision, and beliefs. 

Goal 3: TFS will develop processes to implement instructional programs, including professional development, for    improved user outcomes.

Goal 4: TFS will work towards continuous improvement with programs, policies, and procedures to increase student achievement and teacher professional development.

You will hear many of these goals woven into our communications and plans over the next three years. We are honored to be accredited by Cognia, who holds such high standards for quality educational institutions. And we are excited to share in Cognia’s three main concepts of being learner-centered, demonstrating learner equity, and seeking learner well-being. Thank you to our dedicated accreditation team, our leadership team, and to each of you for your constant support.


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