Smithfield, NC Area Schools Accredited by AdvancED

By Kevin Litwin on February 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm EST

PHOTO CREDIT: Todd Bennett

The Johnston County Schools system has been making a lot of news lately. A lot of good news.

The district recently added two new high schools – Cleveland High and Corinth Holders High – bringing the total of schools in the system to 46. There are 32,000 students in grades K-12 throughout JCS, and the district's 4,000 employees make it the county's largest employer.

Meanwhile, two other high schools in the district – Johnston County Early College Academy and Johnston County Middle College High – both allow students to earn college credits while they are enrolled in high school.

“Both schools let high schoolers attend several classes at Johnston Community College, and ultimately eliminate some future tuition costs for their parents,” says Terri Sessoms, Johnston County Schools public information officer. “Most students in Early College Academy will have a college associate's degree by the time they graduate from high school.”

AdvancED Thinking

Sessoms is also proud to point out that the district is now accredited by AdvancED, a global leader in advancing education excellence through accreditation and school improvement.

“There are seven criteria a district needs to meet in order to become accredited by AdvancED, and Johnston County scored highly on all seven,” she says. “In fact, JCS achieved the highest possible score. Our system was ranked 'highly functional,' which is the best ranking a district can get.”

One of the criteria involves having a good relationship and communicating well with parents and community members, making sure they are involved in the district's decision making.

“When our high school graduates apply for various colleges, being accredited by AdvancED gives them an edge in the application process,” Sessoms says.

Going Global

More than 40 languages are spoken by students in Johnston County, so it is one of the first school systems across the state to become an inaugural member of the Global Schools Network. As a result, Johnston County Schools are hosting 30 visiting international faculty members from around the world, and many local schools are partnering with schools in Australia, China, Denmark and South America.

“When people talk about a global environment, it is happening here in our school system,” Sessoms says.

International Intrigue

Other news in the district include an application being accepted for Smithfield-Selma High School to offer International Baccalaureate courses beginning in the 2012-13 school year, plus Sessoms says a few middle schools are now mixing English-speaking and Spanish-speaking students together in classrooms to learn all subjects side by side.

“Overall, the student population of Johnston County Schools has doubled in the past 15 years, due to the excellent education that is provided,” she says. “We have 292 nationally board-certified teachers, which places JCS within the top 50 school districts in the nation. Everything we do is aimed at empowering all of our students to become successful in a global society.”

Read more on education around Smithfield, NC.

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