EDGE still doesn't have accreditation

After a delayed start in the process, Putnam EDGE High School officials said they hope to obtain accreditation by the fall. 

Nearly every EDGE board of directors meeting so far in 2016 has included a discussion about how the board would pay bills while facing financial despair. 

A $5,000 bill expected to accompany the accreditation process will be added to the list. 

“We had a delayed start in the accreditation process,” EDGE Director Lisa Parsons said. “I think the board waited until this year to fund it partially because we wouldn’t have seniors until this (upcoming) year, and partially because it costs $5,000.”

A recent on-site visit from AdvancED representatives, formerly known as the Southern Accreditation of Colleges and Schools, resulted in positive feedback, but no accreditation before the start of the 2016-2017 school year. 

According to Parsons, the school must settle details about the school’s “location, board matters and financial stability in order (to) complete the process next fall.”

“We did truly enjoy seeing the spirit and passion you exude, your dedication to the students and the way that as a school you have created a values-based campus with students truly involved,” a May 4 email from accreditation representative Linda Waters said. “I know that once your future is more secure, Putnam Edge will just blossom.”

In an email to EDGE staff following the visit, Parsons acknowledged the school attempted to “rush the process.”

Parsons said the accreditation process normally takes about 18 months, and EDGE started the process in February. She said EDGE will remain in the “candidacy phase and continue to the process of meeting the standards for accreditation.”

According to Tonya Whitehurst, Putnam County School District director of secondary education, students who graduate from non-accredited high schools receive diplomas, but the diplomas are not recognized by the state. 

Students with diplomas from non-accredited schools may be required to take placement tests prior to post-secondary education. 

“A lot of students have to take placement tests anyway,” she said. 

Private colleges, Whitehurst said, could be more critical of diplomas from non-accredited high schools.  

Parsons said she doesn’t anticipate the accreditation process would limit any of EDGE’s incoming seniors.