SALINA, Kansas – The Diocese of Salina is thrilled to share that the diocesan schools have earned accreditation through Cognia, a non-profit educational accreditation organization. This makes the Salina Diocese the first diocese in in the state of Kansas to have the schools be accredited as a whole instead of individually.
In 2016, former superintendent and principal of St. Mary’s Grade School, Dr. Nick Compagnone began working with Cognia. “In the United States, including the Salina Diocese, most all of our Catholic schools sought accreditation through an outside accreditation agency. In the case of Salina Diocese, it was the NCA (North Central Accreditation). Many public schools also joined the NCA. Later on the NCA merged to a nationwide network called Cognia. The State of Kansas now accredits schools as K-12 districts. Cognia also offers a district model. In 2016 the Salina Diocese embarked on that new model.” said Compagnone. Although the process was put on hold for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the process concluded in May of 2022. The state of Kansas reviewed the Cognia’s findings and delivered the comprehensive report back to the diocese.
The diocese was thrilled to see that the report concluded the Catholic schools in the Salina Diocese are at a high level of sustainability. Cognia provides the Index of Education Quality (IEQ) as a holistic measure of overall performance, based on a comprehensive set of standards and review criteria. This formative tool for improvement identifies areas of success and areas in need of focus. The IEQ is comprised of the Standards.
Diagnostic ratings are given in the three Domains: Leadership Capacity, Learning Capacity, and Resource Capacity.
The IEQ results are reported on a scale of 100 to 400 and provide information about how the institution is performing compared to expected criteria. Institutions should analyze the IEQ in relation to the findings from the review in the areas of Initiate, Improve, and Impact. An IEQ score below 250 indicates that the institution has several areas within the Initiate level and should focus their improvement efforts on those Standards within that level. An IEQ in the range of 225–300 indicates that the institution has several Standards within the Improve level and is using results to inform continuous improvement and demonstrate sustainability. An IEQ of 275 and above indicates the institution is beginning to reach the Impact level and is engaged in practices that are sustained over time and are becoming ingrained in the culture of the institution. Cognia gave the diocese am IEQ score of 368, which is considerably higher than the Cognia Improvement Network (CIN) 5 year IEQ range of 278.34 – 283.33.
“The Diocese of Salina had a very intentional long-running start facilitated by excellent leadership in their efforts to transition into a more systemic diocese. These efforts resulted in 25 of 31 standards rated at Impacting and the other six at Improving. With the recent additions to the diocesan office staff who are now available to maintain the momentum, the diocese is well-positioned to tweak the system to enhance their students’ learning opportunities further. This will mean working with each school to highlight and share its strengths while each school works together to find strategies to improve. This could be as simple as sharing ideas and looking for patterns across the district more intentionally. The diocese is to be congratulated for its strategic work, and the team looks forward to watching it grow in the future”, said Cognia.
Bishop Vincke said, “I am ecstatic that our schools received such high marks on the recent accreditation review. I know a lot of hard work by many people went in to make this possible. It is reaffirming to know our students are receiving a great education at our Catholic schools.”
“The collaborative efforts of school leaders, teachers, students, parents, and community members is something we can all be proud of. This process has brought our schools closer together, and we are looking forward at continued improvements” said superintendent Geoff Andrews. The next five-year accreditation cycle will begin during the 2022-23 school year and will conclude in 2027.