Standards for Elementary School Programs

Any school containing grades one (1) through five (5) must apply as an elementary school. The following standards for elementary school programs are to be used by principals of schools who are making application for ProvisionalAccredited, or Accredited WithQuality status for programs in their schools. The number of standards required to be answered affirmatively in order for the school to meet the 85% required by the Commission forAccredited status is given at the beginning of each section of standards.
Documents verifying compliance with the following standards must be provided to the consultant.

  1. Organization

(For Accredited status, 7 affirmative answers are required, including standards 1 through 6)

  1. A school day consists of at least six hours, exclusive of lunch and recess periods. (A minimum of a school day of four‑and‑one‑half hours is acceptable for grades one through three.  Schools may operate on shortened schedules up to one day for each grading period for teacher‑parent conferences.)
  2. In grades one through three, classes have a maximum of 25 students, or 33 students if the teacher has a full‑time aide. The system‑wide average class size in grades one through three is 21.5 or less, or 28.6 or less if teachers have full‑time aides. In grades four and five, classes have a maximum of 33 students. The school‑wide average class size in grades four and five is 28.6 or less. Remedial classes have a maximum of 18 students or 24 students if the teacher has a full‑time aide. (This standard is interpreted as meaning that an aide is required whenever the maximum class size for classes without an aide is exceeded. This means that in grades one through three an aide is required whenever there are 26 or more students in a class and that an aide is also required whenever there are 19 or more students in a remedial class). Mixed‑model classes have a maximum of 28 students, including no more than eight remedial students per class.
  3. Principals of schools with 7 through 13 teachers have at least one‑half time free from teaching responsibilities for administration and supervision. Principals of schools with 14 or more teachers have full time for administration and supervision.
  4. A combination school (that is, an elementary, middle/junior high school and high school under one administration) of 30 or more teachers must have an assistant principal. Either the principal or the assistant principal must have major responsibility in the elementary area.
  5. All inter‑school contests and school‑sponsored activities are under the direct and complete control of the school administration. Responsibilities related to school‑sponsored activities are not delegated to any person or persons other than school or school system employees.
  6. The Media Center has a minimum of 10 books per student or a minimum of 7 books per student and an annual expenditure of $2.00 or more per student for computer disks, video cassettes, video disks, film strips and other non-print media.
  7. The school provides each student a minimum of 30 minutes for lunch.
  8. The organization of the Media Center collection and the school schedule facilitate maximum use of the collection by pupils during all school hours.
  9. Each teacher has at least one 30-minute period per day or a total of 150 minutes per week during the class day for planning.
  10. Student activities include access to health and psychological counseling services.
  11. When offered by the school, the weekly meals provide one-third of the recommended weekly dietary allowance of nutrients and include meat or a meat alternate, bread, milk, and fruits and/or vegetables.
  1. Personnel
    (For Accredited status, 8 affirmative answers are required including standards 1 through 7)
  1. A school with an enrollment of 750 or more students has a full‑time assistant principal or an additional qualified person designated as an assistant to the principal on a full‑time basis.
  2. The staff of an elementary school consists of not less than one full‑time teacher per grade. There is a minimum staff of six teachers. One of the staff members must be a qualified principal.
  3. All teachers employed on a full‑time or part‑time basis as instructors in the school hold, as a minimum, a Georgia professional certificate or a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 18 semester hours of professional education. An exception may be granted for those teachers issued permits by the Georgia Department of Education. This standard may also be met by teachers with bachelor’s degrees completing 6 semester hours per year of appropriate professional education until 18 semester hours of credit are obtained.
  4. The principal holds a Georgia state administrator’s professional certificate. In nonpublic schools, the principal or headmaster may hold a master’s degree with a minimum of 15 semester hours in school administration and supervision.
  5. The superintendent or headmaster must hold a Georgia five‑year administrator’s certificate in order for any school in the system to be accredited. In non‑public schools the superintendent or headmaster may hold, as a minimum, a master’s degree with a minimum of 15 semester hours in school administration and supervision.
  6. Schools with seven through nine teachers have 1/4‑time secretarial service, 10 through 13 teachers have l/2‑time secretarial service, 14 through 16 teachers have ¾-time secretarial service, and with 17 or more teachers have full‑time secretarial service. An elementary school that is a part of a combination school has secretarial service allocated on the basis of the total number of teachers of the combination school.
  7. Schools with between 201 and 250 students have one person assigned at least one‑half time to media services.
  8. The qualifications and assignments of Media Specialists conform to the following provisions:
Enrollment Qualifications
A minimum of:
Time in Media Center A minimum of:
Up to 250 12 semester hours in Media One-half day
251 to 375 12 semester hours in Media Full-time
376 to 750 15 semester hours in Media Full-time with half-time clerk
751 to 1,000 master’s degree with S-5 or 15 semester hours in media Full time with full-time clerk
1,001 and above master’s degree with S-5 or 15 semester hours in media Full-time with full-time clerk and 1 associate media specialist

An elementary school that is a part of a combination school has media service allocated on the basis of the total enrollment of the combination school.

  1. Persons employed as paraprofessionals, auxiliary helpers, or teachers’ aides are under the direct supervision of a professionally qualified person.
  2. Assistant principals have preparation leading toward a Georgia state administrator’s professional certificate or a master’s degree with a minimum of 15 semester hours in administration and supervision. Assistant principals who do not meet these requirements may earn 6 semester hours in administration and supervision each year until the requirements are met.
  3. All teachers who do not hold current Georgia teaching certificates and who have been employed by the school or school system for five years or more, have received at least 6 semester hours or 10 quarter hours of college credit, or 10 Continuing Education Units, or 100 contact hours in locally approved professional development activities within the past five years.
  1. Program of Studies
    (For Accredited status, 3 affirmative answers are required.)
  1. The elementary school curriculum includes objectives that facilitate the development of proficiency in:
    1. listening,
    2. expressing ideas effectively and creatively,
    3. reading well,
    4. writing legibly,
    5. spelling accurately,
    6. speaking clearly,
    7. thinking critically,
    8. figuring accurately,
    9. observing carefully,
    10. solving problems,
    11. participating in groups,
    12. keeping healthy,
    13. enjoying aesthetic experiences, and
    14. living in a pluralistic society.
  1. The objectives of the curriculum facilitate the development of behavior based upon
    1. values of honesty and integrity
    2. loyalty to democratic ideals and processes,
    3. responsibility for one’s own actions,
    4. appreciation and desire for the best in our culture, willingness to accept and detect  desirable changes, and respect and concern for others,
    5. wise use of time, money, and natural resources, and understanding and accepting self.
  1. The curriculum is broad in scope and provides for balanced experiences designed for development of basic skills, recreation, health, social living, and aesthetic activities.