Standards for Junior High/Middle School Programs

A junior high/middle school may be any combination of grades four (4) through nine (9). The following standards for junior high/middle school programs are to be used by principals of schools who are making application for ProvisionalAccredited, orAccredited With Quality status for programs in their schools. The number of standards required to be answered affirmatively in order to meet the 85% required by the Commission for Accreditedstatus 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, 6 affirmative answers are required, including standards 1 through 5)
  1. A school day consists of at least six hours exclusive of lunch and break periods. (Normal class changing time will count as being part of the six hour school day. Schools may operate on shortened schedules up to one day for each grading period for teacher parent conferences.)
  2. The maximum individual class size is 33 students or less, and the school‑wide average class size is 28.6 or less with the following exceptions:
    1. Remedial classes without aides do not exceed 18 students.
    2. Remedial classes with aides do not exceed 24 students.
    3. Instrumental music classes do not exceed 100 students.
    4. Choral music classes do not exceed 80 students.
    5. Physical education classes without aides do not exceed 40 students.
    6. Physical education classes with aides do not exceed 53 students.
  1. The principal of any junior high/middle school must have at least one‑half of his or her time free from classroom responsibilities to supervise instruction. Principals of schools with 14 or more teachers have full time for administration and supervision.
  2. All inter‑school contests and all other 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 employees of the school system.
  3. 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, filmstrips and other non-print media.
  4. Each teacher has at least one 30-minute period during the class day for planning and preparation for instruction.
  5. Student records are protected against fire, theft, and damage by being located in a fire‑resistant cabinet or a second, duplicate set of records is located in another area.
  6. At least 60% of students entering the school enter from accredited feeder schools.
  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 use of the collection by the students during all school hours.
  9. Student activities include access to health and psychological counseling services.
  10. 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. Summer School
    (For Accredited status, 5 affirmative answers are required.)
  1. The summer school program, if offered, is operated in accordance with a normal instructional program. The school system also handles all funds involved in the summer program. In addition, all conditions of Provisional accreditation are met.
  2. There are at least 120 clock hours of instruction for each 15 quarter hours of credit or each Carnegie Unit awarded.
  3. A school does not grant students more than 25 quarter hours of credit or 1 and 1/2 Carnegie Units in a summer school of 30 days or less. Nor does it grant more than 30 quarter hours of credit or two Carnegie Units during any summer school period.
  4. No teacher teaches more than two subjects in the same period.
  5. Credit is not granted to any student in more than three subject areas during any summer school period.
  1. Personnel
    (For Accredited status, 9 affirmative answers are required, including standards 1 through.8.)
  1. In addition to the principal, the teaching staff includes five or more full‑time, qualified teachers in the middle school.
  2. A school with an enrollment of 750 or more must have a full‑time assistant principal. A combination school of 30 or more classroom teachers must have an assistant principal. Either the principal or the assistant principal must have responsibility in the middle grades area.
  3. All teachers employed on a full‑time or part‑time basis as instructors in the school hold a Georgia State 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. All teachers employed in the school hold
    1. a Georgia certificate in field when assigned to teach in grades 6, 7, 8, or 9 or 
    2. a bachelor’s degree and 27 semester credit hours in elementary or middle grades education and have at least 6 semester hours credit in any field in which they teach (equivalent staff development units may be substituted for semester hours).
  1. The principal holds a Georgia state administrator’s professional certificate. In non‑public schools, the principal may hold a master’s degree with 15 semester hours in school administration and supervision.
  2. The superintendent or headmaster holds a five‑year Georgia administrator’s certificate in order for any school in the system to be accredited. In non‑public schools, the superintendent or headmaster holds, as a minimum, a master’s degree with a minimum of 15 semester hours in school administration and supervision.
  3. Schools with seven through nine teachers have 1/4‑time secretarial service, 10 through 13 teachers have ½‑time secretarial service, 14 through 16 teachers have 3/4- time secretarial service, and with 17 or more teachers have full‑time secretarial service.
  4. Schools with between 201 and 250 students have one person assigned at least one‑half time to media services.
  5. The qualifications and assignments of the 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 1000 master’s degree with S-5 in media or master’s degree with at least 15 semester hours in Media Full time with full-time clerk
1001 and above master’s degree with S-5 in media or master’s degree with least 15 semester hours in Media Full-time with full-time clerk and 1 associate media specialist

A junior high or middle school that is part of a combination school has media service allocated on the basis of the total enrollment of the combination school.

  1. All persons employed as paraprofessionals, auxiliary helpers, or teachers’ aides are under the direct supervision of a professionally qualified person.
  2. A school counselor with at least a master’s degree and 18 semester hours credit in guidance and counseling or SC‑5 certificate is assigned for guidance and testing equivalent to one period per day for each 100 students.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, 4 affirmative answers are required, including standards 1 through 3.)
  1. The following subject matter areas are included in a program of studies for junior high/middle schools: language arts, social studies, science and mathematics.
  2. Opportunities for exploration include at least four of the following areas:
    • Visual Arts
    • Computer literacy
    • Foreign Language
    • Laboratories in reading and mathematics
    • Home Economics
    • Industrial Arts/Technology
    • Program of Education and Career Exploration (PECE)
    • Speech and Drama
    • Group Guidance
    • Music (general), vocal, and/or instrumental
    • Business Exploration
    • Agri‑horticulture
  1. The academic requirements in grade nine (if the school houses grade nine) insure that students take one unit in language arts and one unit in mathematics or science
  2. Evidence exisos of a functioning physical education and health program.
  3. All transfer credit that is not from a GAC or SACS accredited school is validated.  Acceptance of work endorsed by other accrediting groups is the prerogative of local schools. To validate credit, a school may give examinations or may certify satisfactory performance.