Return to Headlines

UNC Earns Cognia Accreditation

Livingston, Alabama – June 25, 2020 – University Charter School has now earned accreditation by Cognia™, a nonprofit organization that provides quality assurance for schools, school districts, and education service providers.

Cognia, formerly known as AdvancED, nationally recognizes districts that meet rigorous standards focused on productive learning environments, equitable resource allocation that meets the needs of learners, and effective leadership. With this national accreditation from the Cognia Global Accreditation Commission University Charter School meets Cognia Standards of Quality and will maintain a commitment to continuous improvement.

“School accreditation as conferred by the Cognia Global Accreditation Commission provides a nationally recognized mark of quality for our school and our students’ educational experience,” explained Dr. JJ Wedgworth, UCS Head of School.  “It demonstrates to our community our commitment to excellence, our openness to external review and feedback, and our desire to be the best we can be on behalf of the students we serve.”

UCS was founded in 2018 as a PreK-8th grade school in an effort to help fulfill the mission of the University of West Alabama in meeting the educational needs of the region that is serves. UCS has been in operation for two academic years and has added an additional grade level each year to ultimately serve students in grades PK – 12 by 2022.

“University Charter School has made tremendous strides in providing educational opportunities for students in the local communities it serves,” said UWA President Ken Tucker. “Its presence in our community and on our campus transcends typical age gaps of different levels of education, making UWA the first institution in the state to serve students from the age of six weeks old at UWA Campus School, then through preschool, elementary, middle and soon high school, then undergraduate and graduate degrees and doctoral programs. University Charter School’s enrollment and major accomplishments like this validate UWA’s initiatives to spearhead its establishment.”

To earn Cognia accreditation, a school district also must implement a continuous process of improvement, and submit to internal and external review.  Schools in good standing can maintain their accreditation for a five-year term.

“Earning Cognia accreditation in only the second year of operation is a remarkable achievement and is a testament to the dedication and quality of the board, faculty, staff, parents and students at University Charter School,” Wedgworth said.  “I could not be more proud of our team and these accomplishments in such a short time. UWA has also played an integral role in the success of University Charter School as a key partner in this cooperative endeavor, and we are very grateful for the University’s unwavering support.”

Dr. Mark A. Elgart, president and CEO of Cognia, stated, “Cognia Accreditation is a rigorous process that focuses the entire school and its community on the primary goal of preparing lifelong learners in engaging environments where all students can flourish. University Charter School is to be commended for demonstrating that it has met high standards and is making progress on key indicators that impact student learning.”

Cognia is the parent organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). Parents and interested community members can learn more about the Cognia Accreditation at

 About Cognia

Cognia offers accreditation and certification, assessment, professional learning, and improvement services to institutions and other education providers. The result of the merger of AdvancED and Measured Progress, Cognia was formed to bridge the gap between school evaluation and student assessment. As a global nonprofit working in over 80 countries, our 36,000 institutions serve and support nearly 25 million students and five million educators every day. Cognia serves as trusted partner in advancing learning for all.  Find out more at 

About University Charter School

University Charter School is a public charter school located on the campus of the University of West Alabama.  UCS currently serves students in grades PK-10 and will add a grade level each year to ultimately become a PK-12 school.  The mission of University Charter School is to be an innovative, rural, diverse K-12 school that values collaboration with key stakeholders to cultivate independent thought, promotes the building of character and civic responsibility, and is committed to preparing all students for personal and professional success though the discovery of individual learning pathways in a rigorous and integrated STREAM focused, project-based and place-based curriculum.  Find out more at, call 205-652-3848, or email