Illinois Distinguished Accreditation Program
The goal of the Illinois Distinguished Accreditation program is to improve the delivery of recreation services to the residents of Illinois through a voluntary comprehensive evaluation process. The desired result is to improve the quality of life for Illinois residents and to recognize those agencies that provide this quality service. The Accreditation Committee strives to help Illinois parks and recreation agencies obtain distinguished certification through working with mentors to develop and incorporate required policies and procedures.
Successful completion of the Distinguished Park and Recreation Accreditation process has the following benefits:
Application & Evaluation Process
A recreation agency interested in applying for Accreditation should be aware of the following steps necessary for completion of the accreditation process. (Note: Applications are accepted through April 1st, each year on a first-come, first-served basis.)
This application/accreditation process may be time consuming, if completed within one year. However, if the process is spread over a two-year period, it should be manageable for almost every agency.
1. Recreation agency downloads the Distinguished Accreditation Park and Recreation Standards Manual (the Manual) from the IAPD web site (found below).
2. Recreation agency reviews standards in the Manual. The recreation agency independently determines if it can comply with a sufficient number of criteria necessary for Accreditation by completing the Self-Evaluation (found below). Contact IPRA Chair of Distinguished Park and Recreation Accreditation Committee (DPRAC) for additional help, if necessary. If their self-evaluation shows the agency has almost complied with many of the standards, a formal letter requesting entry into the Accreditation process, which is signed by the Director (CEO) and the Board President, an application, and a copy of the self-evaluation must be sent to the IPRA Chair of DPRAC. The letter, which must be received by April 1st, shall also include the $500 entry fee (payable to IAPD).The recreation agency includes a copy of their self-evaluation. Applications will be reviewed by the DPRAC co-chairs. If the DPRAC determines the recreation agency is eligible to continue the process, a mentor will be assigned. The agency will have approximately19 months from the time their application is approved to complete the accreditation process. The actual evaluation must take place by November 15th of the year following the application.
3. As they gather information, the recreation agency may contact their mentor for interpretation of individual criteria. When the agency feels they are ready for evaluation, they must get a signed recommendation from their mentor for evaluation. The agency then submits a letter signed by the CEO and the Board President, by August 15th, requesting Distinguished Accreditation evaluation and giving several available dates. After meeting to set up the Evaluation Teams, DPRAC will send a letter to the agency giving the actual date of their evaluation, the Evaluation Team Leader and other members of the Evaluation Team. The Evaluation Team will consist of five members, with at least two people being IAPD members, and three people being IPRA members, including at least one CEO. The Team Leader will contact the recreation agency to coordinate the evaluation.
4. The process of pursuing Accreditation will involve two costs. The first cost is the application fee of $500. The second cost will be determined by the "out-of-pocket" expenses of the Evaluation Team. This fee includes one plaque upon successful completion of the program, with delivery at the State Conference. Additional plaques may be purchased. Out-of-pocket expenses may include, but may not be limited to, meals for the five-person evaluation team members, transportation, duplicating, mailing costs, etc. and possibly, though unusual, overnight lodging. All attempts will be made to keep costs to a minimum. The recreation agency contact person and the Evaluation Team Leader should coordinate the out-of-pocket expenses.
5. On the day of the evaluation the agency presents documented information and a tour of pertinent parks and facilities for review by the Evaluation Team. All information shall be in folders with the number of the standard on the folder. The most current standard criteria should be affixed to the inside of the folder. Each item in the folder shall also be numbered with the standard, to avoid confusion as the papers pass among the members of the Evaluation Team. The recreation agency shall have pertinent staff present to answer questions. At the end of the Evaluation, the Evaluation Team will meet to discuss the information, and may request additional documentation. At this time, the preliminary results of the Evaluation Team will be discussed with the agency.
6. The Agency will then have 30 days from the date of the evaluation to correct any deficiencies. These deficiencies would include any mandatory items, items in sections not meeting a minimum score, or items that would increase the agency's total score to a passing level. If the evaluation takes place less than 30 days before the Accreditation Review Board meeting (the Monday prior to Thanksgiving), all deficiencies must be corrected prior to that meeting. Proof of these corrections will be forwarded to the Evaluation Team Leader who shall distribute them to the Evaluation Team.
7. The Evaluation Team will then present its report at a meeting of the Accreditation Review Board. The Accreditation Review Board consists of members of the DPRAC minus the Agency Evaluation Team and mentor and any other members having an affiliation with the subject agency. This meeting will take place the Monday before Thanksgiving of each year. The Accreditation Review Board will review materials and score sheets submitted by the Evaluation Team. Representatives from the agency are strongly encouraged to attend this meeting. After reviewing the Evaluation Team's report, the Accreditation Review Board will entertain a motion and a second, take discussion and then have a roll call vote in favor or against Agency Accreditation.
8. If the agency is denied accreditation by the Accreditation Review Board, the agency may try again the following year. If the agency's evaluation was in the original calendar year of its application, a new application fee is not required. If the agency's evaluation was in its second calendar year of the application, a new application and application fee is required for the following year. In either case, a new evaluation team will be assigned per the normal evaluation schedule.
9. Recognition will be given at the State Conference to those agencies achieving Distinguished Accreditation status.
Is your agency interested in Distinguished Accreditation? Click here to get started!
Questions about the program please contact: Dan Jones, Executive Director, Cary Park District, 255 Brairgate Road, Cary, IL 60013 firstname.lastname@example.org 847-639-6100 ext. 102
DISTINGUISHED PARK AND RECREATION ACCREDITED AGENCIES