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AWARE Ink Newsletter


AWARE’s Center for Excellence Receives Official Accreditation

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

In August of 2022, evaluators were onsite at the Center for Excellence to perform a candidacy review of the school, which is designed to demonstrate our capacity to meet the requirements for accreditation in relation to the Cognia Performance Standards.

In late June 2023, AWARE received notification and a report documenting the successful completion of the Cognia Accreditation Engagement Review and the Center for Excellence is now a fully accredited private school.

“We are incredibly proud to receive this accreditation. It supports our efforts to provide an education in a way that supports the learners we work with, helping them achieve academic success. AWARE Center for Excellence takes a distinguished approach, concentrating on full inclusion that honors students’ cognitive strengths and gifts, rather than the perspective of student deficits. I applaud the team at the center for their dedication and commitment to making this dream a reality,” Leighann Knight, AWARE chief operating officer said.

During the review of the Center for Excellence, Cognia noted that AWARE shows strength in its Culture of Learning category. Each person interviewed during the process expressed a deep level of satisfaction with the openness and collegiality of the organization. Strong team environment, passion for the field and support for one another were common themes among the comments. Other areas reviewed included Leadership for Learning, Engagement for Learning and Growth for Learning, all of which received exceptional remarks.

The final report of the review scored AWARE Center for Excellence in the highest level of Cognia’s Index of Education Quality – a holistic measure of overall performance.

The Center for Excellence has been operating in Anaconda, Montana, since 2014. In August 2023, AWARE transitioned the Center for Excellence into a private, school-based mental health program to increase the availability of mental health services available in Montana’s schools. The facility provides licensed teachers, clinicians and behavioral health technicians, available five days per week. Together, they are working with students and their families to provide the highest quality instruction possible along with emphasizing the concepts of diversity, inclusion, behavioral health and lifelong learning.

To learn more about the Center for Excellence, please visit or call 406.563.8117.

**Cognia is a global network of educators that help strengthen schools. Their holistic approach to continuous improvement encompasses accreditation and certification, assessment, professional learning and customized improvement services. They are recognized by the departments of education in all 50 states and the U.S. Department of Education. Any credentials coming from schools accredited under this agency are widely accepted by colleges and universities in the U.S. and Internationally.

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