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Distinguished Accreditation
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Distinguished Accreditation Program

Sponsored by:
The Illinois Association of Park Districts & the Illinois Park and Recreation Association

Goal
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.

Benefits

Successful completion of the Distinguished Park and Recreation Accreditation process has the following benefits:

AGENCY

  • Recognition that the recreation agency provides exceptional Park and Recreation services to their community
  • Self-evaluation through the application and review process
  • Increased operational efficiency and effectiveness
  • Opportunity for updating and clarification of policies and procedures
  • Provides professional standards for both internal &external comparisons
  • Enhances credibility within the community which increases the probability of passing a referendum

COMMUNITY

  • Improve quality of life for community through delivery of exceptional park and recreation services
  • Meet professional standards for facilities and services
  • Acknowledged as employing qualified professionals
  • Recognized as a leader in the State of Illinois in the field of parks and recreation
  • Perceived as having quality programs and services

STAFF

  • Recognizes that the recreation agency provides exceptional Park and Recreation services to their community
  • Raises credibility to even higher level for achieving Distinguished Accreditation
  • Receives public commendation for doing a good job
  • Educates all staff involved
  • Provides opportunity for self-evaluation of performance compared to established standards
  • Promotes and encourages teamwork and team building
  • Reinforces that nothing significant is ever accomplished without significant effort
  • Increases pride and morale
  • Provides opportunity for updating and clarification of policies and procedures.
  • Requires and stresses staff training

BOARD

  • Acknowledges elected officials as effective and efficient guardians of the public interest in parks and recreation, and of the public resources provided for recreation opportunities
  • Gains confidence in ability of board, staff and agency to provide exceptional park and recreation services
  • Forces board to address policy issues in an established timetable

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 March 15th 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 IPRAChair of DPRAC.The letter, which must be received by March 15th, 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 and/or Mentor.  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 and/or the mentor, 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.

2014 Distinguished Park and Recreation Accreditation Standards Manual
(Note: Scroll down for separate files pertaining to Special Recreation Associations.)

You must download all files to have a complete manual.

Introduction and Application

Index of Changes

Standards

Electronic Self Assessment Form

Standards Score Sheet

Distinguished Agency Tour Checklist


Special Recreation Associations

Standards

Standards Score Sheet SRA

Distinguished Agency Tour Checklist SRA


For more information on this program, contact the IAPD or IPRA Co-Chair:

IPRA Co-Chair
BILL MCADAM
Downers Grove Park District
630-963-1304

bmcadam@dgparks.org

IAPD Co-Chair
WALLY FRASIER
Mundelein Park & Recreation District
847-949-5794
wwfrasier@comcast.net

DISTINGUISHED PARK AND RECREATION ACCREDITED AGENCIES

2014-2019
Buffalo Grove Park District
Channahon Park District
Elk Grove Park District
Park District of Highland Park
Lincolnwood Parks and Recreation Department
Lombard Park District
Park District of Oak Park
Rockford Park District
Rolling Meadows Park District
Urbana Park District
Warrenville Park District
Wheeling Park District

2013-2018
Carol Stream Park District
Cary Park District
Chicago Park District
Decatur Park District
DeKalb Park District
Geneseo Park District
Huntley Park District
Naperville Park District
River Trails Park District
Streamwood Park District
Tinley Park Park District

2012-2017
Champaign Park District
Des Plaines Park District
Elmhurst Park District
Mundelein Park and Recreation District
Special Recreation Association of Central Lake County
Vernon Hills Park District
Western DuPage Special Recreation Association
Winnetka Park District

2011-2016
Arlington Heights Park District
Bartlett Park District
Geneva Park District
Gurnee Park District
Hoffman Estates Park District
Northwest Special Recreation Association
Waukegan Park District
Woodridge Park District

2010-2015
Addison Park District
Homewood-Flossmoor Park District
Oak Lawn Park District
Round Lake Area Park District
Schaumburg Park District

JOINT IAPD/IPRA DISTINGUISHED AGENCY AWARD
2009-2014

Fox Valley Park District
Oregon Park District
Skokie Park District

2008-2013
Batavia Park District
Buffalo Grove Park District
Highland Park, Park District of
Lombard Park District
Rockford Park District
Rolling Meadows Park District
South Elgin Parks and Recreation Department
Wheeling Park District
Re-Certified
Crystal Lake Park District

Western DuPage Special Recreation Association

2007-2012
Carol Stream Park District
Re-Certified

Cary Park District
Naperville Park District

2006-2011
Oswegoland Park District
Vernon Hills Park District
Re-Certified

Champaign Park District
Decatur Park District
Des Plaines Park District
Elmhurst Park District
Hoffman Estates Park District
Olympia Fields Park District
River Trails Park District

2005-2010
Northwest Special Recreation Association
Waukegan Park District
Re-Certified
Arlington Heights Park District

Bartlett Park District
Bloomingdale Park District
Bolingbrook Park District
Geneva Park District
Western Springs Recreation Department
Woodridge Park District

2004-2009
Northbrook Park District
Oak Lawn Park District
Round Lake Area Park District
Re-Certified
Homewood-Flossmoor Park District

Winnetka Park District

2003-2008
Re-Certified

Skokie Park District

2002-2007
Crystal Lake Park District
Quincy Park District
Western DuPage Special Recreation Association
Re-Certified

Buffalo Grove Park District
Highland Park, Park District of
Lombard Park District
Rolling Meadows Park District

2001-2006
Cary Park District
Re-Certified
Addison Park District

Peoria, Pleasure Driveway &Park District of
Streamwood Park District

2000-2005
Champaign Park District
Decatur Park District
Elmhurst Park District
Hoffman Estates Park District
Olympia Fields Park District
River Trails Park District
Re-Certified
Des Plaines Park District

Naperville Park District
Wheaton Park District

1999-2004
Bartlett Park District
Bloomingdale Park District
Bolingbrook Park District
Geneva Park District
Re-Certified
Arlington Heights Park District

Western Springs Recreation Department
Woodridge Park District

1998-2003
Homewood-Flossmoor Park District
Winnetka Park District

1997-2002
Skokie Park District

1996-2001
Buffalo Grove Park District
Highland Park, Park District of
Lombard Park District
Rolling Meadows Park District

1995-2000
Addison Park District
Peoria, Pleasure Driveway & Park District of
Streamwood Park District

1994-1999
Des Plaines Park District
Naperville Park District
Wheaton Park District

1993-1998
Arlington Heights Park District
Western Springs Recreation Department
Woodridge Park District

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