Thursday, May 15, 2008

Reaccreditation and High Commendations

A year long intensive process of reflection, collaboration, and evaluation spearheaded by Mrs. Sandy Gersten culminated yesterday not only in a recommendation by our Quality Assurance Review Team that we be reaccredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS), but with highest of praise from the four person team who spent the last forty-eight hours roaming our halls, visiting our classrooms, speaking with our students, faculty, parents, and board members, and sifting through stacks upon stacks of instructional, curricular, administrative, and governance documents in an effort to assess the quality of our educational program.

In their report to our stakeholders before departing yesterday afternoon, they lauded us with the following five commendations:
  1. The school under its current administration is dedicated to the families and community and to meeting the needs of its students.
  2. Teachers integrate higher-order thinking skills daily in their lessons.
  3. The students are respectful and an atmosphere of respect prevails throughout the school.
  4. Parents and stakeholders display a strong sense of support for the school.
  5. The SOIN system provides a comprehensive online student management system and effective communication with parents and students.
Every QAR team is required by SACS to provide recommendations for improvement as well. Perhaps most encouraging about the team's report was the fact that the four recommendations they made were all items that we had already identified and which we have already begun to address. They were:
  1. Maintain efforts to fully integrate the present vision into all facets of school life.
  2. Identify and implement a full scope and sequence to vertically align the curricula in all subject areas.
  3. Use needs assessments to create a structured professional development plan.
  4. Reorganize the present governance entity into a smaller Board of Trustees and institute an active parent / teacher advisory board.
As important as it is to focus on our weaknesses and to constantly commit ourselves to improvement, it is equally important for us to celebrate our successes - and this is a success worth celebrating. On behalf of the extended school community I once again thank Mrs. Gersten for her tireless efforts in this and in so many other endeavors. I thank Mrs. Carol Straughn for her meticulous collection and organization of our materials; the committee heads for their leadership and high quality work; as well as all of the faculty members, board members, and community members who helped make this process the success that it was.

Let this be a springboard for us to many more successes and even greater heights in the months and years to come.

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