EC Accreditation Team Blog Series: Achieving Excellence Systemwide

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Eastern Christian School is Accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

What is Accreditation? Accreditation is the act of granting credit or recognition that maintains suitable standards. Why do we pursue Accreditation? Accreditation is necessary to any person or institution in education that needs to prove that they meet a general standard of quality. When we claim that Eastern Christian School is an excellent school that embraces a culture of constant improvement, we want to be able to back that up. Middle States is a widely known and respected Accreditation body. When we say that we are accredited by Middle States, that recognition is significant. The Accreditation Team, made up of 27 EC parents, community members, board members, administration, teachers, and students meets over an 18 month period to pursue success across various standards of excellence.

In this blog series, we will regularly update the EC community on the results of the team’s findings. Based on community survey feedback, committee thinking and conversation, and prayer, we will delve deeply into these standards with the goal of improving in all areas, and ultimately pass the accreditation review in 2017 with flying colors! We are excited to share these results as a sign of transparency and as a welcome invite to the EC community for feedback on the various topics being discussed. Each Blog Post will be written by a different team member, and will answer three key questions: What did we study? What did we find? What do we hope to accomplish?


 

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Here’s What We Studied

In our first meeting together as an Accreditation Team, we met in the High School Media Center and discussed Accreditation Standard 1: Mission. We reviewed three key documents: our Mission statement, our Core Values and our Graduate Profile. Then, we discussed the recent community feedback survey that allowed all stakeholders in the EC community to give feedback on these three documents and their role/influence on day to day life at the school.

Here’s What We Found

We found that across all groups, the Eastern Christian Mission is lived out among the community. We really are who we say we are, and we really do what we say we’re going to do. That authenticity was reflected very strongly. We found that many groups didn’t feel like they had input into the creation or review of the mission statement. However, this was not a surprise, as the mission statement was founded a couple of Accreditation cycles ago. We found that our Graduate Profile doesn’t have a high enough level of recognition. While this is mainly a high school document, this document is helpful in articulating to all ages of students – even as young as 3 years old – what we are aiming for in an EC graduate. It is what we hope they can become. That is pretty powerful and we hope to think through ways to make this profile more prominent.

Here’s What We Hope To Accomplish

We hope to clean up some of the verbiage in the displays of the Core Values. Some of the areas where we articulate the Core Values list them in different orders, with different introductions, etc. We hope to have more consistent displays of the Mission/Core Values within the physical context of the school buildings and classrooms. We hope to train teachers to more intentionally use the language of these documents in the classroom to shape students’ understanding of why we do what we do. We received very high marks across all survey groups, so this particular standard is more about taking something “very good” and moving it to “excellent.”


The EC Accreditation Team: Tina Bucci, Allison Dalessandro, Liesl Botbyl, Rebekah Sankey, Tom Dykhouse, Dick Van Yperen, Sandy Bottge, Daniel Lazor, Ruth Kuder, Debi Veenstra, Mary Faber, Beth Hoffman, Philip Verrengia, Paul Beverly, Kristen Rudd, Nick Kuiken, Steve Gorter, Rudi Gesch, K.C. Vande Streek, Doug Struyk, Emmanuella Pierre, Diana Ibrahim, Becky Parker, Melanie Castro-Bedoya, Scott Steenstra, Sung Namgung

The committee welcomes feedback from all EC Community members. If you have questions/comments, please contact Internal Coordinator Tina Bucci