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?
Eastern Christian School’s Accreditation Team began the new year with a highly productive work session on Monday, January 11 in the ECHS Media Center. All of the school’s constituencies, including students, parents, community leaders, Board of Directors, faculty, staff, and administration were represented at the meeting.
Here’s what we studied:
Following a time of review of the work accomplished since our last meeting, the team organized itself into three work groups to study accreditation standards regarding mission, governance and leadership, and system organization and staff.
The work group examining mission completed the team’s work on EC’s foundational documents, including our mission statement, core values, and graduate profile and began the process of reviewing “Standard 11: Student Life.”
The work group studying governance and leadership examined survey results from students, parents, and staff regarding governance issues and then examined some of the methods used to establish institutional goals and to track progress toward the accomplishment of those goals.
The work group studying system organization and staffing reviewed survey responses from the school’s various constituents regarding matters pertaining to staffing and staff relations.
Here’s what we found:
The work group studying mission had previously identified a number of minor inconsistencies in the wording of some of the foundational documents. The work group examined revisions to eliminate these inconsistencies and finalized work on displays of the foundational documents which will be exhibited throughout the school and used in various communications with the school community.
The work group examining governance and leadership was gratified to note the community’s high level of trust in EC’s Board and administration as evidenced in the surveys. The work group recognized that it was difficult for many community members to form an opinion regarding issues that involve work completed within the Board or between the Board and administration, but concluded that there was ample evidence of an excellent working relationship between the Board and administration.
The work group examining system organization and staffing discussed how mentoring for new staff and teachers has improved in recent years and is still improving. The surveys identified personnel policy areas that will be referred to the Board’s Governance Committee for further examination. The work group also discussed the evaluation system for teachers and learned that a committee is currently working on the teacher evaluation process.
Here’s what we hope to accomplish:
Following the work completed at the meeting, the team is recommending that EC move forward with, among others, the following action points:
- Broadly display in our school buildings and communicate to our school community Eastern Christian School’s foundational documents, including the mission statement, core values, and graduate profile.
- Recommend that the Board of Directors self-assess regarding the standard on governance and leadership. In particular, the team is recommending that the Board consider the process that it uses to assess its effectiveness on an annual basis.
- Recommend broader communication of the Board’s agenda, minutes, and other documents in order to better inform the school community regarding the matters under consideration by the governing body.
- Recommend that the Board of Directors consider revisions in the personnel policy areas identified during the meeting.
- Continue working on the Teacher Evaluation process through the committee that is already at work.
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