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?
Here’s what we studied:
This month marked our fourth meeting as an accreditation planning team, and a review of where we’ve been and what we’ve studied thus far showed how much progress the team has already made. The team also received reports from subcommittees specific to Standards 2 & 4 following additional study completed by the Board. After the review of our progress, the team divided into three groups in order to look at three standards: Standard 5, Facilities; Standard 7, Health & Safety; and Standard 12, Information Resources.
Here’s what we found:
The final reports from the subcommittees on Governance and School Finance concluded that EC meets the criteria for each of these standards. For these standards, there is a “next step” to accomplish. The Board felt that a regular self-evaluation would provide additional feedback as to meeting their duties, and the finance committee listed as a goal for the business practices to aim for more transparency.
Overall, EC has made significant investments in its facilities. This has resulted in a substantial upgrade in the quality of its buildings, from window upgrades to paint on the walls, furniture in the classrooms and our tech infrastructure. Despite the improvements already made, additional improvements are always on the horizon. Furniture upgrades in our classrooms, parking space at the HS, air conditioning, and athletic fields all are potential candidates for upgrades.
On the safety front, EC has recently adopted, and is now training students, staff, and the community in the Standard Response Protocol (SRP). Our athletic coaches are trained in CPR and AED use. Our communication ability within each of our buildings could use an upgrade. The school has met the standard in this area.
Finally, our information resources again meets the overall standard. Ongoing efforts are being made to increase the number of iPads in the ES, and with that increase and the MS Chromebook program, additional device storage will be needed. Printing capacity at our campuses is an area that needs to be evaluated and likely increased, although the use of cloud-based services does decrease the overall need for printing.
Here’s what we hope to accomplish:
In looking at three separate standards, there are several things which can be listed on our “to be accomplished” list:
- MS facelift, including updating the painting throughout the building, to begin summer 2016.
- Continued training for faculty, staff, students, and nurses in the SRP.
- Improved communications on our campuses.
- The purchase of additional iPads for the ES.
- Encouraging staff to pursue the professional pathways that are available for their professional development.
When you dig in the dirt, you’re bound to find worms, yet the process of self-study allows us as a school system to step back and see what is happening at EC. It has been encouraging on the whole to hear about the results of our study, to read the results from our survey and the comments that were submitted, to examine all of the improvements that have been made, and to think about the commitment the Board, the Staff and the parent community have to making EC an excellent school.
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