Eastern Christian School is accredited through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Assessment is important at school… and it’s important for schools. So how are we doing? It’s time for a mid-term progress report!
What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is an ongoing, comprehensive review process from an outside organization in order to ensure that the school or college being reviewed is living up to specific standards of performance.
It’s a way for our school community to know that we’re really doing what we say we’re doing.
One of our core values is to “Strive for Excellence.” We believe that we’re an excellent school, but we’re obviously biased! It’s important to us that students at Eastern Christian School are getting an objectively excellent educational experience. That objectivity requires a third party in order to ensure that we can see our blind spots and exhibit a true culture of continually learning and improvement.
Let’s be real – Eastern Christian School is nearly 130 years old. It’s easy for older institutions to fall into a pattern of doing things “the way they’ve always been done.” The accreditation process ensures that we don’t rest on our laurels. It keeps us in touch with best practice within the field of education, and allows us specifically to measure the effectiveness of our program. If something is not working, we have the responsibility to improve it. If something is working, we can consider opportunities to make it even better! Accreditation is one of the key ways that we influence the culture of our school community.
Why Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools?
This organization has long been our accrediting body. In addition to allowing for district-wide P-12 accreditation, Middle States is an accrediting body for colleges and universities. This presents us with the opportunity to learn about “The next level” and to align our learning in preparation for this level.
Being accredited as a P-12 school is unique in education. Most high schools pursue accreditation, but to be accredited P-12 is a strong educational distinctive.
What’s the Accreditation Timeline?
Accreditation never stops! We run 7 year cycles with the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Where are we at in the current Accreditation Cycle?
Exactly halfway through! One of the requirements of our current seven year cycle is to produce a Mid-Term report.
What are some of the highlights of the Mid-Term Report?
Three things: Global Competency, Character education, and our strategic plan.
What is Global Competency, and can you give a progress report?
Global competency is an individual’s capacity to examine local, global, and intercultural issues, to understand and appreciate the perspectives of others, to engage in open, appropriate, and effective interactions with people from different cultures, and to act for collective well-being and sustainable development.
Defined: The capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance.
We have done a lot of work in this area over the past few years. Our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts have gained significant progress through our Global Competency initiatives.
Our goal, through the Global Competence Aptitude Assessment, is to:
Establish a baseline measurement of our students, faculty, staff, and administration.
Set improvement goals demonstrating growth in areas of global competency
Measure our improvements and analyze them against our goals to ensure community-wide progress in these areas.
The important ongoing work in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion have been driven by this important accreditation thread.
What is Character Education, and can you give a progress report?
As a Christian School, character education is a natural part of our educational model. Again, while we believe that our character education accomplishes what we set out to do, we prefer to have objective external recognition of the effectiveness of our character education. The leading national body in character education is Character.org and the National School of Character program.
What is our strategic plan, and can you give a progress report?
The strategic plan focuses on three main areas: enrollment growth, facilities improvement, and financial management of the school’s operations.
We’re proud to offer progress reports as follows:
Prior to COVID-19, enrollment had been at a ten year high. We anticipate our enrollment will continue towards our goals in the years ahead.
We have made numerous investments and improvements in our facilities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to protect student and faculty health and safety. These improvements included the installation of hospital grade air purification equipment in every classroom, the retrofitting of every restroom on our campuses with touchless faucets, toilet flushers, and paper towel dispensers, installation of touchless water dispensers, and many other health and safety measures.
We conducted a capital campaign to fund numerous significant security investments, classroom upgrades including new furniture in all of our classrooms, and a new outdoor athletic facility on our North Haledon campus.
We were able to move the 4th grade from Midland Park to our Wyckoff campus as a part of our facility use study.
We have successfully grown our school endowment, increasing movement towards the long term sustainability of our school.
We continue on a track of reducing debt to maintain our strong financial position.
We are so thankful for all of the work that the accreditation team has done to get us to this point. We are thankful to our amazing school community that continually steps up to live out our core values every day. Most importantly, we are thankful to our Lord for his continued provision to Eastern Christian School so that we can pursue his mission for us with all of our hearts!