Last week, our school welcomed a visiting team from five different independent schools for our 10-year re-accreditation. We hosted the team for three days at EHS; their mission was to analyze our school from every possible perspective and to determine whether or not we meet the 58 standards established by the Association of Independent Schools of New England (AISNE). The team accomplished this task by reading our self-study report, and by interviewing every employee of the school, as well as groups of parents, board members, and students, to validate that our self study was true.
This re-accreditation visit was 18 months in the making, and it felt like “mission impossible.” To prepare, the administration, faculty, staff, and board governance committee wrote a 135-page self-study report, which examined the school’s policies, programs, and procedures. This was truly a labor of love. Last year, my faculty and staff spent two full professional days and 16 faculty meetings working on the document. Then, there was the subsequent editing, materials collection needed as artifacts, and hosting accommodations that happened after the document was written.
So, how did we do? Although I have yet to receive the official written report, the chair of the visiting team provided me with some early results before she left. Here’s the data I can share:
- The team didn’t want to leave when it was time to go.
- The team “fell in love with EHS.”
- The team was overwhelmed by the kindness of our students, faculty, and staff.
- The faculty expertly differentiate instruction in terms of curriculum and learning style.
- The administration, faculty, staff, and students are deeply immersed in the school’s six attributes (potential, identity, curiosity, intellect, compassion, and community).
- Congruence between the mission and curriculum is strong.
- The team could see, hear, and feel the dedication to our mission in every aspect of the school. The words “mission driven” don’t suffice. The EHS mission is a palpable living entity in our school.
- The EHS mission and philosophy are visible in the school’s operations, culture, and curriculum.
The AISNE manual states, “Your school’s mission statement and/or statement of philosophy serves as the heart of the evaluation. Through the process of a Self Study, all phases of the school program are examined in accordance with the school’s own stated mission and philosophy. It is from the mission/statement of philosophy that judgments are made as to whether the school is in fact achieving its objectives.”
Bottom line, our 10-year re-accreditation visit is in the books. It’s safe to say, “Mission accomplished.”
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