Friday, November 8, 2002
CCHS accreditation process safeguards quality
The preparation for the re-accreditation of Concord-Carlisle High School is a demanding, two-year process that involves faculty, students, and parents. "We examine what we do and let the community know that they are getting good value and colleges know they are getting good students." said French teacher Karen Nerpouni, chair of the steering committee for re-accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Nerpouni made a presentation to the regional school committee on October 23 to seek consensus on the school's mission and expectations statements (see boxes).
The steering committee, consisting of seven members, is responsible for guiding the high school through the accreditation process in preparation for an evaluation visit from a peer review committee in March 2004.
NEASC is one of six regional accrediting associations. It is supported by member dues, and members make a commitment to re-accreditation every ten years. Most schools consider such accreditation a necessity for assuring college admissions offices that student achievement records reflect high standards. In addition, the process allows the school to work toward continued quality and targeted improvement.
The process includes a period of self-study which the committee started in spring 2002 and will complete by February 2004. This will be followed by the March 2004 visit by a committee of NEASC members to audit the mission, goals, and standards of the school. Once the accreditation is complete, progress updates and a five-year report will provide information on goal achievement and quality maintenance.
Initial steps in the self-study include a school and community profile and student, faculty, and parent surveys, currently in process, which will help gauge satisfaction and identify problems. ("We need a good return on the surveys," Nerpouni reminded.) Seven standards committees, composed of faculty, parents, students, and support staff, will meet regularly until December 2003 to gather and analyze information and write executive summaries. The seven areas to be reviewed include: mission and expectations, curriculum, instruction, learning assessment, leadership and organization, school resources, and community resources. The executive summaries are then approved by a 2/3 vote of the faculty.
The standards committees also develop lists of critical strengths and needs. These seven lists are culled to develop a master list of ten to fifteen strengths and ten to fifteen needs. The master list is then approved by a 2/3 vote of the faculty, and becomes the basis for setting goals and milestones.
Nerpouni summarized the school's mission with the "CCHS" mnemonic — Commitment, Citizenship, Harmony, and Scholarship. Over the next months, Nerpouni and her committees will be looking at ways to further encode this mission and these expectations into the fabric of life at CCHS, with the goal of maintaining and enhancing the school's excellent reputation and record of high student achievement.
The mission of the Concord Public Schools and the Concord-Carlisle Regional School District, as partners with our families and communities, is to maximize each student's opportunities for intellectual and personal development, so as to perform effectively in and become productive citizens of a rapidly changing world, by providing a rigorous and varied educational experience as measured against best educational practices, guided by highly competent and caring staff in a supportive and safe environment consistent with the communities' historic commitment to social consciousness, mutual respect, intellectualism, and public education.
• Reads analytically
• Writes effectively
• Uses problem-solving skills including the scientific method of inquiry
• Expresses oneself through the arts
• Has an understanding of other cultures and/or languages in addition to one's own
• Understands how societies develop, function and govern themselves
• Uses technology to facilitate learning
• Has the skills to make decisions and engage in activities that support a healthy and safe lifestyle
• Participates in the life of the school community and the community at large.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito