Friday, April 29, 2005
CCHS releases accreditation report
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), which gives accreditation to schools, has 49 recommendations and a number of commendations for Concord-Carlisle High School. The aim of the NEASC is to give an independent view on how to improve the school.
The NEASC had many good things to say about the CCHS. They valued the depth of the curriculum and how much time teachers have to talk to each other and to students. They liked the variety of teaching techniques and the self-evaluation done by students. There is a lot of support for new teachers and support from the parents. It is an atmosphere that celebrates student learning and accomplishments. In terms of leadership and organization, the NEASC saw good working relationships and a general commitment to excellence.
Areas for improvement
The report also suggested some areas for improvement. The CCHS mission statement was considered weak for a high school, as were some school-wide practices and policies. The NEASC felt there was inadequate exchange between Carlisle and Concord about curriculum, and more discussion and coordination is needed. CCHS Principal Art Dulong said that he plans "to review the mission statement and the curriculum, and write down our practices." In addition, the school will need to send home crisis procedures. Dulong said ,"We have crisis procedures but we have never sent them home."
Other recommendations have to do with room usage. The visitors found no empty rooms available at any time. Not only were classrooms always in use but the writing and computer labs were always busy. Teachers have difficulty getting computer time. Dulong pointed out that "if he had an empty room near the math department, he would add another math course. It's a case of the building driving priorities."
There were a number of recommendations "to strengthen the external supports necessary for us to accomplish our mission." In the report, there is a list of problems with the building, including no communication line between each classroom and the office, deficient lighting and lack of classroom availability. Also, the CCHS computers need more capacity to store student records. Dulong said he just received fireproof filing cabinets for records.
In the 1970s, 50% of students went to college, the number is now 95%. As these demographics changed, programs like Home Economics and Wood Shop wetre eliminated. A criticism from the NEASC was the lack of programs for non-college-bound students.
With the current system of leveling in math, language and science, are students all placed at the highest level they are capable of? The NEASC is concerned that since students are no longer tracked, are they all being challenged?
Dulong seemed to be at a loss about one recommendation, accounting for students' whereabouts during "open campus" time, when upper classmen are allowed to leave campus during their lunch breaks. It seems to be a contradiction in terms.
In response to the NEASC findings, the Administration will prepare a special report addressing the recommendations by next fall. A two-year report will give very specific responses to a lot of the recommendations and a five-year report will specify a plan for all the remaining recommendations as they must be addressed before the next 10-year cycle begins again.
A copy of the NEASC Report will be available at Gleason Library in the next few weeks.
© 2005 The