Friday, December 21, 2007
CCHS accreditation process ongoing
Although a recent letter from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) to Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) Principal Peter Badalament stated that the Commission on Public Secondary Schools will continue the CCHS accreditation, there were strings attached. NEASC praised recent facility improvements and "commended the quality of instruction" at the high school, but the letter, dated November 20, also expressed "its ongoing serious concerns related to facilities and space issues."
The letter listed shortcomings of the building: space constraints and limited classroom availability, overcrowded classes, scattered special education classes due to lack of space in a central area, limited storage space, electrical system and HVAC issues, leaky roofs and the numerous doors within the facility that are regarded as a security issue.
The commission commended the state-of-the-art technology in classrooms and the new language lab and said it "was pleased to learn" of the facilities improvements made during the past two years. These include an upgraded fire alarm system, improved lighting, the installation of two portable classrooms and office space, a new floor and new furniture in the cafeteria, the refinishing of the gymnasium floor, and new fume hoods and lab benches in science classrooms.
The commission recognized that CCHS was at a crossroads. Many space concerns can only be addressed with a major renovation or new school building. The commission acknowledged the school district's submission of a Statement of Interest (SOI) to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) for state aid for a major building project.The district's application was recently put "on hold" by MSBA and the RSC is awaiting clarification of what next steps MSBA will recommend. The accreditation commission is requesting an additional special progress report from Badalament by February 1, 2008 which needs to contain status on the school district's SOI and plans to address the identified facilities issues if state funding is not forthcoming. The letter states, "The Commission will review the school's accreditation status when it considers the special progress report."
What does it mean?
Both RSC Chair Michael Fitzgerald and CCHS Superintendent Brenda Finn stressed the district's intention to preserve the school's accreditation. She said, "I am hopeful that we can work with the NEASC; and we'll remind them of the positive steps we have taken in the last two budget cycles; how much progress we have made." Finn believes, "We have demonstrated good faith."
© 2007 The