Nantucket High School has re-entered the NEASC Accreditation process and is currently undertaking the Self-Reflection portion of that process. Principal Dr. John Buckey and Assistant Principal Jennifer Psaradelis along with English teachers and NEASC Accreditation coordinators Page Martineau and Stacey Edzwald will be guiding NHS through the the intensive portion of the Accreditation process.
NEASC stands for New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Founded in 1885, this organization serves over 2,000 schools, through the process of Accreditation, which “legitimizes a school, and lets the community and colleges know that the school is continuously growing and improving, actively setting and working toward goals for improving student learning that are current and based in the best practice,” Martineau says. The process of Accreditation is a ten-year cycle that consists of three phases, reflection, review, and renewal. The Self-Reflection phase of this cycle involves multiple stakeholders, including the students, community, faculty, staff, and administrators. NHS has returned to the process following a revision of the Standards for Accreditation.
The newer standards have been grouped into five categories, Learning Culture, Student Learning, Professional Practices, Learning Support, and lastly, Learning Resources. According to the NEASC website, “Learning Culture promotes shared values and responsibility for achieving the schools vision… Student Learning practices maximize the impact of learning for each student… Professional Practices ensure that practices and structures are in place to support and improve student learning… Learning Support ensures that the school has appropriate systems to support student learning and well-being… Learning Resources ensure that the school has the resources necessary to meet the learning needs of all students…” All of these form a checklist that the school has a safe environment for the students to learn and be supported in.“The process guarantees that kids are going to a school that’s safe and well staffed, that the teachers are utilizing teaching practices that are grounded in current research, and, most important, a school that is committed to reviewing, reflecting, and improving upon how it serves kids,” Martineau says.
During the course of this school year, the faculty will be engaged in the process of studying all aspects of the school, collecting evidence for what we do, and identifying the areas we need to improve upon. Expect to see a survey in advisory soon, as a part of the Self-Reflection includes surveying students. Next fall, the school will be visited by a three-person team who will tour the school campus; visit classes; and interview faculty, parents, and students. Their visit will culminate in a report that makes commendations and recommendations based on each standard.
By Christian Mack