Saint Mary School has begun an intensive self-study process as part of our 2024 NEASC re-accreditation process. This intensive process will be the focus of a great part of the next 12 months.
WHAT IS NEASC?
NEASC is the New England Association for Schools and Colleges, and is one of the regional governing bodies that accredit public and private schools in the United States.
WHAT DOES ACCREDITATION MEAN?
Accreditation is not a single event, but rather an ongoing, voluntary cycle of comprehensive internal and external assessments, short- and long-term strategic planning, and periodic reporting sustained by professional partnership and support. Member schools must, according to the appropriate Commission protocol, periodically demonstrate continued alignment with NEASC Standards in order to maintain their NEASC Accreditation/Membership.
DOES SAINT MARY SCHOOL HAVE A NEASC ACCREDITATION?
Saint Mary School was originally accredited by NEASC in 2004, and then re-accredited in 2014. Every 10 years NEASC members go through a re-accreditation process, but as noted above, accreditation is an ongoing cycle, with interim reporting and deliverables.
WHAT ARE THE PHASES OF ACCREDITATION?
Reflection - Member institutions undergo a rigorous and comprehensive Self-Reflection. The process engages the entire educational community — faculty, administrators, staff, students, community members, and board members — in structured analysis, self-assessment, and planning in response to the Standards of Accreditation.
Review - Trained volunteers from the educational community work together as a team to visit each school undergoing an accreditation review to conduct on-site, objective assessments. These "Visiting Teams" evaluate the school's alignment with the appropriate commission standards — a process that includes observations of teaching and learning, conducting interviews, reviewing reports by and about the school, validating the school's self-reflection, identifying areas of strength, and making recommendations to assist with better alignment with the Standards, school improvement, growth, and future planning.
Follow-Up - Following receipt of the Visiting Team report(s), school personnel then respond to recommendations stated in the Visiting Team Report by designing and implementing short- and long-range plans for improvement and growth. Strategic planning and regular follow-up reports are monitored by a commission of elected peers and overseen by a professional staff to ensure that goals and recommended institutional interim improvement can be accomplished.
WHAT ARE THE TIMEFRAMES FOR SAINT MARY SCHOOL?
The self-study and review by visiting committee are divided into two sections, the Foundation Standards and Visit, and the Program Standards and Visit.
The Foundation section has five standards and is focused on the admissions process, governance, financials, hiring practices, and culture of health and safety of the school. The Foundation Self-Study report will be submitted in September in preparation for a November 2023 visit.
The Program section has six standards and is focused on the school mission, student needs, academic program, continuing education for staff, community engagement, and strategic planning. The Program Self-Study report will be submitted in March in preparation for a visit in late April 2024.
WHO WILL BE INVOLVED IN THIS PROCESS?
The entire Saint Mary School community will be involved:
Parents - will be asked to complete a survey and participate in interviews both internally and by the visiting committees.
Students - all Middle School students will complete a student survey and all students may be interviewed by the visiting committees.
Teachers and Staff - the great majority of teachers and staff are serving on or leading standard committees, and a group will serve as our steering committee.
School Advisory Board - many are serving on standard committees and will be interviewed by the visiting committees.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE TWO VISITING COMMITTEES?
After the visits and the evaluation, the visiting team prepares a report for the school that will assess the attainment of the individual standards, formulate major recommendations and standard-specific recommendations for school improvement, and submits a separate recommendation to the Commission on the school’s accreditation status.
I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS, WHO CAN I CONTACT?
Please reach out to Amy Dowding email@example.com, who is our Self-Study Coordinator with any questions.