Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Home from Massachusetts School Accreditation Trip

Hey, y'all,

Last Tuesday night I returned home from 3 days spent in Maynard, Massachusetts. I was honored and pleased to have been invited to serve on an External Review Team for AdvancED, the accreditation body who this past Fall had reviewed my own online school and awarded us a 5 year accreditation based on final review numbers the lead evaluator called "statistical anomoly" due to their across-the-board superlative high ranges when compared to like schools internationally.

AdvancED is dedicated to helping schools improve, and on a vast scale. From their website's About page:
AdvancED is the largest community of education professionals in the world. We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts rigorous, on-site external reviews of PreK-12 schools and school systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential. While our expertise is grounded in more than a hundred years of work in school accreditation, AdvancED is far from a typical accrediting agency. Our goal isn’t to certify that schools are good enough. Rather, our commitment is to help schools improve.
Combining the knowledge and expertise of a research institute, the skills of a management consulting firm and the passion of a grassroots movement for educational change, we serve as a trusted partner to 32,000 schools and school systems—employing more than four million educators and enrolling more than 20 million students—across the United States and 70 other nations. AdvancED was created through a 2006 merger of the PreK-12 divisions of the North Central Association (NCA) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)—and expanded through the addition of the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) in 2011.
 It was truly a learning experience for me, and I feel privileged to have worked so closely with the team chosen to review and recommend accreditation for The Virtual High School in Maynard, an organization providing learning opportunities to students worldwide utilizing a unique model to do so for nearly 20,000 students in 47 states and 34 countries. Thanks to Wendy Amato; Marcel Monnar; and Donna Richardson, team Lead Evaluator, for their collegial collaboration and to everyone at VHS for their gracious hospitality and openness through the process!

Here's hoping for some relief up there from the incredible winter they have experienced. It was 15 degrees Fahrenheit our last morning, and though streets are clear there's still plenty of snow on the ground, up to 4 or 5 feet in places.

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