Sterling Academy Blog

The Process of Preparing for an AdvancED Accreditation Visit

Posted by J Lee Harshbarger on Dec 23, 2011 7:18:00 PM

Learner Middle & High School is currently accredited by NALAS.  We are now working to become accredited by AdvancED. (The North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement [NCA CASI] and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement [SACS CASI] are accreditation divisions of AdvancED.)  This is a lengthy and thorough process.  This post describes some of the action steps we take to prepare for the accreditation visit.  The whole focus of the accreditation process is for a school staff to take a thorough, in-depth look at their school and make sure that all parts are operating well, and to constantly look for ways to improve.

Learner’s Self Study for Accreditation

Learner Middle & High School is advancing through the Self-Study process which will lead to accreditation through AdvancED.  We began the self-study in October and will continue to be in that process for the next 4 months.  The accreditation process focuses on our completion of a self-examination, and completion of a lengthy report on that self-exam.  Our self-study report will focus around the seven standards/components listed below.
AdvancED’s process has seven standards/components:
1. Vision and Purpose – The school reviews its vision and purpose systematically and revises them when appropriate.
2. Governance and Leadership – The school operates under the jurisdiction of a governing board that establishes policies and procedures that provide for the effective operation of the school.
3. Teaching and Learning – The school develops and implements curriculum based on clearly-defined expectations for student learning.  The school offers a curriculum that challenges each student to excel, reflects a commitment to equity, and demonstrates an appreciation of diversity.
4. Documenting and Using Results – The school enacts a comprehensive assessment system that monitors and documents performance and uses these results to improve student performance and school effectiveness.
5. Resources and Support Systems – The school has the resources and services necessary to support its vision and purpose and to ensure achievement for all students.
6. Stakeholder Communication and Relationships – The school fosters effective communications and relationships with and among its stakeholders.
7. Commitment to Continuous Improvement – The school establishes, implements, and monitors a continuous process of improvement that focuses on student performance.
Progress Report
1.  Learner Middle & High School has set up its visit by the accreditation team for the first week of April (subject to change due to it being Good Friday/Easter week).
2. We have established the Learner School Committee to help provide broad stakeholder input to the process, and act as a lead team.  This group has representatives of staff, students, and parents, and is chaired by the principal, J Lee Harshbarger.  Dr. James Leffler will also be assisting Learner as they complete the self-study.  (AdvancED Standards I, II, VI, VII)
3. We have examined Learner’s current Vision and Mission statements, and have updated those with input from parents, students, and staff, particularly from those on the Learner School Committee.  (AdvancED Standard I)
4. We have begun data collection:  We have sent out surveys inquiring about student achievement, staff opinions, student opinions, and parent opinions.  (AdvancED Standards III, IV, and VII)
5. We are conducting an alignment analysis of Learner curriculum with Florida’s Sunshine State Standards for student learning.
6. We are examining student achievement to help evaluate our program.
7. We have collected current resumes for all staff. (AdvancEd Standard V)
We plan to provide updates here periodically to keep everyone aware of Learner’s Self-Study progress and up-coming tasks.  If you would like to help with any of the tasks listed, please contact Mr. Harshbarger.  There will be opportunity to help with both short and long-term tasks.  We are particularly in need of student representatives for the Learner School Committee.
Thank You In Advance
The Self-Study is a comprehensive process to say the least.  While the Learner School Committee will be working with Mr. Harshbarger and Dr. Leffler to complete the tasks, they will need to call on all staff for feedback and information, as well as needing to get survey responses from students and parents for analytical data during the process.

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Topics: Accredited Online High School

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