Eastern Christian School is Accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
What is Accreditation? Accreditation is the act of granting credit or recognition that maintains suitable standards. Why do we pursue Accreditation? Accreditation is necessary to any person or institution in education that needs to prove that they meet a general standard of quality. When we claim that Eastern Christian School is an excellent school that embraces a culture of constant improvement, we want to be able to back that up. Middle States is a widely known and respected Accreditation body. When we say that we are accredited by Middle States, that recognition is significant. The Accreditation Team, made up of 27 EC parents, community members, board members, administration, teachers, and students meets over an 18 month period to pursue success across various standards of excellence.
In this blog series, we will regularly update the EC community on the results of the team’s findings. Based on community survey feedback, committee thinking and conversation, and prayer, we will delve deeply into these standards with the goal of improving in all areas, and ultimately pass the accreditation review in 2017 with flying colors! We are excited to share these results as a sign of transparency and as a welcome invite to the EC community for feedback on the various topics being discussed. Each Blog Post will be written by a different team member, and will answer three key questions: What did we study? What did we find? What do we hope to accomplish?
Here’s what we studied:
Our fifth team meeting brought with it a sense of accomplishment for all the work the accreditation planning committee has completed, as well as gravitas for the path that has been set before us. This particularly became evident with the two standards we studied during this session: Standard 8- Educational Program and Standard 9- Evidence of System Effectiveness. At the heart of our school association is the trust that our academic and religious standards best serve our whole community, which is reason enough to reevaluate and revise our current system.
Here’s what we found:
For this session we all focused the same two standards, 8 and 9 from above. We found that Eastern Christian has ways it already works effectively, and of course some ways in which it can and is improving. As a Christian school, it is encouraging to hear from several sides that faith integration is a priority. We will continue to strive to keep up with our mission to educate the “whole student”. In general, academic standards are kept high and collaboration and communication between parents, staff, and administration is strong. With the launch of BYOD at the high school in the fall of 2016, access to adequate resources is a “high traffic” topic. At all levels, this is perceived as a strength, as there are several options for all students.
In studying and interpreting results from the survey given last fall, we also gained insight into some ways in which we can continue to improve our school system. We found that while our standards for academics are high, there are several students and parents that are seeking our further expansion of course offerings, as well as more opportunities to participate in diverse activities . Along with the strength of communication we found, it would be useful to be able to also translate the expectations in the missions statement and graduate profile in student-friendly language. We also have found that an ongoing area of improvement is to align our assessments to the standards, course content, and overall mission of our school.
Here’s what we hope to accomplish:
We have a few focused areas that we centered on for further improvement at the moment. Many groups surfaced the same ideas, showing that there are some important paths to head down.
- Increased communication to all branches of the school, particularly to students as we ensure that they clearly understand the purpose of our school mission statement and graduate profile.
- Implementing new courses into the lineup for the 2016-2017 HS school year, as well as investigating the feasibility of additional courses within the constraints of block scheduling and state requirements,
- Ensuring that faith integration is evident and observable in every classroom.
We continue to press on toward the main goal of serving God in our work as the accreditation planning team, and every meeting find new successes and needs. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 has been at the forefront of many of our minds this semester as we “run the race” with the like-minded desire to not run aimlessly, but to look towards the finish line. We hope that each of you, our fellow runners, will continue to pray for us as we seek to serve and love our community as Christ did.
The EC Accreditation Team: Tina Bucci, Allison Dalessandro, Liesl Botbyl, Rebekah Sankey, Tom Dykhouse, Dick Van Yperen, Sandy Bottge, Daniel Lazor, Ruth Kuder, Debi Veenstra, Mary Faber, Beth Hoffman, Philip Verrengia, Paul Beverly, Kristen Rudd, Nick Kuiken, Steve Gorter, Rudi Gesch, K.C. Vande Streek, Doug Struyk, Emmanuella Pierre, Diana Ibrahim, Becky Parker, Melanie Castro-Bedoya, Scott Steenstra, Sung Namgung
The committee welcomes feedback from all EC Community members. If you have questions/comments, please contact Internal Coordinator Tina Bucci