Middle States Accreditation
"Excellence by Design"
Frequently Asked Questions
The Commission on Secondary Schools is one of three Commissions that function within Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The others are the Commission on Higher Education and the Commission on Elementary Schools. The Commission on Secondary Schools serves both public and non-public schools in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. In addition, it accredits schools in the Caribbean as well as various locations around the world.
The Commission on Secondary Schools (CSS) was established in November 1920 to promote the improvement of secondary education and to secure better coordination and understanding between secondary schools and institutions of higher education. It serves public and non-public middle, intermediate, and/or secondary schools, non-degree granting vocational technical and postsecondary institutions, special purpose schools, supplementary education centers, and distance education institutions. These institutions may be ungraded or have designated grade levels, including a post-graduate level.
Institutions that serve students in a larger continuum (such as a K-12 school or district) can join the PK-12 department of the Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools.
Accreditation is the affirmation that a school provides a quality of education that the community has a right to expect and the education world endorses. Accreditation is a means of showing confidence in a school's performance. When the Commission on Secondary Schools accredits a school, it certifies that the school has met the prescribed qualitative standards of the Middle States Association within the terms of the school's own stated philosophy and objectives.
The chief purpose of the whole accreditation process is the improvement of education for youth by evaluating the degree to which a school has attained worthwhile outcomes set by its own staff and community. This is accomplished by periodically conducting a comprehensive self-evaluation of the total school. Through the accreditation process, the school seeks the validation of its self-evaluation by obtaining professional judgement from impartial outsiders on the effectiveness of the total school operation. The intent throughout the process is more than to focus on shortcomings; the chief goal is to seek remedies for inadequacies and to identify and nurture good practices.
• To build positive public relations
• Provide for public accountability
• To evaluate our school system using internationally recognized standards of excellence
• To determine the quality of our educational program
This is the protocol the Warren Hills district will be using for our method of strategic planning. It is a process of self study undertaken by the various stakeholders to find out where we are now, and where we want to go regarding student development and performance. The goal is to create and put into place an action plan that improves life at Warren Hills, increases overall student performance, and unifies the goals of both our middle school and our high school. At the end of this process, we will be one district, working toward produce EXCELLENT graduates.
Warren Hills decided to use Excellence by Design (EBD) because this protocol allows our district to unify our schools and look at the system as a whole. EBD provides the framework for formally aligning all the work of the school to ensure that all of its efforts are coordinated and focused on achieving the school’s mission. It is expected that this framework will accomplish the following purposes:
• Development of a sense of community and common purpose among the school’s students and staff, and its community of stakeholders.
• A Plan for Growth and Improvement in student performance and the school’s capacity to produce the levels of student performance expected by the school and its community of stakeholders.
• Greater cooperation between all of the school’s stakeholders in identifying and implementing practices that have been demonstrated to lead to excellence in student performance and the organization’s capacity to produce the desired levels of student performance.
Who is involved in the Accreditation process?
The accreditation process is designed to involve all the stakeholders in a school; administration, board members,
teachers, school personnel, community members, parents, and students. This will ensure that every voice is heard and will help our school improve.Why Not? Warren Hills has undergone a number of changes over the past few years and it is the perfect time to unite our staff, our students, and our community in an effort to work together towards making Warren Hills excellent. This is the ideal time for using the Excellence by Design protocol, because it can help the school to develop stability in its focus and direction in the midst of change. Many schools find it provides an appropriate process to ensure that the school maintains its focus on its Plan for Growth and Improvement in student performance and organizational capacity even as it experiences rapid changes in staff, students, and/or leadership.
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