This past week Granby Memorial High School hosted its 10-year New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation visit. The high school staff did a terrific job preparing for this important school improvement visit.
The last accreditation visit occurred almost 10 years ago in 2007. The recommendations from that visitation resulted in improvements in the areas of curriculum, student programming, technology, and facility upgrades, such as, the new athletic fields and improved handicapped accessibility throughout the campus.
The NEASC team visited the school for four days (Sunday-Wednesday) to see it in action. The visiting team included trained and experienced educators from across New England. The purpose of the team’s visit was to assist the school by providing an objective and rigorous assessment of the school’s conclusions contained in its own two-year self-study report. During the four-day visit, team members visited classrooms, toured the facility, and talked with students, parents, members of the staff, administrators, and members of the Board of Education.
The school’s two-year self-study report includes the collection and analysis of data from the opinion surveys applied to all constituent groups in the school community and then generating a school profile. It also includes a review of its own operations and performance against the seven standards of accreditation: Core Values; Beliefs and Learning Expectations; Curriculum; Instruction; Assessment of and for Student Learning; School Culture and Leadership; School Resources for Learning and Community Resources for Learning. The school’s self-study identified strengths and needs in each of the standards.
In a few months, the visiting team will issue a report that will include commendations and recommendations providing guidance to the high school community on its next level of work over the next 10 years. Based upon the visiting team’s report, the NEASC Commission may award Accreditation, Continued Accreditation with Warning, Deferred Accreditation for some specified reason, or not award Accreditation. As part of the follow-up and accountability process, interim progress reports to the NEASC Commission are often required during the subsequent five years.
Back in the ‘90s, the high school was actually in danger of losing its accreditation, primarily due to an inadequate physical plant and support for annual school budgets. Since then, building projects, leadership and tremendous community support for education has resulted in one of best facilities and top-performing high schools in the state. The high school was ranked the 11th Best High School in Connecticut by U.S. News and World Report and ranked 9th out of 50 towns in Education by Hartford Magazine, 2017. Our graduates’ college placement and academic performance on the Advanced Placement exams and the SAT continue to be very impressive. The community is understandably proud and supportive of the high school staff and students. Annual family survey responses to the school’s climate, supportive environment and teaching and learning over the last several years reflect exemplary satisfaction rates.
The district looks forward to receiving the new accreditation report that will assist the high school with a blueprint for improvement and continued success over the next decade.