What is NEASC and NEASC Accreditation?
RHS was just awarded continued accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges “NEASC,” a regional association of over 2,000 public and independent schools including our DRG-A cohort. The accreditation program for public schools involves a threefold process: the self-study conducted by the local professional staff, the on-site evaluation conducted by the committee's visiting team, and the follow-up program carried out by the school to implement the findings of its own self-study, the valid recommendations of the visiting team, and those identified by the committee in the follow-up process.
As part of the 10-year accreditation cycle, RHS successfully completed the NEASC Self-Study and Accreditation visit in fall 2019. In May, the district was notified that the Commission on Public Schools voted to award RHS continued accreditation in NEASC. The Visiting Team Report and recommendations are being considered by RHS and will be presented to the Board of Education.
Schools accredited by NEASC conform to a research-based set of practices and concepts that provide guidance to schools and an accountability framework. Accreditation signals a commitment by the school toward continual self-evaluation, a pledge to self-improvement and a desire to maintain the accreditation standards. Practices such as the eight-day rotational schedule and advisory arose out of the findings of the last accreditation process.
Students are at the center of the accreditation process. Schools are evaluated against their own stated educational goals and the NEASC standards for accreditation. In Ridgefield, the educational goals are strongly connected to the RPS Mission and Vision of the Graduate.
The NEASC standards for evaluation are: 1) Teaching and Learning Standards: Core Values, Beliefs and Learning Expectations; Curriculum; Instruction; Assessment of and for Student Learning. 2) Support of Teaching and Learning Standards: School Culture and Leadership; School Resources for Learning; Community Resources for Learning
Community members and taxpayers benefit as well. With an accredited school, taxpayers know that their taxes support a quality school with stated core values, beliefs about learning and student learning expectations that have been judged worthwhile by a visiting team of evaluators.
The self-study process included student, staff, and parent involvement in the accreditation committees.
BOE chair Margaret Stamatis