By: Kris Schneider
As the 2013-2014 school year begins, students are scrambling to adjust to new classes and teachers, while administrators and district officials are preparing to welcome representatives from the Middle States Association, a non-profit organization which accredits public and private schools in the United States. Although JCHS is already accredited, it is crucial to seek renewal. The school website states that, “JCHS wishes to maintain its status as a Middle States accredited high school because accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools represents the gold standard in educational programming.” Students that graduate from Middle States Accredited schools are also statistically more likely to be accepted to a college than a student from a non-accredited school.
There are twelve standards set by the Middle States Association for schools to meet or exceed. They are: Philosophy/Mission, Governance and Leadership, School Improvement Planning, Finances, Facilities, School Climate and Organization, Health and Safety, Educational Program, Assessment and Evidence of Student Learning, Student Services, Student Life and Student Activities, and Information Resources and Technology. The Middle States visiting team, which will be at JCHS from Monday, October 21 through Thursday, October 24, will examine our school and its programs and environment to determine whether or not JCHS meets the obligations of an accredited school.
On these dates, representatives from Middle States will be present in the school, and will examine and observe key parts of JCHS, especially areas that make our school “unique.” The representatives will also look for growth from the last time JCHS was accredited, which was ten years ago. You may be asked to participate in an interview about your experience as a student by one of these representatives as well. There is a team devoted to preparing the school for the Middle States visit, which is composed of district and school administrators, teachers, and two students of JCHS: one junior and one senior. On the school district website, JCHS has provided the community with crucial information about the school, mostly information that Middle States takes into account when determining our accreditation status. This includes a school mission statement, as well a “Profile of a JCHS Graduate,” which outlines the skills and abilities that a student should be able to demonstrate at the time of high school graduation. All of this information is available for public access on the JCHS website, http://www.cwcboe.org/jchs.