Accreditation doles kudos to Tiverton High, and a ‘to-do’ list

TIVERTON — Tiverton High School emerged from its once-a-decade accreditation evaluation with commendations for 29 of its programs and services, and the identification of five areas about which the accrediting organization wants more information by Oct. 1, 2013.

In addition, 14 areas were listed that the organization asked be responded to by the high school two years from now.

The accreditation results were reported to the Tiverton School Committee  recently.

“I am pleased with the report, since it highlights so many of things we do well at the high school. The report validates the various educational initiatives that we have implemented over the past few years. It also highlights all the hard work that our teachers and administrators do on a daily basis,” said School Superintendent William Rearick.

Every ten years Tiverton High School undergoes a complete accreditation evaluation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

It’s a two year process that involved a four-day visit last March by a team of 16 educators from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, said Principal Steven Fezette. While at the school, the visitors met with “everybody you can think of,” he said. They talked with faculty and staff, went to classes, conducted interviews, met and ate lunch with students, and reviewed programs and the curriculum.

In addition, the high school itself engaged in a self-study, Mr. Fezette said.

Among the 29 areas singled out for commendation, said a letter from NEASC, were the support given by the high school for a full-time curriculum coordinator, the after-school availability of teachers, “appropriate class sizes,” the guidance program, the breadth of course offerings, and “the strong business and post-secondary ties.”

By October 1, NEASC requested further information about how the school plans to address 21st century learning skills that go “beyond the use of technology,” “social and civic learning,” the adequacy of funding for professional development and technology, and the creation of a maintenance and equipment plan.

NEASC asked for a report two years from now on such matters as providing meeting time for teachers to discuss program and curricular development, student assessment, collaborative endeavors, and electronic resources.

The report also singled out the dividing curtain in the cafeteria as needing replacement.

Accreditation reports can have an impact on how colleges look at high schools. For example, Mr. Fezette said, college representatives can be assured about the quality of students’ preparation who graduate from accredited high schools.

“Students from accredited high schools do receive preferential treatments over those who come from unaccredited schools,” Mr. Rearick said.

“Having an accredited high school also improves property values,” he said. “I believe the report validates the goals and initiatives which the School Department has undertaken. Taxpayers are getting a lot of value for their money.”

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