By Cheryl Tutalo, Principal, Westport High School
For the last few years, all members of the Westport High School staff have participated in a self-study in preparation for the school’s decennial visit by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
Sixteen educators will make an on-site evaluation of the school from March 10-13. The visiting committee will be chaired by David Sweet, assistant principal of Scituate (RI) High School. Mr. Sweet has had extensive experience in NEASC’s evaluation process.
The purpose of the evaluation visit is to review and determine from an outside professional viewpoint the extent to which the school is meeting the Standards for Accreditation. As part of the evaluation, the visiting committee will meet with all school constituents, review the school’s self-study, visit a number of classrooms and examine samples of students work submitted by the school. During the comprehensive self-study, the faculty identified the school’s strengths and determined those areas which need more attention.
As part of the self study, all faculty members have served on one of the seven committees and drafted a report of their findings. Teachers have also shadowed students and have submitted a variety of student work samples as evidence. During the visit, each teacher will be interviewed by two members of the visiting committee about student work. The seven self-study committees will meet with representatives of the visiting committee to discuss their report.
The visit begins on Sunday, March 10, at 1 p.m. with a panel presentation about the school and the community. From Monday, March 11, through Wednesday, March 13, the visiting committee will be shadowing students and meeting with various members of the school including staff, students and parents. The information they collect will assist them in drafting their reports for the commission. The purpose of visiting the school is not to criticize but to assist the faculty in its pursuit of quality education for all students.
The school has already started to draft its blueprint for improvement by identifying its critical strengths and needs and preparing its two- and five-year targeted plans.
Additional information about the accreditation process is available on the NEASC website (www.neasc.org). The self-study reports can be viewed on the school’s website (www.westportschools.org).