West students, faculty ready for accreditation interviews
The steering committee for the upcoming NEASC Accreditation visit at Cranston High School West met recently to discuss final details and preparations for the four-day visit.
As the steering committee met, individual teams of faculty and staff members were meeting concurrently to use their committee’s narrative report to double-check that evidence was filed for information written on each indicator. Each committee was responsible for one of the seven Teaching and Learning Standards (Mission and Expectations, Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment) or Support Standards (Leadership and Organization, School Resources for Learning, Community Resources for Learning).
“We are in the final stages now, and we are in good shape,” said Christine Baum, head of the steering committee, noting that the portal used for the visit had been updated and that much of the information that has been sent to the visiting team has been sent ahead of deadlines.
Final details were ironed out for overnight accommodations for the team, dining reservations, and parent and student interviews, panel presentations, and invitations to events.
Additionally, it was emphasized during the meeting discussion that those parents, teachers and students who would be chosen to be interviewed by the team would be fully representative of Cranston High School West. Teachers would represent each of the departments and students would be representatives from all educational paths and all levels, including special education, traditional education, career and technical education, local students, tuitioned students and transfer students.
“It will be a random sampling reflecting our whole school,” Baum said.
In addition to in-person interviews and shadowing students, the visiting team will be closely examining each of the narrative reports submitted, the evidence submitted to corroborate the statements and conclusions in those reports, and the two and five-year plans created by the staff as a result of their findings during the school’s self-study period.
Principal Tom Barbieri noted that the action items listed in the two and five-year plans were all critical needs based on those reports.
“That period of self-study led to a list of tasks for those two and five-year plans,” he said.
Baum said that the process is moving along as it should be, and the school is ready for the upcoming visit, now about a month away.
“I feel really good about where we are with this,” Baum said. “We have gotten a lot done and we've just got a little more to go.”
As the events of the weekend and their related details began to come together, Barbieri made it a point to emphasize the fact that much of what is being done for the visiting team is what is done at West for all special events.
“We are putting on somewhat of a ‘show’ for this,’” he said. “But, for the most part, there is nothing we are doing for this that we don’t do for our other West events, whether it’s for open house, honors night, or our art shows, this is what we do here, other than the couple of extra things we are doing for this visit.”
He also reminded the staff to stay positive.
“This is a long process, it’s been several years in the making,” he said. “There is a lot to be done in a few days time during that visit. We just need to stay focused.”
He credited his staff and particularly the committee heads and Baum all for their hard work.
“Christine has been great with this,” he said. “Everyone has worked so hard for a long time. The head of the visiting team has communicated to me that he has been very impressed with our school and the fact that for such a big school and such a large staff, we have had every staff member involved in some way, somehow.”
The visit is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 21 through Wednesday Oct. 24 and will kick off with a reception at the school on the first day. The community is welcome on Oct. 21 at 1:00 p.m. for the panel presentation in the Cranston West Alumni Auditorium.
For more information about the NEASC Accreditation process, visit the website: neasc.org.