The schools in the Catholic school system in the diocese of Syracuse recently celebrated a commencement that recognized the achievements of the member schools and focused on the future of the schools: receiving initial recommendation for accreditation by the Middle States Association. Accreditation is an “external, objective validation of school quality and student achievement that fosters continuous school improvement,” according to the organization.

Each of the schools, as well as the system, completed self-studies and developed action plans to meet objectives. A 14-member team of professional educators representing the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools — chaired by Dr. Hank Cram, president of the Middle States Association, and Accreditation Officer Dr. Angela Rufo — visited the schools and the Catholic Schools Office for a week in May. The team noted that, based on their observations during the visit, “The students in the Syracuse diocese (Catholic schools) are happy,” and that “They describe you (teachers) in ways that every teacher hopes they are perceived by their students.”

The recommendation of the team, as reported by Dr. Cram, is that the 22 component schools, as well as the system as a whole, be accredited by the Middle States Association. The Commission will take official accreditation action at their fall 2015 meeting.

The implementation of action plans will begin with the new school year. Our Catholic schools are poised to seize the opportunity to attain our missions of evangelization and excellence in education, recognizing the fact that excellence is attained not by chance, but by deliberate design.

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