The Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools last month accepted the midterm report for the system of 22 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Syracuse, confirming the system is continuing to meet the association’s expectations for accreditation.
Middle States is an independent, professional organization that accredits educational institutions, explained Dr. Barbara Messina, Director of Leadership Development & Mission Effectiveness in the Catholic Schools Office. The diocese’s 22 schools earned Middle States accreditation in 2015.
“Accreditation is a self-evaluation process that schools and school systems voluntarily use to demonstrate they are meeting a defined set of research-based performance standards,” according to the association’s website. The association’s 12 Standards for Accreditation are mission, governance and leadership, school improvement planning, finances, facilities, school organization and staff, health and safety, information resources, educational program, assessment and evidence of student learning, student services, and student life and activities.
Middle States Association Commissions recommended accreditation following a self-study by the schools and the school system and peer review visits, Dr. Messina said. The system is accredited for seven years and is required to submit a midterm report that shows evidence of the schools’ and the system’s continuous improvement according to the plans developed through the accreditation process, she said.
In accepting the midterm report, the association stated the report “shows evidence of faithful implementation of the strategic plan for growth and improvement” and noted the report’s highlighting of improved communication and collaboration among the schools and the Catholic Schools Office and the establishment of a standardized ELA curriculum.
Acceptance of the midterm report is “recognition by the Middle States Association that our schools are likely to continue to develop and grow in a culture of continuous improvement because we have a plan that is working” and “we are seeing results,” Dr. Messina said.