PHILADELPHIA — The Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools announced Nov. 10 that the Syracuse Diocesan Schools in Syracuse, N.Y., earned accreditation, the gold standard for measuring and evaluating school performance.
“The accreditation process examines schools and school systems in a holistic way, supplementing student testing data to provide a more complete measure of performance and chart a strategic and realistic course for continuous school improvement,” said Henry G. Cram, Ed.D., president of the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. “At the Middle States Association, we look at the whole school — not just test scores — because we realize that improving outcomes requires a comprehensive approach.”
Accreditation is a self-evaluationprocess that schools and school systems voluntarily use to demonstrate they are meeting a defined set of research-based performance standards. The 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.
The accreditation process begins with a self-study that is conducted by the school and school system and requires input from school leaders, teachers, parents and students.
Following the self-study, a team of volunteer educators from Association member schools conducts an on-site peer review visit to observe school operations and interview various stakeholders.
The visiting team makes its recommendation to the Middle States Association Commissions, which voted to accredit or reaccredit 211 schools and school systems in 18 states and Puerto Rico and 20 countries at its biannual meeting earlier this month.
“The Middle States accreditation process enabled each of our schools and the school system to identify strengths, assess areas in need of improvement and map out subsequent steps for enhancement and growth,” said Bishop Robert J. Cunningham. “We are pleased to have earned Middle States accreditation and to be recognized for our commitment to promoting academic excellence while developing a strong moral conscience and embracing Catholic principles to enable students to meet lifelong challenges and demands in our rapidly changing world.”
All 22 schools were accredited as a system.
To learn more about Catholic schools in the Diocese of Syracuse, visit syracusediocese.org/schools.