Westbrook High School is ready for its NEASC 2017 fall visit slated for October 15-17. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges is a regional accrediting association of high schools that uses a peer review model made up of educators from around New England. The accreditation process focuses on the evaluation and implementation of the seven standards which are divided into two categories: 1) Teaching and Learning Standards and 2) Support Standards. There are four Teaching and Learning Standards that affect student learning: Core Values, Beliefs, and Learning Expectations; Curriculum; Instruction; and Assessment. The Support Standards: School Culture and Leadership; School Resources; and Community Resources, support the Teaching and Learning Standards in addition to student learning. All seven standards and their indicators are measured and assessed to determine the level of achievement demonstrated in order to maximize student learning and continue school improvement.
In the spring of 2016, WHS completed the Endicott Survey that provided helpful information and data as a means to determine how well we understand our school’s Core Values, Beliefs, and 21st Century Learning Expectations and to what degree our school aligns with the NEASC standards. Students, teachers, and parents answered questions linked to the indicators within each of the seven standards providing valuable data allowing WHS to move forward in the Self Study process. The data was reviewed and assessed as a means to rate the progress and level of adherence for each indicator within the standard.
The WHS Faculty has collaboratively completed a revision of our Core Values, Beliefs as well as the revision of our 21st Century Learning Expectations to reflect what we value and believe is important for students to know and learn. We continue to use our school-wide rubrics which align with the new learning expectations and to provide consistent criteria for evaluating and assessing student work. Each content area has committed to implementing two school-wide rubrics.
Every faculty member was assigned to a Standards Committee and collected evidence and data to address each indicator within the seven standards. This information contributed to the completion of the Self Study. The Self Study engaged the entire community in structured analysis, self-reflection, and planning in response to the ratings of the standards and their indicators.
Faculty and staff collected student work as evidence of Teaching and Learning Standards 1-4: Core Values, Beliefs, and Learning Expectations; Curriculum; Instruction; and Assessment which will be presented to the Visiting Committee during their visit. The school-wide rubrics presently used will accompany student work to demonstrate and measure the quality of student work in relation to the standards mentioned. The student work will also reflect a step-by-step process for student reflection and improvement based on teacher feedback.
Although a challenging process, the WHS faculty and staff took on this educational endeavor with a commitment of fidelity and integrity. They continue to present school-wide data accurately as a means to verify and confirm effectiveness, public assurance and overall school improvement. WHS anticipates the decennial NEASC visit to be a positive and beneficial experience for all involved.