Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Burlington High School NEASC Accreditation Update

A team of Burlington High School administration and staff submitted our candidacy information to NEASC this summer. This information was a ‘current status’ answering where BHS stands in relation to the NEASC standards. In other words, it was a summary of where we are strong and doing well and also where we believe we have areas for improvement.

In addition to this information, we submitted a request to be reinstated to our previous position of being a NEASC accredited high school. We felt strongly that a reinstatement would be best shift the conversation to focus on the high school’s strengths and continuous improvement.  Moreover, this position would allow the school the space and flexibility needed to go through an updated process at an appropriate and useful pace.

In order for the Commission to consider reinstatement we had to demonstrate that the high school has continued to make progress.  We detailed that since our last visit, we have acted and followed through on many of the 2004 visiting team’s recommendations, many more of our own initiatives, and all necessary Massachusetts DESE mandates. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Our transition to a 1:1 high school
  • Elevator project making our building fully accessible
  • Increased visitor and accessible parking
  • Increased interdisciplinary courses
  • Enhanced our new teacher mentoring program
  • Created a student mentoring program
  • Ensured that peers do not evaluate each other
  • Increased dual enrollment and virtual learning opportunities for students
  • Implementation of the new teacher evaluation system
  • 2015 DESE Coordinated Program Review
  • Creation of a school-wide program designed to promote student support, student leadership and overall wellness

In addition, our reasoning outlined that Burlington High School is committed to reengage with the NEASC process and that we have many critical strengths that tie directly into NEASC’s core standards.

  • Teaching staff who are committed to inclusiveness, lifelong learning, and going the extra mile, sharing their personal time and resources to support student learning and development.
  • 21st century teaching and learning opportunities which are enhanced by our school’s transition to a 1:1 environment.
  • Rotating schedule with fixed 75-minute daily long period.
  • A varied curriculum that challenges our most advanced students and supports our students who struggle academically.
  • Programming that addresses and supports students with social, emotional and behavioral issues.
  • Continued staff development to support lifelong learning and solid teaching practices.
  • Development of student leadership and student-to-student support initiatives.
  • Community support to assist with funding teacher and student activities not currently supported by the budget.

NEASC’s Commission for Public Secondary Schools met last week and after reviewing our information, made a decision regarding Burlington High School. NEASC will send a small team to conduct a Committee Directed Visit in September. This visit will ensure that there is quality and integrity with their justification for our reinstatement and will verify the information that we submitted as part of our information for candidacy. The Committee Team will report back to the Commission at their October meeting.  At that time, providing the high school gets a positive report, the Commission will vote to reinstate Burlington to our prior status as a NEASC accredited high school.

As part of our continuous school improvement effort, Burlington High School looks forward to actively engage in piloting the updated decennial accreditation process.  We will continue to provide updates as the dates for our next self-study become final.

If anyone has any questions or concerns regarding our current status or future plans with NEASC please contact the high school.

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