New Bedford High School has earned its reaccreditation in the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The reaccreditation process – a comprehensive examination and institutional self-study – began in March 2015 and included on-site evaluations by a 16-member team, classroom observations, student shadowing, facilities review, and in-depth meetings with teachers, students, parents, and administrators.
In a letter to Headmaster Bernadette Coelho dated October 25, 2017, NEASC Director, George H. Edwards, and Associate Director, Kathleen A. Montagano, noted “The Committee was impressed with many of the programs and services and wishes to commend the following:
– the involvement of significant numbers of representatives in an inclusive process to identify and commit to a set of core values and beliefs about learning, resulting in significant internalization, especially by faculty, students and other stakeholders
– the school’s creation and design of strong analytic rubrics which define targeted high levels of rigor and performance for the academic, civic, and social learning expectations
– the purposeful design of the curriculum which provides students with opportunities to practice and achieve the school’s learning expectations
– the significant progress shown to date for writing a curriculum in a common format that is uploaded to the Atlas digital platform and provides teachers with an opportunity to collaborate on shared learning experiences for students
– the provision of ample dedicated time, personnel, and financial resources for teachers to collaborate in the review of the curriculum including emphasis on using results and current research
– the progress made to date in aligning instructional practices with the school’s core values, beliefs, and 21st century learning expectations
– the introduction of evidence-based teaching and learning strategies to support students’ achievement of the school’s 21st century learning expectations
– the progress in identifying lead learners to serve as instructional models and leaders for their peers to ensure consistency with the school’s core values, beliefs, and 21st century learning expectations.”
Superintendent Dr. Pia Durkin noted “NEASC Accreditation is a leading indicator that New Bedford High School makes the grade for its commitment to academic excellence, while providing students with a safe, positive, respectful, and supportive school culture. This endorsement validates the ongoing work of the entire staff while recognizing their professionalism and dedication. Awarded by the foremost independent review body in K-12 education, this important credential should reinforce the public’s confidence in their high school as well as affirm New Bedford High School as the school of choice.”
Headmaster Bernadette Coelho said “We thank NEASC for guiding us through a vigorous and thorough examination of all aspects of school operations and the delivery of a quality education that equips our students for higher learning and work in the 21st century. We integrate the NEASC standards in all that we do at New Bedford High; fostering student responsibility for learning and results with high expectations for all.”
“NEASC accreditation is an important, third-party validation of New Bedford High School’s rapid progress,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “I commend the school’s staff and students, as well as the administration, for all of their hard work throughout the process.”
As stated on the NEASC website “Accreditation is an expression of confidence in the institution’s purposes, performances, human and financial resources” and “attests to substantial compliance with established qualitative standards, integrity in statements to the public describing the institution’s program, institutional commitment to improvement, and sufficiency of institutional resources. The goals are effectiveness, improvement and public assurance.”
Accreditation requires ongoing reporting to NEASC, including substantive two-year and five-year reports in a structured ten-year cycle of examination and peer-review.
NEASC institutional literature notes “Membership in and accreditation by the NEASC is similar to membership in professional organizations such as the American Bar Association and the American Medical Association. In each case, a commitment toward continual self-evaluation, a pledge to self-improvement, and a desire to maintain the Standards for Accreditation are necessary.”