In the latest development in what is proving to be a banner year for the Everett Public Schools, a globally-recognized and autonomous commission has continued the full accreditation of Everett High School.
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and its Committee on Public Secondary Schools has accepted the Five-Year Progress Report needed to secure continued accreditation, the latest benchmark in a 10-year cycle that began in 2011. The announcement, and a formal presentation, was made by Everett High School (EHS) Principal Erick Naumann at the May 16 School Committee meeting.
“Accreditation is a vital accomplishment,” said Superintendent of Schools Frederick F. Foresteire. “This designation is of paramount importance to our students as they apply to college or pursue any form of advanced study or training. It’s also a testament to the work being done by our teachers, department heads, and Mr. Naumann. ”
EHS received its full accreditation in 2011. Since then, the school has worked with NEASC to implement a Two-Year Report (in October of 2013) and a Five-Year-Year Report, which was submitted in March and approved in April. The NEASC Visiting Committee will return to EHS In 2021.
“The accreditation process has been positive and productive,” Superintendent Foresteire said. “NEASC sets high standards, and we’ve met them. Through our work with NEASC and the School Committee, we’ve made a series of improvements that have impacted every aspect of the high school community.”
In making its decision, the committee awarded EHS with 17 commendations, covering a variety of initiatives, programs, and improvements. Some of things singled out by NEASC include:
- The addition of academic directors in the fields of English, math, science, and social studies to the school’s leadership team.
- The creation of a STEAM Academy which provides students with a directed curriculum focusing on the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
- The use of professional learning communities for the evaluation and alignment of student learning goals, curriculum, and instruction.
- The successful implementation of professional development opportunities for educators, particularly in math and literacy.
- The inclusion of assessment practices that assess learning and collect data for the purpose of making improvements in the future.
- The utilization of the student council and parent council to review core values and learning expectations.
- The participation in the five-district partnership to mitigate gaps in achievement among the transient populations in Everett, Chelsea, Malden, Revere, and Winthrop.
Going forward, the NEASC recommends that EHS focus on “21st century learning expectations.” Specifically, it asks schools to “identify core values and beliefs about learning that function as explicit foundational commitments to students and the community … Core values and beliefs manifest themselves in research-based, school-wide 21st century learning expectations. Every component of the school is driven by the core values and beliefs and supports all students’ achievement of the school’s learning expectations.”
Everett High’s continued accreditation is the second significant achievement bestowed upon the Everett Public Schools during the 2015-16 school year. In December, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced that every school in Everett has achieved Level 1 or Level 2 status in the state’s five-tier academic rating system. EHS moved up, from Level 3 to Level 2, while both the Keverian and the Webster schools moved from Level 2 to Level 1. The Madeline English, Parlin, Lafayette, and Whittier are all Level 2 schools, making Everett one of three urban school districts in the Commonwealth where all schools are rated Level 1 or 2 (Cambridge and Revere are the others).
“The DESE ratings and the continued accreditation of the high school are the result of hard work and dedication,” said Superintendent Foresterie. “A district doesn’t earn these distinctions without addressing a host of factors and considerations. And at the center of it all are our students. Everything we do is geared toward improving student performance.”
Founded in 1885, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) has been working to establish and maintain high standards for all levels of education – from pre-kindergarten to the doctoral level – longer than any other accreditation agency in the United States.
NEASC’s Commission on Public Schools (CPS) assists member schools — through an ongoing cycle of reviews, planning and reporting — to ensure that all students experience a quality education. The Commission is comprised of 43 individuals representing our diverse membership from across New England including school and central office administrators, teachers, and members from the public sector. Using the Standards for Accreditation, the Commissioners review reports submitted by and about member schools, and provide commendations and recommendations specific to each school. This feedback serves as a roadmap for individualized and ongoing school improvement for student learning. In addition, Commissioners determine the accreditation status of each member school.