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DoDDS SCHOOLS ACCREDITATION

By: Victoria L. Moore

Date Posted: 1998-05-24

Kubasaki High, Killin Elementary and Zukeran Elementary Schools located on Camp Smedley D. Butler recently underwent accreditation examination from the North Central Association Commission on Schools (NCA). The NCA is classified as a school accreditation and evaluation organization. It protects the public trust and is proactive in promoting a system of education that among other things enhances student learning, the love of learning and fosters healthy, creative, and innovative human beings. Most importantly it ensures successful schooling transitions for its learners through the provision of standards and evaluation services for schools. All overseas DoDDS schools are accredited by the NCA.

Two stateside NCA officials headed by team leader Larry Smiley, Associated Dean Extended Learning at Central Michigan University, and Kay Tenerio, Associate Director NCA of New Mexico, directed the team. The team was augmented by local school administrators and teaching professionals. The team was tasked with reviewing the School's Improvement Plans, annual reports, and validating compliance with NCA agency requirements for continued accreditation.

The team spent three days at each school observing instruction, talking to students, parents and teachers. In addition they reviewed instructional programs with published curriculum, met with stakeholder groups, conducted a formal in-briefing with camp command element, reviewed annual reports, and School Improvement Plans. In order to continue the membership of accreditation from the NCA, each school is responsible to pursue and attain the standard by meeting the membership criteria, the intent of the improvement criteria, and engaging in continuous school improvement by pursuing one of the accreditation endorsements.

The results of the NCA report are currently unofficial. Approval authority lies with the Executive Director of the NCA. After the report is approved it is published and sent to the Director of DODEA, Dr. Lillian Gonzalez, Pacific Area Superintendent, Dr. Nancy Bresell, District Superintendent, Dr. Steven Bloom, Camp Commander, and each school principal. According to District Superintendent, Dr. Steven Bloom, "The approval process will take four to six weeks." An out-briefing, held to cite the findings of the evaluation were also conducted to inform the community that included camp commander, parents, Parent Teachers Association (PTA), and School Advisory Committee (SAC). This report compiles data that reports achievements, accolades, and positive influences. It also cites limitations or negative feedback and recommended areas of improvement.

Speculation from various individuals that attended the out-brief stated that Kubasaki High School had failed the accreditation process. However the unofficial results of this evaluation according to Dr. Bloom are as follows:

Killin Elementary School Visiting Team Highlights

-School is responsive to needs of students and parents and exhibits a caring attitude; parents feel a sense of ownership; school exhibits attention to diversity and incorporates cultural issues into instruction and instructional materials; staff exemplifies professionalism

-Recommendations included increasing communication about school improvement processes

Zukeran Elementary School Visiting Team Highlights

-SIP is strong; collaboration in all aspects of school; positive school climate; good teaching throughout the school; very organized but flexible; support services provide for whole child; many extracurricular activities

-Recommendations included fuller utilization of technology in classrooms and expanded utilization of the EMC

Kubasaki High School Visiting Team Highlights

-Proud, solid, outstanding educators; good responsiveness from students; students are aware of teachers' objectives; school ground/facilities are clean; small classes enhance learning of students; open campus engenders trust; broad curriculum.

-Recommendations focused on school improvement and administrative processes related to the School Improvement Plan as well as the need for the school to address recommendations from the previous NCA visit. NCA will monitor the SIP process with a follow up visit during SY '98 - '99.

Along with citing schools' strengths, NCA Teams state recommendations, which serve as guidance for continuing school improvement. In some cases, an NCA Team will recommend a monitoring visit within one year to review progress and ensure successful implementation of the school improvement plan.

Dr. Bloom stated that, "All three schools received full accreditation from the NCA. The recommended improvement areas cited for Kubasaki High School are areas of concern. It will receive the full attention and support, including resources, guidance and staff development, of both the District and the Pacific Superintendent departments and staff. Last week a leadership team of faculty members was activated to address the recommended improvement areas for Kubasaki. They plan on taking advantage of the knowledge and skilled staff at Kubasaki to address the problems, develop sound solutions and correct any deficiencies." Bloom also told Japan Update that there is no question that Kubasaki will remedy the discrepancies by the next visit of the NCA, scheduled for next year. However, if the school did not meet the standards established by the NCA possible recommendations from the NCA could be, Accredited-Warned, when in the judgment of the Commission:

The school fails to meet one or more of the policies or criteria and the resulting deficiency seriously detracts from the quality of the school's educational program. It consistently fails to remove or make substantial progress towards removing all deficiencies noted the previous year. The period of warning is for one academic year. If by the next Annual Meeting the cause of the warning has not been corrected, the school will be dropped from membership in the Association.

Bloom also told Update that, "A school meeting for the parents will be held in the near future. We will inform the public about the outcome of the evaluation, discuss our plan to correct deficiencies, allow parents an open opportunity to ask questions and answer their concerns."

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