NEASC Accreditation

Welcome to WA's Accreditation Headquarters!!!

Westford Academy is scheduled to welcome an accreditation Visiting Committee from October 18 through October 21, 2009 who represent the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC.) Westford Academy, over the past eighteen months, has been vigorously preparing for this very important visit. On this page, you can find all the information about the upcoming visit including what has been done so far to prepare, what is still on the "to do" list, how you can be involved, and up-to-date information about the logistics of the visit as we get closer.


Who Is NEASC Sending?

NEASC sends a team of educators who understand what it is like to work in schools. The Visiting Committee includes a Chairperson, an Assistant Chairperson, and fourteen educators (teachers, principals, superintendents, curriculum coordinators). The fourteen educators make up seven teams of two who are "charged" with evaluating the school on a particular standard. The Chair and Assistant Chair may participate in the development of these reports, but they also (and mainly) serve as the primary organizers, facilitators and consultants to the team as they investigate and conduct their work here at WA.

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NEASC and WA's Organization

Although accreditation with NEASC is voluntary, most public high schools are accredited through NEASC and go through this self-evaluation and self-reflection process formerly every ten years. You can access information about NEASC by visiting their website. For schools being re-accredited before 2010, NEASC has delineated seven Standards for Accreditation which articulate seventy-two "indicators" to which schools must adhere. Those Standards are:

  • Mission and Expectations for Student Learning
  • Leadership and Organization
  • Curriculum
  • Instruction
  • Assessment
  • Community Resources for Student Learning
  • School Resources for Student Learning

Westford Academy faculty divided into seven teams (which also included student and parent representation) to write reports which address these standards. As well, there is a Steering Committee which is coordinating the effort including the logistics of the visit next October. See below for a link which will display these Committee Assignments (2).

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A Brief History of WA's Work-to-Date

The committee which began its work first is the "Mission and Expectations for Student Learning" Committee which developed a Mission Statement which was unanimously adopted by the faculty on March 3, 2008. As well, they articulated "Academic, Social and Civic Expectations for Student Learning" which were also unanimously approved by the faculty. Click the link below to see this entire Missions and Expectations document (3). This committee also worked to develop rubrics for each Academic Expectation while the Leadership Team at WA worked to develop a system for reporting progress towards the Civic and Social Expectations.

Each Standard Committee was charged with writing a report to address the particular "indicators" described therein. Each report contains an Executive Summary, a series of paragraphs which address each Indicator, and a Statement of Strengths and Weaknesses. On January 5, 2009, each Committee unanimously voted to approve their reports. The following schedule represents the dates and status of the faculty-wide votes. Once approved the faculty, the report is ready to be part of all the documentation that is gathered in preparation of the arrival of the NEASC Visiting Team.

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Voting Schedule for Entire Faculty

DateStandard ReportApprovedNot-Approved
January 28

Community Resources

School Resources

  
February

Assessment

Instruction

  
March

Curriculum

Leadership

  
AprilMission and Expectations  

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What Lies Ahead?

It takes a tremendous community effort to prepare for this visit. After all, it happens once every ten years. The WA faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to prepare and have given up other school-based professional development time to meet cross-discipline to collaboratively prepare these reports. The reports that have been written are incredibly thorough and comprehensive and reflect the professionalism and dedication that we already know our faculty exhibit every day. It's what makes Westford Academy such a great academic institution. As the seven reports get voted in by the faculty this winter and spring, a major hurdle will be accomplished.

There is still a great deal to do to prepare for the visit, but the Steering Committee will be coordinating these requirements. There is extensive documentation that is gathered, including samples of student work (student names are removed), internal policies and procedures as mentioned in the seven reports themselves.

When the Visiting Team, arrives, they will conduct interviews with members of the school and community. We will be selecting teachers to be individually interview, and the members of the visiting team also shadow some students through some of their school day. Later in the spring, we will publish announcements about the need for student shadows.

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