Middle States accreditation in the works: Committee working to meet the standards of the Middle States Commission

Tessa Peierls, Assistant News Editor

Schreiber is currently working to earn recognition for academic excellence and school strength through the Mid-Atlantic Region Commission.  Also known as the Middle States Commission, this organization is designed to recognize schools that exhibit a strong education system that promotes diversity, and to encourage the growth of schools.  Membership is completely voluntary, and involves a thorough examination of the school as a whole.

Social studies teacher Ms. Alicia Cotter, a member of the committee who is working towards certification, described the purpose of pursuing this recognition.

“The goal of Middle States accreditation is to be recognized by an outside evaluating team for the strength of our academic and social community, and all of which it entails,” said Ms. Cotter.

In order to be recognized, Schreiber has to demonstrate a connection to its history, and to the history of the town. Assistant Principal Ms. Julie Torres, a committee leader, gave details on this part of the process.

“We put together a small group to look at the history of Port Washington, and how it fits into the context of the school,” said Ms. Torres.  “The focus of this is not just the town, but how the history of the town shapes what we look like.

Gym teacher Mr. James Fallon, a member of the subcommittee, discussed the focus of the short paper written on Port Washington and Schreiber.

“We focused mostly on the population explosion and the development of the school system, and how we came to be Schreiber high school,” said Mr. Fallon.

The committee that is working towards accreditation is composed of administrators, teachers, and students.  The group will meet on a monthly basis in order to prepare for the eventual visit from an evaluation team.

“When you walk into a school, there is a culture, an atmosphere that you feel right away,” said Principal Mr. Ira Pernick.  “Some schools I’ve been to feel heavy, and there’s something off about them.  Most visitors immediately notice how compassionate the environment here is.”

One goal of the committee is to create a mission statement for the school.  The Middle States Commission states on their webpage that one of the core values is “Respect for the unique mission of each institution and evaluation within that context.”  Ms. Torres discussed the process that is currently underway, that involves a collaboration of students and teachers inside and outside of the committee.

“We got together a small subcommittee to get started on the mission statement, and have since discussed with different groups, and at a full faculty meeting,” said Ms. Torres.

The committee plans to address several issues in the school. Many bulletin boards are left empty, and few faculty members regularly update the school website.  Mr. Pernick addressed the concern that these school issues will be hastily covered up when the team visits.

“I don’t think preparing for this visit is trying to spackle the holes, trying to hide who we are,” said Mr. Pernick. “We shouldn’t try and rush to hide these things, we should own these flaws and address them.”

The evaluation team will be visiting in the fall of 2015, so the changes and additions required by the Middle States Commission must be completed by that time.