Improve on a Good Thing!
Based on feedback from member schools, ACSI has revamped our accreditation protocol, and REACH 2.1 is now available. (REACH stands for Reaching for Excellence through Accreditation and Continuous Improvement for Higher Achievement.) Also newly available is an ePlatform for both accreditation and reaccreditation. The self-study for the school and the team visit report can now be completed online.
We've also revised our reaccreditation protocol, Accreditation by School Progress (ASP), after working with several school leaders who provided significant feedback to make it more user friendly. ASP is for more mature schools that have achieved reaccreditation through REACH a few times and want to spend several years working on an improvement project, according to Dr. Erin Wilcox, ACSI's assistant vice president for academic services.
"I'm excited because I think ASP allows school leaders to work on something that helps advance the school in a way they've identified," Erin says. "REACH helps you check all the areas that you're supposed to be good in; ASP is for a school that wants to become exemplary in a certain area. We're letting them use the energy they put into reaccreditation to help in that process."
Mike Vonhof, head of school at Delmarva Christian Schools (Georgetown, Delaware), is finding that to be the case. His school started ASP two years ago with a project of developing a culture of calling.
"If students understand God's call on their lives, then they will be more focused in the classroom, more intentional about the courses they take and the colleges they apply to," Mike explains. "This will hopefully lead to students who are able to get into the Christian college of their choice and graduate, then go into their chosen vocation."
Since starting ASP the school has added a required "Life Calling" course for juniors, and all of the high school staff took the course so they can communicate a unified message about using gifts and talents to honor God. Mike hired a life calling counselor who meets with students and their parents to help students focus on developing their skills through their coursework and extracurricular activities.
"I'm glad this is part of our accreditation process because it is a big process," Mike says. "Accountability through accreditation is important because it does force us to follow through and report back on it."
Using ASP has helped the school accomplish its mission at a higher level.
"It's really caused us to look at our program as a whole and to think specifically about an area where we see a need for improvement," Mike says. "A lot of times in Christian education we go forward on feel rather than on data. It's helping us to utilize data to have a better understanding of how we're accomplishing our mission. The project is becoming a part of our culture."
Contact your ACSI regional office today to learn more about starting REACH 2.1 or ASP!