Middle States Accreditation at Archbishop Ryan High School
The Middle States Commission
on Secondary Schools (MSCESS), the premier American regional accreditation agency, is the leader in ensuring that all students in its region receive the highest quality of education and achieve at levels expected by society. Through its accreditation and school improvement services, MSCSS recognizes excellence in educational quality, planning, and growth in student performance and provides the means to meet rigorous standards of educational quality.
What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is the affirmation that a school provides a quality of education that the community has a right to expect and the education world endorses. Accreditation is a means of showing confidence in a school’s performance. When the Commission on Secondary Schools accredits a school, it certifies that the school has met the prescribed qualitative standards of the Middle States Association within the terms of the school’s own stated philosophy and objectives.
The chief purpose of the whole accreditation process is the improvement of education for youth by evaluating the degree to which a school has attained worthwhile outcomes set by its own staff and community. This is accomplished by periodically conducting a comprehensive self-evaluation of the total school. Through the accreditation process, the school seeks the validation of its self-evaluation by obtaining professional judgment from impartial outsiders on the effectiveness of the total school operation. The intent throughout the process is more than to focus on shortcomings; the chief goal is to seek remedies for inadequacies and to identify and nurture good practices.
Accreditation of a secondary school is on an institutional basis. It should be noted that the whole school, not just one program such as the college preparatory courses, is covered by the accreditation.The following are some of the many benefits of accreditation:
- Greater clarity of purpose
- Stronger internal relationships
- Wider professional participation
- More effective methods of planning for school improvement
- Improved consistency between educational purpose and practice
How Long Does Accreditation Last?
Typically, once accreditation is earned, it is renewed on a seven-year cycle that involves an intensive self-study process conducted by the school, an on-site three-day visit by a team of professional educators, and on-site mid-point reviews in the form of a one-day, one-person visit. In some cases, accreditation is granted for five years, but the protocol is actually a ten-year cycle of activities.
The Accreditation Process
Accreditation through the Middle States Commission of Secondary Schools (MCSS) is a process we voluntarily engage in every seven years. It requires us to take a step back, look at where we have been, where we are and where we wish to be as an organization.
The world is changing at a rapid rate – technological innovations, globalization, and the economic downturn are powerful forces that require us to challenge our practice in order to help today’s students meet tomorrow’s challenges. Middle States Accreditation is an opportunity for us to work collaboratively with school professionals, community members, parents, and students to reflect on our mission and vision, identify strengths and weaknesses, set meaningful and challenging goals, and generate plans to reach them. The end result of the process is a road map that will guide our work through the next decade.
Middle States Visitation
The Middle States Visitation team serves to validate the school's Evaluation and Vision of itself using the following 12 standards:
- Mission and Philosophy
- Governance and Leadership
- School Improvement Planning
- School Climate and Organization
- Health and Safety
- Educational Programs
- Assessment of Student Learning
- Student Services
- Student Life and Activities
- Information Resources and Technology
Middle States Self-Study and Action Plans for Improvements
The members of the planning team and administrative team conducted an in depth self-study with the use of the Middle States Commission of Secondary Schools (MSCSS) Excellence by Design protocol. The protocol provided guidance to team members in collecting essential data and information that was analyzed and used to produce objectives, measurable goals, and action plans for improvement.
Once data and information was collected, action planning teams were assembled. The action planning teams analyzed the data and information collected in the self-study and formulated improvement objectives, measurable goals, and action plans in the areas of Student Performance and Organizational Capacity.
The final summative work, including the self-study, improvement objectives, measurable goals and action plans, was then submitted to Middle States for review and approval. This work, in conjunction with a Middle States team visit, will be used to evaluate Archbishop Ryan High School for accreditation.
Click below to view the Archbishop Ryan Middle States Self-Study and Action Plans for Improvement: