Report recommends accreditation for Cazenovia High School

— Cazenovia High School is one step closer to renewing its accreditation from the prestigious Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

District and school administrators recently received a detailed, 100-page report from the association, which was prepared after the high school underwent a rigorous, four-day, on-site review in March by a “validation team” of peers from other accredited institutions.

The site visit followed a nearly two-year period of intense self-scrutiny at the school that began in 2011 with a comprehensive survey and continued with the formation of committees, goals and action plans.

In the report, the visiting team recommends accreditation for Cazenovia High School. An official decision from Middle States is expected by the end of the school year, according to teachers Eric Jerabek and Robin Costello, who volunteered to coordinate the school’s application for re-accreditation.

Cazenovia High School’s mission statement “is an elegant expression of the school’s commitment to change,” the report reads. “The Cazenovia Mission strikes at the very heart of the Plan’s purpose and design. One phrase resonates: ‘to become the best possible version of themselves.’ Every action in the Cazenovia (Excellence by Design) Plan is directed toward this.”

The application process requires schools to conduct a comprehensive self-study and evaluation, and then draft a series of detailed action plans for improvement that will be implemented over the course of the next seven years.

As the school’s “internal coordinators,” Costello and Jerabek led Cazenovia High School’s effort to develop 12 action plans (one for each Middle States standard) and form seven committees: public relations, school improvement, critical thinking and literacy, clubs and activities, eighth-grade mentoring, 12th grade exploration (new curriculum) and technology.

These committees will meet three times during the 2013-14 school year. By next June, 12 implementation teams will be formed, with each one’s mission tied to one of the dozen Middle States standards: philosophy/mission, governance and leadership, school improvement planning, finances, facilities, school climate and organization, health and safety, educational program, assessment and evidence of student learning, student services, student life and student activities and information resources and technology.

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