Eastern Christian School Association is entering a new accreditation cycle in the 2022-2023 school year. Although this year marks the 100th year of accreditation, the school is pursuing its first-ever dual accreditation cycle from Middle States and Christian Schools International.
The accreditation cycle is something that is very underground but is very important to the school. Mrs. Ruth Kuder, head of school, states, “accreditation is a self-evaluation process that schools voluntarily use to demonstrate they are meeting a defined set of research-based performance standards.” Accreditation basically is a process that a school will go through to make sure it is performing at its best. The first time EC was accredited was back in 1923, which was almost 100 years ago.
However, for the first time ever, EC is pursuing a dual accreditation cycle. Meaning it will submit to the standards of two organizations to ensure EC is performing at its highest quality. One being Middle States, which has been our accreditor in the past, and the other is Christian Schools International, which verifies to parents, teachers, and staff that a school is performing to its highest Christian standards. Mrs. Liesl Botbyl, veteran teacher and a member of the team, states, “if we claim that we are an excellent school, then we need to show that we are meeting all of the standards of what an excellent school is. If we say one thing in our mission statement, core values, and graduate profile but are doing another thing, we are not an excellent school and should not be getting the “stamp of approval” from anyone.” For this year there are several goals. Mrs. Botbyl emphasizes, “typically there are goals related to education and a goal that is determined by the Board of Directors. In the current cycle we are wrapping up in 2024, our focus has been on 1. Character 2. Global Competence and 3. Strategic Planning (Board goal related to finances, facilities, etc.).” These goals cannot be achieved without completing the process. EC has to send an application in, recruit “candidates”, submit to a visit from a regional coordinator will come to visit, and then conduct a training followed by surveys. To wrap it all up, educators will spend time at EC to give their final thoughts and approval. So how does this bring change? Mrs. Kuder says, “accreditation provides us with a regular opportunity to collect feedback from all of our community members and to use that feedback to create a thoughtful plan for the future. We want to strive for excellence in all of our endeavors and look forward to finding new ways in which we can do that.”
Mrs. Botbyl wants to remind us that “accreditation is not about a group of outsiders coming and telling us everything we are doing poorly. It’s about our peers from other Christian schools coming to gather as much information about our school community in a few short days and helping us celebrate the blessings of what is going well and to guide us in the next direction of what we can do to continue the excellent education we provide to our students. It should be our desire to become the best school we can!”