Middle States Accreditation Process
Since September 2012, the administration, faculty, staff, students and a group of stakeholders of Berks Catholic High School have been preparing for accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The Middle States organization is an independent evaluator designed to assist schools in their journey for continuous improvement. The process is called the Middle States Accreditation for Growth (AFG).
AFG is a method used by numerous schools to improve student and organizational performance through the protocol for accreditation. Accreditation provides a systematic process that requires BCHS to question why it exists, to establish a vision of its future and to determine specific objectives or steps for reaching that vision. This process will help establish priorities for improvement by using thorough data collection from a Middle States survey that was completed in January 2013, by the administration, faculty, staff, students and parents of Berks Catholic High School. All of these groups of people can be referred to as the stakeholders of BCHS.
The AFG process calls for BCHS to identify student performance objectives that require school-wide student improvement. BCHS has designated a Planning Team composed of the stakeholders. This Planning Team will work closely with the administration and faculty in conducting self-evaluations of student performance, facilities, educational programs, student activities, student services, learning media services, finance, school staff and administration utilizing criteria established by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The administration, faculty and Planning team have begun the AFG process by reviewing the Mission Statement and will continue the AFG process to assist in the development and implementation of action plans, which will direct the student body forward in a seven-year continuous improvement plan.
Why become accredited?
Accreditation is the affirmation that a school provides a quality of education that the stakeholders of BCHS have a right to expect and the education world endorses. Accreditation is a means of showing confidence in a school's performance. When a school is accredited, it certifies that the school has met the prescribed qualitative standards of the Middle States Association within the terms of the school's own Mission Statement and objectives. Accreditation of a secondary school is on an institutional basis. The whole school, not just one program such as the college preparatory courses, is covered by the accreditation.
What are accreditation standards?
Middle States representative members conduct periodic reviews of the standards to be used for all accredited members. These standards are not to be confused with learning, curriculum, or content standards established by the Allentown Diocese for the schools within its jurisdiction. All member institutions are required to conduct a self-evaluation of those standards as part of the accreditation process, and the standards are the lens through which accreditation decisions are made.
Foundational Standards: Standards addressing best practices in the components of a school that provide the foundations for quality in the education program, services, and results in terms of student learning.
Standard 1: Philosophy/Mission
Standard 2: Governance and Leadership
Standard 3: School Improvement Planning
Standard 4: Finances
Standard 5: Facilities
Standard 6: School Climate and Organization
Standard 7: Health and Safety
Standard 8: Educational Program
Standard 9: Assessment and Evidence of Student Learning
Standard 10: Student Services
Standard 11: Student Life and Student Services
Standard 12: Information Resources and Technology
Berks Catholic High School is in the final stages of preparing for The Middle States Accreditation for Growth process. The Middle States Visiting Team will be at Berks Catholic High School March 18 to 21, 2014. The Internal Coordinators, Planning Team, Administration, Faculty and Staff have been working diligently to prepare for this visit.