NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

May 10, 2013

Amesbury High undergoes accreditation review

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — Accreditors from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges have spent the past four days sizing up Amesbury High School, and Superintendent Michele Robinson said yesterday that she’s confident they liked what they saw.

“The visit went very well,” Robinson said. “The students are an integral part of it, they created a wonderful presentation and they blew them away.”

The team of 16 accreditors has been at Amesbury High School since Sunday interviewing students, teachers and parents while getting a sense of the school’s culture and overall effectiveness.

Specifically, the team was looking to see how the school measured up to the organization’s seven core standards, which are core values, beliefs and learning expectations; curriculum; instruction; assessment of and for student learning; school culture and leadership; school resources for learning and community resources for learning.

Amesbury High School has always been accredited, but in order to keep that status the school has to participate in the NEASC’s 10-year accreditation cycle. That cycle includes a two-year check-in, a five-year check-in and then an exhaustive school-produced self-study.

The visit serves as a follow-up to that study, allowing the NEASC to validate the school’s findings and see things for itself. Robinson said the school has spent the past two years preparing for the visit and added that she was thrilled by the way the school stepped up.

“I can’t impress enough how much work goes into everything,” Robinson said. “From the parents to the teachers to the students, it was a tremendous show of support and something I think we can all be very proud of.

“Everybody is involved in it, students, parents, they speak to everybody,” Robinson said. “They like to have community members there, and everyone showed up in great support of this whole process, and it just went very well.”

Robinson said the schools will hear back from the NEASC within six months, but not likely until at least the fall. Although she is confident that the school will keep its accreditation, she expects there will likely be some areas where the school performed better than others.

“There are always things you can work to achieve excellence, so we look forward to the suggestions they give to us in terms of things we can continue to improve upon,” Robinson said. “It’s not just meeting those standards but also getting a clear direction and path that we can take to continue to improve the offerings in our school.”

In the meantime, school officials are happy with the way the visit went and thought it was worth all the effort.

“It’s a long, arduous process and when I’ve spoken to teachers, they’ve all said it’s worth it,” Robinson said. “They’re looking forward to getting the report back.”