Middle States Accreditation at Howard University Middle School of Mathematics & Science
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.
Above information taken from the Middle States Commission website.
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.
A Report of the Visiting Team for Accreditation
by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools