James Caldwell High School has maintained a gold standard of educational accreditation for more than 50 years, and next week a commission will determine
whether the school still provides that high level of college and career
For four days next week, the Middle States Association of College and Schools will investigate every aspect of James Caldwell High School’s educational program and philosophy, and judge whether the high school can keep its coveted accreditation through the nonprofit organization.
Principal of the high school Kevin Barnes said the Middle States Association's accreditation is a gold standard and “ensures your students who graduate have a diploma worthy of the paper it’s written on." He was confident James Caldwell High School will maintain its accreditation.
“There is no doubt in my mind” James Caldwell High School will maintain its accreditation, said Barnes. “I think this is the best high school in America, and if we’re not accredited, than what hope does anyone else [have]?”
Since 1961, the high school has been accredited through the Middle States Association — recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as "reliable authority as to the quality of education,” according to its website — by meeting the organization’s rigorous educational standards.
Middle States Association's commissioners typically analyze a high school’s program every 10 years. Starting Monday and extending through Thursday, Oct. 24, a five-member commission will investigate James Caldwell High School’s entire educational program on 12 points, such as facilities, curriculum, school climate, technology, safety, student learning and student services.
In addition, the high school also must undergo a self-analysis for improving its educational program as part of the Middle States accreditation process. At the Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education meeting on Monday, high school English teacher Susan Callaghan called the analysis is "a kind of action plan" for how the high school can improve.
So for the last year and a half, parents, staff, students and administrators took surveys asking about the pros and cons of James Caldwell High School.
After analyzing the surveys, Callaghan said the high school determined it will focus on improving academic integrity, writing across the curriculum and technology. The high school has also come up with an action plan to address each of the three areas, which can be found on the district’s website.
“The result of those survey’s provided us with direction for the next 10 years,” said Barnes. “It’s a self-analysis … that will hold us in good standing and address our shortcomings over the next 10 years.”
James Caldwell High School will know in the coming months whether it
will keep its accreditation for another 10 years.