This result is even more compelling as this was the school’s first accreditation review. These results affirm, as the authors of the report note, “the heavy lifting, hard work, and persistent effort” of our teachers and staff over the past 14 years.
CAIS is a national organization committed to excellence and school improvement. Every seven years, all schools who are members of the organization must undergo the accreditation review. This review is conducted by educators from other CAIS schools who spend four days on site meeting with staff, students, parents, Board members and alumni. Prior to the review, the school takes several months to prepare an internal report, which summarizes how the school addresses the eleven review standards that CAIS considers essential in an excellent school. Aside from the academic and co-curricular programs, which form the two most detailed standards, some of the other CAIS standards pertain to governance, school leadership and admissions procedures.
Greenwood’s accreditation report was prepared by a visiting team of seven seasoned educators, two of whom are members of the CAIS Board of Directors. The team was impressed with the school’s tone and culture and characterized the Greenwood community as “something special.” Overall, we received many commendations (areas where the school surpasses CAIS standards) and far fewer recommendations (areas where the school can improve). Prominent within the commendations were our alignment with the school’s mission, vision and values, our leading-edge work in personalized learning, the willingness to respond to input from all stakeholders and our forward-thinking approach to the ongoing growth of our teachers.
The visiting team’s report provided a number of useful recommendations as to how we can continue to refine our delivery of personalized learning. As the authors note, “Greenwood [has] a genuine opportunity to be a leader in personalized learning.” Other recommendations focused on improving environmental awareness within the school and ensuring that all of our processes have the appropriate documentation.
The school’s Board of Directors will use some of the big-picture findings of the report as part of their ongoing work on the school’s next strategic plan. Internally, we will use this report as part of our planning and goal-setting for next year, as committing to ongoing improvement is a big part of Greenwood’s success.
I would like to thank our Senior Leadership team for their work in preparing the internal report and their commitment to the work that has led to these great results. In particular, I would like to recognize Edwin Bryson for his management of the accreditation visit and internal review.