The Canadian Accredited Independent Schools www.cais.ca includes 90 schools across Canada who meet National Standards and are committed to ongoing research and professional development. Each member school goes through an accreditation process every 7 years. An important part of this process is to complete an in-depth internal evaluation comprised of 12 standards ensuring effective practices in the following areas: School Vision, Co-curricular Program, Academics, School Leadership, Human Resources, School and Community, Admissions, Governance, Finance, Plant and Property Management, School Improvement and, if appropriate, Residential Life. This internal evaluation is completed the year before an accreditation visit when team members with varied expertise from across the country spend four days at a school meeting the community, observing day-to-day school operations and curriculum delivery and reviewing procedures to ensure that the school is really doing what they say they are.
As you might imagine, a school’s preparation of the internal evaluation and for the accreditation team’s visit is a big undertaking. Just as we impress upon our students the importance of an open mind and a commitment to improvement and growth to optimize learning, we must take our own advice and take this same approach to school improvement.
Over the past year, St. Clement’s School has been working on our own internal evaluation in preparation for an accreditation visit that will be taking place from January 27-30, 2013. As we began the process we discussed the need to be honest and open about both the areas in which we shine and the areas in which we have identified the need for growth.
I believe that if we expect our girls to be able to self-assess and respond openly to constructive feedback, then we as an institution, and we as a staff as role models, must also embrace reflection and self assessment.