SRHS Presents at NEASC Conference

Last week, Assistant Principal Ann Hadwen and I had a unique opportunity to present at the 2012 Showcase of Model Programs Conference sponsored by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). NEASC is the organization that accredits public and private high schools all over New England and beyond. If you have been an active part of the Sanborn Regional High School community over the last ten years or more, you can understand what a dramatic turnaround it is for SRHS to be invited as one of only twelve schools to share their work at this conference. Just ten years ago, Sanborn would have been one of the last schools considered for this event.

NEASC updates the accreditation status for schools according to a ten year cycle. On their website, NEASC describes the accreditation process in this way:

“Accreditation of public secondary schools by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges indicates that the educational institution has conducted a self-evaluation of all of its programs and has hosted a visiting committee to evaluate the institution in terms of its own stated educational goals and the seven Standards for Accreditation of the Commission on Public Secondary Schools.

The Standards for Accreditation are a research-based set of practices and concepts that provides guidance to school personnel on all aspects of the education of the young people under their care.  The Standards which are considered to be living documents are reviewed and revised, as necessary, every five years.  The process of review includes surveys of all member schools, specific consideration of feedback provided by schools that have recently undergone an accreditation visit, an appraisal of recent, relevant educational literature, and in-depth discussions at the Commission level.  As needed, third parties, including consultants, are contracted to conduct relevant research to inform the revision of the Standards.  The Standards tend to be reflective of current trends in research on public education without espousing one particular mode of thought.”

At the last accreditation visit in 2005, NEASC officially put Sanborn Regional High School’s status on probation by citing significant concerns with the structures the school had in place to address the needs of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Back in 2005, you may remember, SRHS was one year away from moving into a new state-of-the art facility. After an almost complete turnover of school and district-level administrators, then Guidance Director Gail Sudduth took over the helm as Principal of SRHS - a role that she would continue in for the next five years. During her tenure, Gail Sudduth worked to address the nearly one hundred recommendations and action items that NEASC identified as areas of concern. She brought a sense of stability back to the school community, and a few years later, was able to successfully get the accreditation status of SRHS changed from “probationary” to “fully accredited”. This was a big deal at the time.

Gail Sudduth’s efforts paved the way for some of the current redesign initiatives that Sanborn has been able to engage in such as building small learning communities for staff and students, increasing student engagement with a comprehensive competency-based grading and reporting system, and working to identify and change structures in the school that will lead to a more positive school climate and culture.
At the showcase last week, Mrs. Hadwen and I had the opportunity to share this redesign work with hundreds of other schools that attended the event. Our message was very well received by those in attendance, and several schools have since inquired about setting up site visits in the near future at Sanborn to learn more about our model and how it can be adapted to meet their needs at their schools. This week, for example, we welcome both the Nashua Public School District and Newfound High School for site visits and interviews with Sanborn staff members.

If you are interested in viewing our presentation, please click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter to see our PowerPoint slides. There is also a YouTube link for a five minute video on the FLC that was written, produced, and edited by freshman students as part of the Modern Media class last spring. You can view that video by clicking above.


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