Berlin Metropolitan School - December 2015

Dear parents

For me the new semester at BMS will start from a different perspective. Next semester Ms. Jenny O'Fee will take over as Primary Principal. I will continue to lead BMS towards accreditation by the CIS & NEASC as Director of the Board.

The first event taking place in the process of accreditation will be the Preliminary Visit by two representatives of the accrediting agencies. Mr. Peter Gittins of the Council of International Schools and Mr. John Hughes, representing the New England Association of Schools & Colleges. This visit will take place from January 11th through to January 13th. The result we expect will be that CIS and NEASC will agree for BMS to start a self-study lasting from one and a half to two years. After the handing in of the Self-study Report a delegation of around 10 - 12 educational professionals will visit BMS in order to compare the school's self-study with the impressions they gained at the school. Soon after, we trust to be informed that BMS can call itself a CIS/NEASC accredited school. Below you will find more detailed information about this process in which parents clearly will play a role. A delegation of parents will be interviewed during the January visit and parents will be requested to sit on different Accreditation Working Teams after January 2016. Those parents who are interested to hear more about the process or would like to be considered for membership of such a committee can contact me.

Hubert Keulers

Director of the Board

The accreditation process

The main aim of this accreditation program is to provide an opportunity to improve the quality of the education offered at the school through a rigorous process of self-examination followed by an objective external appraisal by a team of peers, focusing on student learning and well being.

Introduction to Accreditation

The accreditation process has long been recognized in international school circles and in the United States and other countries as a highly effective means of initiating and maintaining school improvement and demonstrating adherence to a set of publicly stated standards. The information contained in this Overview is intended to clarify the various aspects of the accreditation process, its declared purpose, the procedures involved in the self-study and team visit components of the process, and the benefits that accreditation offers to a school.

Purpose of Accreditation

There are a number of benefits associated with the award of accreditation to a school, but the main aim of this evaluation program is to provide an opportunity to improve the quality of the education offered at the school through a rigorous process of self- examination followed by an objective external appraisal by a team of peers. The resulting Visiting Team Report and the independent actions of the accrediting association(s) attest to the quality of education at the evaluated school.

Criteria for Evaluation

Each school is evaluated against two basic 'benchmarks', these being:

1. The School's own Philosophy and Objectives

Each school is required to have a clear statement of Philosophy and Objectives and is evaluated in terms of how successful it is in meeting its own stated purposes.

2. The Standards for Accreditation

Each school is required to meet a set of written standards in each area of its operation. These common standards have been developed and endorsed by educational peers representing the accrediting organization(s).

The Standards are designed to reflect the characteristics of a high quality educational experience. However, they do not pre-suppose any specific model of excellence nor do they suggest comparing the characteristics of one school with those of another. The guiding principles of the accreditation program are that a school will be evaluated against prescribed standards but in terms of its own Philosophy and Objectives and that the school’s programs are appropriate to its unique demography.

Outline of the Accreditation Process

The process involves these five essential stages which are repeated on a routine ten-year cycle:

1. The Preliminary Visit

A school seeking accreditation for the first time hosts a Preliminary Visit, usually lasting four days (including a half-day workshop for faculty/staff) and normally involving two visitors.

2. The Self-Study

The Self-Study, lasting one to two years, is the most important part of the entire evaluation and accreditation process, both in the commitment of time and effort involved and in the value to be derived.

3. The Team Visit

Following the completion of the self-study, the school is visited by a team of suitably qualified administrators and teachers drawn from other schools that represent the accrediting association(s).

The primary function of the Visiting Team is to assist the school by providing an objective assessment of the conclusions of the self-study and by articulating specific recommendations for school improvement. The Team visits the school for approximately one week to see it in action. Team members visit classrooms and other work places, examine documentation compiled by the school, and they speak with students, parents, members of the staff and Governing Body. They examine all aspects of the school in the light of the self-study findings, the school's own Philosophy and Objectives, and the Standards for Accreditation.

4. Decisions on Accreditation

The respective committees of NEASC and CIS will review carefully the Visiting Team Report and consider the recommendations of the Visiting Team relative to possible accreditation of the school.

5. Subsequent Procedures

A number of follow-up procedures have been established, including:

a) The First Progress Report, prepared by the school at a date to be specified by the agencies (no later than 24 months from the Team Visit).

b) A Five Year Report that shows how the school has addressed the Visiting Team’s recommendations following its own Action Plans.