A report released by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) suggests that Manchester High School Central has much to be proud of, but there are opportunities to improve. The largest high school in the city received 48 commendations from the accrediting organization, along with 39 recommendations.
Last October, Central hosted a NEASC committee, made up of teachers, principals and central office personnel from other school districts across New England. During the four-day visit, committee members gathered data and observations that support Central’s work in achieving the seven teaching and learning standards as written by NEASC’s Commission on Public Secondary Schools (CPSS).
“Accreditation is a rigorous process,” said Manchester School District superintendent Debra Livingston. “It’s also an extremely helpful way of providing a comprehensive look at enhancing teaching and learning strategies.”
Among the dozens of accolades from the visiting committee was praise for “the incredibly creative and passionate staff members who do amazing things with limited resources.” The report recommends that teachers be provided with “adequate resources…to support the effective design and implementation of cross-disciplinary curriculum.”
The report also commended teachers for making themselves readily available before and after school more frequently than required, giving students extra help and allowing them to make up work. Teachers regularly provide specific and corrective feedback to give students the chance to revise and improve their work.
“There is no question about the dedication of the faculty at Central,” said interim principal John Rist. “They are committed to meeting the needs of every student.”
District and Central administrators acknowledge the areas in which the school can do better. The NEASC report includes recommendations to create uniform curriculum formats with instructional strategies; establish clear professional development plans; implement consistent teacher evaluation protocols; ensure analysis and response to student achievement levels; provide funding for school programs and services; and improve communication and engagement with families.
“Many of the recommendations have been completed or are in process, based on Central’s self-study during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years to prepare for the visiting committee’s evaluation,” said Dr. Livingston.
The CPSS now will use the committee’s findings to make a decision on re-accreditation this month. The four possible outcomes are re-accreditation, probation, warning or termination. The full report can be viewed below.