In a day in which schools are increasingly held accountable for the quality of their efforts, the process of accreditation can be the most significant turn we can take on our journey to self-assessment and improvement. Gaining accreditation status through a nationally recognized agency is a symbol of quality in education. Recently, BCCS was accepted as a candidate for accreditation status through Christian Schools International (CSI) and Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSASC).
The first step is a year-long self-study and appraisal of the school’s offerings, organization, facilities, and materials of instruction. Through the self-study, we will discover what is needed to fulfill the promises offered by our philosophy and mission statement. We will also acquire the self-knowledge necessary to plan with confidence.
It is important to us that we not only seek and implement the best possible practices in schooling and operations, but to invite external witnesses to affirm or accredit our work.
In the second step of school accreditation, BCCS will invite a team of external witnesses from CSI and MSASC who will verify the findings of the self-study and acknowledge BCCS’ credibility to the community and beyond. The concept of an external witness is set forth in the Bible on many occasions, but most strikingly in Peter’s proclamation to the crowds in Jerusalem about the person of Jesus Christ: “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs…” Acts 2:22.
Once accreditation is granted we will not rest! The most important outcome of the process is the school-wide development of a five-year improvement plan that addresses the areas we think need our greatest focus and energy. A five-year cycle of continuous improvement allows for re-evaluation at periodic intervals, and re-accreditation in the fifth year in order to provide assurance of our continued improvement.
The rigor of the accreditation process through CSI and MSASC involves the entire BCCS school community. Every stakeholder group will bring their perspective to the process. This is what makes it so exciting, from my perspective. The wisdom and wishes of alumni, parents, faculty, students, administration, Board of Directors and school supporters will frame our self-evaluation and kindle the plans for the future of BCCS.