Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Oct. 29, 2007

Representative for Accreditation for Growth visits today

by Lucas Alvarado-Farrar, Online Features Editor
As a preliminary step in the accreditation process by the Commission on Secondary Schools (CSS) of the Middle States Association (MSA) of Colleges and Schools, a representative from the CSS-MSA visited today to ensure that Blair is ready for reevaulation. The process, which runs on a seven-year cycle, will certify that Blair is meeting the 12 Standards for Accreditation used to judge if a school is giving students a quality education.
Blair's mission statement can be found underneath the mural of Montgomery Blair. Lucas Alvarado-Farrar
Blair's mission statement can be found underneath the mural of Montgomery Blair.

One month before evaluating a school, the CSS-MSA sends a delegate to check over the building, "so that when [the judges] come they can find parking spaces, easily talk to teachers and be used to the routines of the building," Assistant Principal Suzanne Harvey said. "This is to guarantee that everything goes smoothly when they come in December."

A panel of impartial observers will attend Blair in December to review the school's philosophy and mission, governance and leadership, school improvement planning, finances, facilities, school climate and organization, health and safety, education program, assessment and evidence of student learning, student services, student life and student activities and information resources and technology, according to Accreditation for Growth (AFG) Coordinator and Assistant Principal Myriam Rogers. These 12 standards are set by the CSS-MSA.

The panel will make an informal statement on Blair's accreditation status on Dec. 7 when it finishes the evaluation. A newsletter will inform the Blair community of the review's informal results.

The observers on the panel are teachers, counselors, administrators and other school officials from outside of Montgomery County. They have "no script they can go freely and talk to whoever they please," Rogers said. "Overall, they want to get a good feel for what's going on in the building."

According to the CCS-MSA, the Accreditation for Growth is "a unique accreditation process that uses strategic planning as a vehicle for school improvement and growth in student performance." Because the AFG was planned for this December, Blair formed a team of staff members, parents and students to prepare. During January 2007, the team revised the school belief statement, mission statement, objectives and profile of a Montgomery Blair High School graduate.

Under the revised AFG Blair objectives for student performance, the school lists seven major improvements by 2015. These include: 100 percent student proficiency or higher in the reading section of the Maryland State Assessment; an increase in African-American and Hispanic students enrolled in one or more honors or Advanced Placement courses; an increase in the number of students earning a score of 3 or better on Advanced Placement exams; a decrease in the number of students receiving out of school suspensions, improvement in the attendance rate; improvement in the graduation rate and an increase in the overall student climate as measured by the average score of the MCPS School Environment Survey.

Rogers believes Blair is currently meeting all its standards as outlined by CSS-MSA and has "no doubt" that Blair will pass the reevaluation. The standards are, "global for all school and students," she said. "You really need to meet all of these objectives to be a fully functioning institution."

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  • umm on October 30, 2007 at 4:06 PM
    how can you get above 100% of students reading profitiently.
  • :-) on November 1, 2007 at 5:16 PM
    What does students knowing the mission statement have to do with being a "fully functioning institution?"
  • constructive criticism on November 1, 2007 at 7:14 PM
    the photo seems stretched... a lot. But good article.
  • explanation on November 2, 2007 at 2:03 PM
    it's not over 100% of students, it's over the rating of "proficient". For example, this would be satisfied if 50 % of studetns were "proficient" and 50% are "good".
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