NEASC Visits Milton
by The Milton Measure on Friday, October 28th, 2011
This past week, Milton ended its year long accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), an organization that accredits public and private institutions in New England.
Molly King, head of Greenwich Academy, and a team of educators visited Milton this past Monday and Tuesday in order to finalize the long accreditation process. Her visit is the final step in a process that the entire faculty, led by Head of School Mr. Bland, contributed to.
According to their website, NEASC “provides accreditation services for more than 2000 public and private institutions in the six state region – Pre-K through university.” Milton Academy falls under the jurisdiction of one of the six commissions within the organization: the Commission on Independent Schools (CIS). The purpose of this decennial visit to Milton Academy is to confirm that the school meets NEASC’s standards.
While pursuing accreditation remains voluntary to achieve a certain level of validity, most schools, including those funded by the government, undergo an accreditation process. NEASC plays a vital role in Milton’s stature as a premier independent school in the New England region.
Many students remain unaware of the expansive evaluation process that the school has undergone.
Geoff Owens (III) said, “Very few students actually knew about this process, myself included. Considering we haven’t been involved much, we haven’t been affected by it.” While this understanding of Milton’s accreditation process remains widespread throughout the student body, the truth is that without the accreditation of NEASC, Milton life would be ultimately very different.
Without the approval of organizations such as NEASC or AISNE, schools such as Milton could never compete at the education level that they currently do. Milton is only as good as the students that constitute it, and without accreditation, Milton would attract the interest of fewer students. As a New England preparatory school, Milton’s ability to attract students largely depends on its good reputation, for which this process is a make or break.
The evaluation process is expansive and intensive, covering everything from academics to on-campus boarding life. These individual parts, evaluated by Milton Academy subcommittees, form a large report submitted by the school itself. In this sense, the first parts of the evaluation process are largely self-evaluation.
The opinions of a majority of the student body demonstrate an obvious lack of knowledge about the accreditation process, but these opinions are not unwarranted. The role of students in Milton’s accreditation is just that: to be students. Faculty members, however, each had a role in a committee, submitting a report to Mr. Hansen and Ms. Demas, a middle school teacher who left Milton this past summer. Their roles as heads of the process were to summarize the findings of the faculty members and present this information in a document to the NEASC.
History teacher Mrs. Vivian Wuwong, discussed her role as a part of “Faculty Voice,” a committee headed by sixth grade science teacher Mr. Simonson and history teacher Mr. Emmott.
While talking about her role within the committee, she mentioned that, ” [she] felt like it was a much more open process this time around.” Ms. Wuwong acknowledges that while the report is written mostly to show the excellence of the school, the report also included areas in which the school could improve, a section that might not have been reported on as fully in previous reports.
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