Lincoln Academy has started the process to retain its New England Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation, something the Newcastle town academy must complete every 10 years in order to receive state and local funding.
Head of School Jeff Burroughs discussed the process during a town hall meeting that coincided with the school’s academic open house on Wednesday, Sept. 20.
“This is a pretty powerful … important process in the life of the school to define who we are,” Burroughs said.
The process of New England Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation is a cycle that consists of four parts – self-reflection, peer review, follow-up, and ongoing partnership and support.
The first part of the process will consist of a self-study conducted by LA faculty, staff, and community members about how the school is meeting the applicable New England Association of Schools and Colleges standards.
Foundation standards have to do with “the nuts and bolts” that make up the school, Burroughs said, including an institution’s finances, governances, certifications, enrollment processes, and more.
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges has six foundation standards, five of which apply to Lincoln Academy, Burroughs said.
The program standards addresses how the institution meets its mission and commitments, and studies curriculum, residential life, student support, professional development, community engagement, and more.
There are seven program standards for the association’s accreditation, six of which apply to Lincoln Academy.
The independent town academy must also meet a strategic planning standard, demonstrating a commitment to long-term viability.
Bryan Manahan, chair of the English department, and Prema Long, a member of the science faculty, serve as the self-study co-chairs. LA faculty, staff, and board of trustees members have been split into committees, each tasked with evaluating the school on one of the applicable standards.
Once the committees complete the evaluations, the findings will be complied into a formal report, which will be published on the school’s website, Burroughs said.
As the committees progress through the school year, students, parents, and community members will have the opportunity to provide input on the self-study through targeted surveys.
After the self-study is complete, a team of educators will visit the school twice for the peer review portion of the accreditation cycle. The April 23, 2024 visit will be for the review and assessment of the foundation standards self-study. From Sept. 29 to Oct. 2, 2024, the visiting educators will review the program standards self-study.
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges will then write a final report, which would include major recommendations and commendations, for Lincoln Academy about its accreditation. Previous recommendations the school has implemented include governance recommendations for the board of trustees as well as the creation of the director of curriculum and instruction position.
The school will submit a two-year and five-year report about how it is implementing the association’s recommendations to maintain its accreditation.
“This is the document that will guide our school over the next 10 years,” Burroughs said.
Ongoing updates will be posted at lincolnacademy.org.