NEASC is over at Nashoba

Elizabeth Hagopian, Correspondent

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Everyone here at Nashoba Regional High School can finally breathe a big sigh of relief; the NEASC evaluation of the school is finally over.

But some of students may be wondering why we even had to go through this whole process in first place. Well, as their mission statement says, the whole point of NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) is, “to assess and promote the quality of education through the accreditation of its members.” Specifically, it allows the school to gauge where it is doing well, and where it needs to be improved. The third party, the visiting committee, gives a critical eye as well as assessing the improvements made by the school, or offering suggestions of their own. These visiting members are all teachers and administrators of other accredited schools.

Before the visiting committee came to Nashoba this week, the school has spent most of the last 5+ years working on an in-depth self-study of everything regarding the school. This study had to focus on everything from the core values, the curriculum (including assessments), instruction, school culture, school resources, and the community’s resources. The teachers of Nashoba were split on to different committees that each focused on a different aspect of the study. This was especially important because everything had to be up to the standards of accreditation, which were last updated by NEASC in 2011.

Some of the visiting committee members shadowed various students to get a feel for what it is like taking classes in assorted subjects at Nashoba.  Many were focused on specific areas such as instruction or school resources. Riley Davis, a senior, was shadowed and her visitor was focusing on all aspects of the curriculum.

“The person was wicked nice,” Riley said. She asked her about where she was going to college, and what classes and teachers she had that she liked or disliked. This gives the committee a better understanding about everything from class sizes to teachers who are doing a good job, to whether the curriculum is truly preparing students for the future.

Now that the NEASC evaluation is complete, the school can now focus on improving the areas of weakness noted by the visiting committee, including the structural and space issues. These improvements are necessary in order to maintain Nashoba’s accreditation and will aid in advancing the school’s ability to provide a quality 21st century education to all of its students.

So breathe everyone; we passed!