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Accreditation Why Do It? ELEA

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1 Accreditation Why Do It? ELEA
500 N. Estrella Parkway, Suite B2, Box 601 Goodyear, AZ (800) FAX: Web Site: Copyright 2011 ELEA Accreditation Why Do It? 

2 Why Accreditation? Schools pursue accreditation for a wide variety of reasons. Some use accreditation as a way of assuring parents, the community, and the congregation that the school is of high quality. As a result, it becomes a powerful tool for student recruitment. Other schools choose to begin the process as a way of addressing nagging concerns. For such schools, accreditation provides a systematic framework for school improvement. Generally, schools pursue accreditation for: Improvement of student learning A sharpened focus on your school’s ministry Self-evaluation based on your Lutheran school’s unique purposes and on national standards Public recognition of schools that complete the process successfully            Increased accountability to your community, constituents, and congregation Development of a school improvement plan Demonstration of quality as assessed by objective educational professionals not personally involved in the school. This is often a requirement of eligibility for numerous external grants.

3 Purposes This process focuses on student learning.
How is this process different from earlier accreditations? <<<<<<< Old: Improve Instruction New: Improve Learning >>>>>>>

4 Obstacles to Overcome Newton’s Three Laws of Accreditation
Law 1. Every educational center tends to maintain its existing state of motion. Translated: we don’t like to change. Law 2. F=ma Translated: The future is dependent on the mass of work it takes to accomplish accreditation. Law 3. For every action there is an equal and opposite action. Translated: What every good we try to do there will be an equal negative response. So why try? .

5 Reasons to Not Do Accreditation
The majority of Lutheran Schools and Early Childhood Centers are not accredited, why should we?

6 Reasons to Not Do Accreditation
This is a lot of hard work.

7 Reasons to Not Do Accreditation
It seems that most people are satisfied with OK, as long as it does not cost very much.

8 Reasons to Not Do Accreditation
We have enough to do and not enough time and resources as it is.

9 Reasons to Not Do Accreditation
This quality talk means that we never arrive. I want to get there and rest!

10 Even So, Our Children Deserve Better
We are called to be different, to nurture and develop Christ-centered citizens who dare to be different as servants and saints.

11 How to Begin 1. Preconditions Before school or centers are eligible to begin the accreditation process, the pre-conditions listed below must be met:  Membership in ELEA  Completion of the ELCA’s “Ministry of the Congregation” Recognition Program Policies requiring: portfolio-based evaluations for faculty and administration, training in child abuse issues, criminal background checks as a condition of employment, a crisis management plan, a blood pathogen plan, and a non-discrimination plan for faculty and students. When a center or school is accredited, it must maintain membership in ELEA throughout the entire seven year period of the accreditation. If membership is dropped, during this time period, then the accreditation itself becomes null and void.

12 Table of Contents Self Study Introduction Mission and Ministry
Ministry of the Congregation A Self-Study of Ministry and Relationships For Evangelical Lutheran Church in America School and Preschool Ministry Programs   A Brief Look Table of Contents  Self Study Introduction Mission and Ministry Spiritual Formation Governance Administration Finance KEY QUESTIONS Where are we now? Where do we want to be? What do we need to do to get there?

13 Gayle Denny, Executive Director, ELEA
How to Begin 2. Getting Started Once the decision has been made to pursue accreditation, contact should be made with the ELEA National Office since it has the responsibility to manage the school accreditation process for all of the Lutheran schools in the ELCA. The process can be initiated by contacting Gayle Denny, Executive Director of ELEA, by writing, calling or visiting the ELEA web site ( and clicking on “Accreditation” to purchase the self study and supporting materials . The ELEA full contact information is: Gayle Denny, Executive Director, ELEA 500 North Estrella Parkway, Suite B2, Box 601 Goodyear, AZ FAX: Web Site:

14 What Your $250 Investment Buys
In return, you will receive an application, a copy of the Self-Study Preparation Guide, a Supporting Materials and Samples Guide, and an electronic or digital copy of the instrument in Microsoft Word. Included is an invoice for the $250 fee plus shipping and handling if not previously paid. The accreditation coordinator will provide mentorship until a team chair is assigned .

15 What Your $500 Deposit Provides
Once the center or school makes a final decision to attain accreditation, they submit a $500 deposit to the national office of ELEA with their application. At this time a team chair is assigned and the previsit is scheduled. The deposit is applied toward the expenses such as travel, housing and meals of the team chair. During the previsit the chair will meet with the administrator and other leaders and conduct a portfolio training with the teaching staff. At this time the dates of the site visit are finalized. Any remaining funds of the deposit not used during the previsit are held at the national office and credited toward the expenses of the site visit. If the previsit expenses exceed the deposit the school or center will be invoiced for the remaining balance.

16 Accreditation Costs Self-Self-Study costs:
$250 application fee *paid to ELEA, and valid for a maximum of 2 years. $300 if doing both early childhood and elementary accreditation. $500 deposit* toward costs of accreditation, including honorariums Secretarial time Reproduction costs *Nonrefundable Visitation team: Transportation, Meals, Incidentals, Housing, Substitute Teachers Meals Honorariums $ per day for chairperson; $ per day for other team members The chairperson also serves as a mentor throughout the accreditation process. Costs of the pre-visit and mentoring must be paid by the center or school. In the case of conditional accreditations the school or center will bear the cost of any additional visits or expenses incurred in order to meet the conditions. All expenses of the site visit are paid by the school or center.  Ongoing costs $100/year The annual report is to be sent to the ELEA Office no later than June 15 of the academic year.

17 What Do You Want to Explore Next?
Click on the buttons below Reports Improvement Plan Artifacts The Team Visit People Self Study Annual Report

18 The School Team Faculty involvement
Since faculty members are key individuals in the self-study process, they should be involved in the decision to conduct a self-study and be fully aware of the process and requirements before that decision is made. Additionally, they should be continuously involved throughout the self-study process. These may be the same people who served on the steering committee which completed the ELCA’s “Ministry of the Congregation” Recognition program self study for early childhood accreditation. It is strongly recommended that they should participate in the chairperson’s orientation pre-visit to the school.

19 Self-Study Steering Committee
Once a decision has been made to seek school accreditation, 5-8 people, representing various parts of the educational community, are appointed to the accreditation Steering Committee by the governing board or church council. The Steering Committee’s primary task is to plan, guide and coordinate the Self-Study. Its responsibilities include: appointing necessary subcommittees, preparing the Self-Study report, reviewing the report of the Visitation Team, and making recommendations for continued improvement. A sample Steering Committee may include parents, teachers, administrator, pastor, other church staff members other educators, community members, and board of education. The administrator cannot chair this committee.

20 Steering Committee Chair Role
1. keep everyone on task 2. ensure the subcommittees are functioning and carrying out their tasks 3. encourage and motivate those working with the accreditation process 4. work closely with the school’s administrator 5. attend the pre-visit of the Visitation Team Chairperson 6. chair the Steering Committee meetings 7. ensure that the work of the committee stays on the task timeline.

21 Qualifications of the Steering Committee Chairperson
Dedication to the mission of the church and school Familiarity with the school or center No employment, either personally, or of a family member within the church and/or center Strategic planning, technological, and organizational skills Strong interpersonal skills

22 Makeup of the Steering Committee
Chair: Organized, works well with people, able to motivate people to do the necessary work School or Center Administrator: Committed to the process, walks the line between supporting staff and insuring compliance Clerical Manager: Overview and assistance with clerical/organizing duties Financial Wizard: Understands the qualities and procedures of good financial systems. Curriculum Experts: Understands the qualities and procedures of early childhood and/or elementary curriculums. Teacher Representatives: Provide insights about the staff and communication concerning the accreditation process The committee members should not include anyone that retains a conflict of interest for the program.

23 The Visitation Team The minimum number of members on a Visitation Team is four. To save expenses, team members within commuting distance of the school ordinarily are used. In the event that there is not a trained chairperson available in your geographic area, airfare expenses may be required. Team members’ selection must occur in consultation with the chairperson of your Visitation Team. Team members can be selected from the following: 1. the chairperson will be assigned by the ELEA National Office 2. a teacher or administrator from a public or non-ELCA school center 3. a teacher or administrator from an ELCA center or school 4. a specialist or college professor In order to be eligible to serve on a team, team members must attend the half-day training and orientation to the accreditation process led by the Visitation Team chair at the time of the pre-visit to the school, during one of the days prior to the team visit or held by ELEA as one of its regularly scheduled conferences.

24 Key Tasks for the Team Determine if the data and materials in place are adequate and reliable

25 Key Tasks for the Team Assess data as whether it meets these standards

26 Key Tasks for the Team Conduct interviews

27 Key Tasks for the Team Determine if all materials and sources of data are in place Write section drafts and turn into captain before leaving Go Back to Exploration

28 The Reports Self-Study Report Annual Report
 The Self-Study Report is much more extensive ad thorough. It is the result of a year-long self-evaluation of every aspect of the school, based on the school or center’s philosophy and national standards. Annual Report Annual Report briefly indicates the progress toward further self-improvement and standard attainment, based on recommendations made by the Visitation Team and the improvement plan.

29 Self Study Report Introduction School Overview I. Conceptual Framework: Christian Mission/Educational Philosophy II. Professional Personnel a. Administrators b. Teaching Staff III. Curriculum IV. Governance & Resources a. Structure b. Governing Board/Committees c. Finances d. Resources e. Facilities

30 Preparing the Self-Study Report
The Self-Study Report Form is to be used as a tool for self-evaluation and improvement. For each section, the report requires: 1. responses to selected questions and statements. 2. presentation of data and multiple performance assessments demonstrating that standards have been met. Artifacts and documents used to demonstrate attainment of a standard should be varied. No artifact should be used more than twice throughout the document. 3. specific required exhibits (identified by an asterisk) 4. comments about the strengths, need for improvement, and plans for improvement for each section of the instrument.

31 Section 1-Overview of the School
It begins with the overview of the center or school. The overview should include information about the congregational and school or center history, the community, the structure of the church and school or center, enrollment trends, faculty and staff, etc. Its purpose is to provide a context for the Visitation Team and for the report.

32 Mission and Philosophy Framework
The next section of the Self-Study addresses the Conceptual Framework. The Conceptual Framework acts as a lens through which the rest of the report is interpreted. The report clearly states the Mission and Philosophy and presents information as to how it is assessed for appropriateness and effectiveness. Evidence should be presented as a part of this section, verifying that the Conceptual Framework is appropriate, embedded in the school, and effective.

33 Professional Personnel
The Professional Personnel Section of the report focuses on the school’s administration and faculty. All create a professional portfolio appropriate to their position within the school. If an administrator both teaches and administrates, then the administrator should prepare teaching and leadership portfolios. For each type of portfolios, a web site is listed immediately under the section title. The web site provides additional information about each of the standards and further explains the rubrics, terms found within the rubrics, etc

34 Curriculum For each of the curricular sections, web sites are listed to help faculty understand and effectively respond to each of the standards and rubrics. The Self-Study report should address each of the standards holistically and present information or data that demonstrate that students know and are able to do the items addressed within a standard.

35 Governance and Resources
The final section, Governance and Resources, concludes the Self-Study report. In this section, the report should present data that enables the team to determine if the standards have been met.

36 After Gathering and Analysis
Finally, for each section of the instrument, you will be asked to identify specific strengths, areas of improvement, and plans for improvement for that section. The required thoroughness of this report is designed to stimulate thought and to assist a thorough self-study and self-improvement process. It is also designed to give enough evidence to the Visitation Team to determine whether or not your center or school is eligible for accreditation. The Self-Study report is due to the members of the Visitation Team no later than 8 weeks prior to the accreditation visit. Keep in mind that this will be more than a binder – it may encompass a box of materials. Individual professional portfolios, however, do not need to be mailed to the team; they need to be available for inspection during the site visit. Go Back to Exploration

37 Artifacts-Required Evidence of Actions That Support Student Learning
Each “Please Respond To” section serves as a starting point for discussion and study. The statements and questions are written not only for the purpose of clarifying and explaining, but also for stimulating thought, reflection and self-evaluation. Supporting data and information should be categorically labeled, gathered, and made available in the Visiting Team meeting room by the time of the visit. Items marked with an asterisk (*) must be attached to the report.

38 Assessments and Data The Steering Committee works collaboratively with teachers, congregational and community members, parents, and the board to assess the school and to prepare the Self-Study Report. An important task during this time is the creation of assessments and the collection and use of data resulting from these assessments for school improvement. As the Self-Study Report is prepared, the school must indicate how students, faculty, and the school’s structure and resources are evaluated. Data resulting from such assessments should be gathered, summarized, and then used for decision-making.

39 Artifacts as Supporting Data
Very simply, artifacts consist of data, charts, tables, lesson plans, assessments, etc. that are used to document that a standard has been addressed and met. Since the content of the standards varies widely, artifacts themselves can take many forms. For instance, an artifact for a teacher’s portfolio could be students’ scores, compared as pre/post test assessments, to document that the teacher has had a positive impact on student learning. A science artifact might include samples of students’ work on an experiment to document that students understand the scientific process. In this case, the artifacts would include not only a sampling of student work but also the average score received by the class and samples of materials used to re-teach the material, if needed. Artifacts to document the collaborative development of the Conceptual Framework could include minutes of meetings and public comment and feedback forms and resulting data. Finally, trend data of students’ achievement test results could be summarized and used to affirm that students are making appropriate academic progress.

40 Artifacts Continued Given the wide variety of documents, videotapes, assessments, and materials that can be used as artifacts, no artifact should be used more than twice throughout the entire accreditation process. It is also critical that artifacts used to document student progress toward curricular standards be a sampling across all of the center or school’s classrooms and grades. Overuse of artifacts or use of artifacts from a limited number of classrooms will hamper the work of the Visitation Team and could result in the citation of weaknesses.

41 Artifacts Items which demonstrate that the standards have been met. This is a test on famous Americans.

42 Another Artifact Photographs of students successfully pointing out the correct response in a group project for music

43 What’s in These Containers?
Artifacts File folders for each standard in noncurricular areas File folders for each element of the curricular standards

44 Drawers for Non Curricular Areas
Heads of steering committee and subcommittees turn in artifacts and supporting data here

45 One Idea for Organizing Artifacts
Supporting data and information should be categorically labeled, gathered, and made available in the Visiting Team meeting room Tub Idea Go Back to Exploration

46 Preparing for the Visit
Typically, the center or school prepares for an accreditation visit a minimum of one full academic year prior to the visit itself. Generally 18 months after the initial decision is made the team visit can be scheduled. The chairperson of the Visitation Team is selected by the ELEA National Office and a mandatory pre-visit of the chairperson to the school is scheduled roughly one year prior to the team visit. The purpose of this pre-visit is to clarify the process, plan the length of the team visit, conduct portfolio training for administrators and teachers and meet with the Steering Committee. In cases where local people are used as team members, an orientation to the process for these people will occur as a part of the pre-visit. In such cases, an extra half day will be added to the visit. It is the school’s responsibility to pay all expenses, including the chairperson’s honorarium, for this visit.

47 The Team Visit At the end of the self-study process, a team of educators will visit the school and make recommendations for the improvement of the center or school. The site visit shall include no less than two full days. Four to five days, beginning with a Saturday and culminating with a brief exit report, is a typical visit.

48 Characteristics of the Team Room
The team room will be the space where the visiting team will spend the majority of its time. It needs to be a quiet space, where much collaboration and writing will take place. The space should be sufficient for up to five people to spread out their materials, have sufficient electrical outlets for laptop computers, and not used by the center or school’s personnel during the visit. If there are telephones in the room, they should be able to be unplugged during the visit, and the room should be free from interruptions from school staff. Snacks should be provided along with noon meals.

49 After the Visit The visiting team will report the observed strengths, concerns, and recommendations for each of the sections of the standards. These will be reviewed in light of the local school’s philosophy and the standards. The team will make a recommendation to the ELEA National Board about accreditation for the school or center and provide supporting statements. The draft report will be sent for any corrections in errors of fact within 20 business days upon conclusion of the onsite visit. A final copy of the team report will be sent to the school or center and to the ELEA office within 10 days of receiving response from the center or school on the draft report. Once the center or school has received the final report of the visiting team, the center or school will have 20 business days in which to respond to the report or to challenge any of its findings through the rejoinder process. Only information available at the time of the visit can be used in the rejoinder. Go Back to Exploration

50 The Dispute Process Once a school or center has received its final report and if it has either not been granted accreditation or has been granted conditional accreditation, it has the right to comment or to question some or all of the findings. This information is submitted as a single document called a Dispute. Schools or centers that are recommended for full accreditation cannot submit a Dispute. Content of the Dispute The Dispute may address issues of substance related to: 1. any cited weakness statements 2. perceived erroneous statements in the narrative section of the report 3. any procedural concerns with the visit.

51 Dispute Conditions Conditions for a Dispute
A Dispute must meet the following conditions: 1. discuss or include only evidence that existed at the time of the visit 2. discuss or include only evidence that was available to the Visitation Team 3. refrain from submitting changes made after the visit since these cannot be considered by the ELEA National Board Review Committee 4. attach as Appendices any documents that are referred to in the Dispute itself. Go Back to Exploration

52 The School Improvement Plan (SIP)
An outcome of the accreditation process is an institutional improvement plan that has been approved by the Team Captain. Based on the visiting team’s final report, the school or center will develop an Improvement Plan, which addresses those standards “not met” or “met with weakness” and states its plan for continuous improvement over the period of accreditation. A copy of this plan is not only used internally and distributed to all stakeholders, but is also sent to the ELEA National Office to be kept in the school or center’s file. For more information on the development of an Improvement Plan, please refer to the ELEA ELEA Accreditation Prep Guide”.

53 Sample Improvement Plan For Every Preschool 2011-2017
Area/ Standard Number Improvement (1-4) 4 is high Priority Time Frame to Complete Responsibility of Notes Status Example from Physical Development/ Health/Safety 1. Children have varied opportunities and are provided equipment to engage in large motor experiences. Create an all weather outdoor play area that is safe, well-drained and handicapped assessable. 3 Fund raising to be done in year Playground to be installed and ready by September, 2013 Building and Grounds committee of congregation and special playground committee appointed by the board of education. Congregational family willing to donate up to $25,000 in matching funds. Special committee is in place and beginning research into the best type of equipment and surface. Aim to have bids ready for Building and Grounds committee by December, 2010. Each need for improvement will be listed in this way Go Back to Exploration

54 The Annual Report Go Back to Exploration
Every year for the length of the accreditation, school or center must submit a report that: Describes any changes that have occurred from the previous report. This may include a change in administrator or teachers, changes in enrollment or make up of the student body, etc. States progress being made on the Improvement Plan Gives assessment data that shows the school or center is improving as a result of its plan. If the data shows otherwise, the improvement plan should be revised until improvement occurs. Describes ongoing challenges the school or center faces as it continues its work on its improvement plan These reports are to be sent to the ELEA National Office no later than June 15 of every calendar year. Failure to submit a report in a timely manner may result in revocation of the accreditation by ELEA. Go Back to Exploration

55 Timeline for Accreditation
18 – 24 months prior to the anticipated visit  collegial decision to pursue accreditation  contact ELEA National Office and receive accreditation materials and name of Visitation Team Chair  pay fees to ELEA 12 – 18 months prior to the anticipated visit  appoint Steering Committee chair and committee members  set up subcommittees and begin work  work with Visitation Team Chair to select the Visitation Team   schedule pre-visit of the Visitation Team Chair to your school or center

56 Timeline for Accreditation
6 – 12 months prior to the anticipated visit   prepare the Self-Study Report   prepare administrator and teacher portfolios   make preliminary travel and hosting arrangements for the Visitation Team 3 months prior to the anticipated visit  assemble team room materials needed for the visit   make final travel and hosting arrangements for the Visitation Team   complete the Self Study report 2 months prior to the anticipated visit  send Self Study and required handbooks to the each member of the Visitation Team  make final decision to proceed with Team visit at this time   schedule people for all interviews needed for the visit

57 The Final Act After visit and accreditation has been received-celebrate!

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