Informational: What is NEASC
“Why are we doing all of this? Are we just doing this because NEASC is coming? What is NEASC anyway?” If I have heard these things once, I have heard them a million times. So here goes…..
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) is a professional organization that sends teams to visit both colleges and high schools throughout New England for the purpose of gathering information to assist schools in improving the educational process. Amesbury High School’s faculty has been preparing for the NEASC visiting team’s visit (May 5th through 8th) for nearly two years. It has been like the “ultimate senior research project” for our faculty. It has involved doing research on an assigned topic – Amesbury High School. We have gathered information from multiple sources to prove our conclusions – these pieces of evidence must be cataloged and attached to a cover sheet explaining how the evidence connects to one of the seven standards against which we will be assessed. The seven standards are: Core values, Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, School Culture and Leadership, School Resources, and Community Resources. The final component to our assessment involves presentations in a variety of forms – panels, interviews, tours, shadowing of students to name a few.
All of these pieces must be prepared in advance of the visit. The visiting team consists of sixteen people – two people assigned to each of the seven standards, a chair, and an assistant chair. The people who volunteer to serve on this team hold a variety of positions in schools located throughout New England. They will arrive at the hotel on Sunday morning at approximately 10:30 am to begin the process and will be at AHS by 1pm for our initial presentation which launches the visit. These sixteen people will be in our classrooms, walking our halls, eating in our cafeteria, all for the purpose of gaining an understanding of how things work at AHS. They will take our 117 page Self-Study that we have written (research paper) and look to verify the claims that we have made by “living” at AHS for three days. After they have finished gathering and verifying information, they will share with us what we do well and areas that need improvement.
If you are still reading this, I imagine you are still asking, “Ok, so why are we doing this?” The simple answer is that we are hoping that all the work we have done accurately reflects Amesbury High School. We feel that it is a very special place because we all work together to achieve common goals. Our Core Values that have recently been hung in the cafeteria are not new – the banners are – but the ideas are not. Think about each one of those values – they drive what we do and what we value here. Where else is every individual accepted as readily and in such a welcoming fashion as at AHS? How about Problem Solving? Our math team is one of the most successful teams in school history, and, one of the most respected. When we had to solve the issues with the cups on the fence - it was the students who came up with the solution. The staff at AHS believes in AHS and wants the Visiting Team to know it. The second reason is that by meeting the standards set by NEASC and receiving accreditation, the colleges and universities to which our students apply know that students who graduate from Amesbury High School are being prepared for college.
Thus, when our visit begins with the panel presentation on Sunday, May 5th at 1 pm, we hope that many of you will join us in the auditorium, or, at least at 4:30 pm in the cafeteria for the reception. We are appreciative of the high level of student participation in shadowing, panels, tours, and small group meetings. We encourage you to speak honestly to those Visiting Team members who are in your classes on the 6th and 7th. We also hope that you will take as active of a role in this visit as you do in all the wonderful aspects of life at AHS.