Recently, I had the pleasure of participating on a re-accreditation team for NEASC – New England Association of Schools and Colleges. It is something that I have wanted to do for several years. In fact, I even put in a request to my head of school. Well, I guess he had forgotten about it, and, so had I. Until last June, that is. I participated in a leadership seminar for educators of color, at which time one of the participants asked about re-accreditation teams. Little did I know that all that was needed was for the head of school placing a phone call to the regional association, and putting said educator on a list. With that, I sent a request to my head of school via email, expressing my interest, and, reminding him of my previous request and prior expression of interest. My name was subsequently placed on “The List”. That was June 2013.
Fast-forward to December 2013: I received an email from a staff member of NEASC, informing me that I had been invited to participate on a re-accreditation team in April 2014! I was half-way to realizing another goal.
Fast-forward to April 2014: I arrived in Boston on Sunday April 6. The other six members of the team – some experienced, some not so much, like me, enjoyed a nice dinner. The next three days, we were hard at work: visiting classes, interviewing teachers, students, staff, and parents, reviewing reports, collecting data, and writing. Once the school day ended, it was back at the hotel for dinner, and then several hours of meetings to discuss the information collected, and, more writing.
The work was challenging, the days full, and the nights long. Additionally, it was one of the best professional development opportunities I have experienced to-date. My team members were smart, hard-working, and conscientious, and, despite many of us not knowing each other from Adam or Eve, we worked well together, enjoyed many moments of levity, and, produced a quality re-accreditation document for the school under review.
I think that if one enjoys – the process of curriculum design, development, implementation, and review; research and writing; and projects that involve creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication – participating on a re-accreditation team is an experience in which to partake.