The past several months have presented challenges that few of us could have ever imagined.
It seemed as if the world flipped upside down in an instant, and we were forced to adapt to a new way of doing business overnight.
Not surprisingly, our member schools rose to meet the challenges with incredible creativity, strength, and resilience.
At the same time, our team here at the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools immediately began working on revising our approach to accreditation visits in response to the changing environment.
We are pleased to announce that we will be resuming accreditation visits in September with a revised approach that is mindful of the health and safety of our school communities and of our staff and volunteers.
Under this revised approach, our peer review visits for the fall semester will take place using a blended method, fully virtual for many locations, including the majority of international schools. Most domestic visits will also be virtual. However, if possible, the visiting team chair will conduct a one-day site visit.
If the situation stabilizes for Spring 2021 visits, we may introduce the one-day site visit for all visits, or begin the shift to an expanded onsite visit under this new blended approach.
Middle States has always believed in the power of peer review, and we are confident this model will enable us to be innovative, flexible, and supportive of our schools, while also ensuring the integrity and value of the peer review process.
In coming to this decision, Middle States held a series of meetings and focus groups involving a combination of staff, member school leaders, commissioners, leaders and volunteers from past visiting teams. We also met with or collected information about how other accrediting agencies are handling upcoming visits.
Additionally, this is not a new approach for Middle States. For many years, we have been conducting virtual visits for online schools, and we have also convened virtual visits for certain international schools when issues of security dictated.
As the worldwide leader in accreditation and school improvement, Middle States has been helping school leaders establish and reach their goals, develop strategic plans, promote staff development and advance student achievement for over 130 years, and today, our legacy is stronger than ever.