The Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS) announced that the Bergenfield public schools in Bergen, N.J. have earned reaccreditation, the gold standard for measuring and evaluating school performance. All seven schools were reaccredited as a system.
“I congratulate the Bergenfield public schools on their reaccreditation and commend the district for recognizing the value in the systems approach to accreditation,” said Lisa Marie McCauley Ed.D., president of the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. “Looking at the big picture and examining schools as system is cost effective and helps ensure that the curriculum aligns as students progress from pre-K through 12th grade.”
Middle States accredits preK-12 public, private, parochial, and charter schools. In addition, MSA-CESS accredits non-degree granting career and technical post-secondary institutions and learning services providers.
Middle States accreditation is a multifaceted evaluation process that schools and school systems voluntarily use to demonstrate they are meeting a defined set of research-based performance standards.
The 12 Middle States Standards for Accreditation are: mission; governance and leadership; school improvement planning; finances; facilities; school organization and staff; health and safety; educational program; assessment and evidence of student learning; student services; student life and activities, and information resources.
The accreditation process begins with a self-study that is conducted by the school or school system and requires input from school leaders, teachers, parents and students. Following the self-study, a team of volunteer educators from Middle States member schools conducts a peer review visit.
Traditionally Middle States peer review visits are conducted onsite. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Middle States is conducting all visits virtually for the 2020-2021 school year. Where possible, the chairperson of the peer review team may go onsite for one day.
The peer review team makes its recommendation for accreditation or reaccreditation to the Middle States Association Commissions, which voted at its biannual meeting this week to accredit or reaccredit more than 72 schools and school systems in 17 states, as well as Puerto Rico and eight other countries.
“We are pleased to have earned reaccreditation with Middle States, ” said Bergenfield Superintendent Christopher Tully, Ed.D. “The accreditation process proved valuable in our strategic planning efforts and in helping us set system-wide goals that will lead to continuous growth and improvement.”