Earlier this summer, MSA surveyed the school leaders of all Spring 2020 postponed visits and all Fall 2020 planned visits to ascertain how MSA could best support schools during this time. The vast majority of school leaders responded that moving forward with their accreditation visit was a priority. They also were supportive of the visit being virtual if need be. After gathering this data and determining that developing a virtual or blended model for accreditation visits was a priority for our members, MSA staff spent the summer working on developing a visit model that would be resilient to whatever the fall might bring for our schools.
As a result, all team visits for Fall 2020 will be held virtually; however, where possible, the chairperson may go onsite for one day. Please click here to see an overview of the visit structure which highlights differences from the traditional approach.
All accreditation visits from mid-March 2020 through the end of the school year were, of course, postponed. Those postponed visits plus the schools originally planning to host a Fall 2020 visit have now been either scheduled for Fall 2020 or given an extension until Spring 2021 when requested.
We are pleased to confirm that we have scheduled more than 75 team visits for this fall, and are grateful to our schools’ ongoing commitment to peer review as evidenced by more than 300 educators volunteering their time and expertise to serve as accreditation visitors.
Our revised blended/virtual format for visits uses both Zoom (for team meetings) and Google Drive (for document sharing, report writing, and collaboration). In addition, schools are asked to use their own video conferencing platform to set up all meetings between school stakeholders and the Visiting Team. (Note: MSA will provide a Zoom license to any school that does not already have a video conference platform.)
Revised materials for (schools) and Visiting Teams have been posted on the MSA website and shared directly with schools and volunteers. A helpful guide for schools and Visiting Team Chairs are the School and Chair Checklists which outline each step of the process leading up to, during, and following the visit.
We are also offering a variety of trainings for our schools and volunteers to make sure everyone is prepared for their upcoming visits. Small group online training sessions are being offered on a weekly basis beginning August 5.
Schools preparing to host a blended/virtual visit should attend a 90 minute Hosting your Team Visit workshop– an interactive session with MSA staff discussing what to expect and how to prepare to host your team virtually.
Volunteers serving as Visiting Team Members have been invited to attend a Team Member Training for Virtual Visits. These 90 minute small group sessions walk volunteers through the new materials and visit guidelines and translate the peer evaluation experience from the traditional onsite model to the virtual model that will be used this fall.
We are also offering small group sessions for Team Chairs and these are being arranged directly between the chairs and MSA accreditation liaison of the school being visited.
For any questions about MSA’s response to COVID-19 or our new blended visit model, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.