Northern Worcester Schools Eye Re-Accreditation

BERLIN — After a successful visit from a Middle States Association for Colleges and Schools (MSACS) review board, public schools in northern Worcester County are being recommended for re-accreditation.

“Our 18-person validation team has unanimously agreed to recommend full re-accreditation for the northern Worcester County public schools,” announced Validation Team Chairperson Michael Kuchar, who also serves as Superintendent for the Bergenfield, N.J. school district.

The road to re-accreditation is a long one. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jon Andes explained that the process takes about three years, with the final step being approval from the Middle States’ Commission of Schools in May, if the commission votes to abide by the review board’s recommendation. If it does, the northern public schools will join the schools from Pocomoke and Snow Hill in Accreditation for Growth (AFG) designation.

“The AFG process keeps us looking in the mirror, reflecting on the actions we are taking, and prompting us to continually ask, ‘Is this what is best for our students?’” said Andes.  “AFG helps us to create a school climate where we have the courage to identify what we could be doing better and to establish a plan of action to get there.”

Receiving the re-accreditation would also allow Worcester to keep its distinction as one of only two school systems in the entire state to have all public schools accredited, with the other being Talbot County. Though nothing is definite yet, the positive endorsement by the review board forecasts well for Worcester when May finally does arrive. Regardless of whether or not re-accreditation is achieved, Kuchar said his review board was impressed by their visit to northern Worcester Schools and will borrow what they learned observing educators and take it back to their home school systems.

“While Worcester County Public Schools is ranked number 1 in the state of Maryland in student achievement, there was significant evidence in your district goals and objectives to see that you are committed to becoming even better,” he said.  “You have developed a planning process and action plan with a single-minded, unselfish focus on what is best for your students and their school community.”

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Dr. John Gaddis noted that “the greatest flattery is to have education leaders from other school districts and states tell you that they want to apply our strategies and programs within their own districts.”