Accreditation is important, especially for private, Christian schools. As an increasing number of parents seek educational alternatives to the public school monopoly, it gets more difficult to determine what is the best, most effective option. Cyber schools and charter schools are gaining in popularity, but research and test scores indicate that the quality of the curriculum and instruction is frequently questionable, and sometimes causes difficulty for students who want to get into a specific college, or a competitive field of study. Accreditation by a recognized and reputable accreditation commission is a sign of excellence. It's a byword in the education world that excellent schools are accredited schools and excellent schools seek accreditation.
Even though the accreditation commissions of ACSI and MSACS are recognized by the state department of education, the accreditation process for a Christian school is rigorous, and involves having the visiting team observe whether or not the school adheres to its foundational principles and Christian distinctiveness as well as evaluating the quality of its educational program and extra-curricular activities. The team's report will be reviewed and approved by the commission in May, and will take effect on January 1, 2015, when our current accreditation expires.
There are some things that you already know about your own school, but it is always good to have people who are experts in the field of Christian education come and take a look, and share their observations with you. That helps to provide confirmation that you are following the path that God has set before you, and you are accomplishing a mission and purpose that is consistent with his will.
The visiting team was most impressed by the Christian atmosphere, and the Christian distinctiveness of the entire school community. They commended the faculty for its mentorship of students in matters of faith, and observed that the school is fully committed to its foundational Christian philosophy and to living out the Bible's principles and precepts. If they had not commended anything else they found at PCS, this one observation made the entire accreditation process successful.
But they did commend other aspects of the program at PCS.
Academic excellence was also observed at PCS, from Kindergarten through the 12th grade. The continuous review and development of the curriculum, the instruction in the classroom, and the progress made by the students were all observed and noted by the team.
So now you have a rare combination--a school with a solid reputation for Christian faith, and academic excellence. But there's more.
Though it is small, and limited by the size of the school, our activities program was commended by the team, both the fine arts department and the athletic program. It may have helped that we were just a few days away from the opening night of The Sound of Music, though none of the team members actually had a chance to see it. There was a lot of enthusiasm around the school as a result.
The team met with our faculty and staff, volunteers, nurses, parents, and students from grade 5 through 12. They concluded that we have a wonderful school, committed to Christian education, excellence in academics and a program that helps students understand their role and their calling as members of the body of Christ, whatever career field they enter. Their observations blessed us. They also helped us set some goals which will continue to improve our school, and expand our ministry. We are blessed.
If you ever wondered whether or not you had your kids in the right place, well, this might not give you a direct answer, but you've got your kids in a place where the people involved care about them, love them, and are willing to work hard to help them become the person that God wants them to be. I think you've made the best possible choice, and you couldn't really do any better.