he question is often asked, “why does accreditation matter?” The new NAD Accreditation digital Self-study pilot document is entering its final year and should be available to all schools for the 2018-19 school year. The document provides insight into the rationale for having accreditation standards:
“The accreditation process provides all schools in the North American Division with a robust structure for reflecting upon programs and practices, raising quality, achieving excellence, and delivering better outcomes for our students and their families. The Standards for Accreditation of Seventh-day Adventist Schools is a dynamic, researched-based tool designed to assist schools in the process of self-assessment that is context-specific, evidence-informed, and outcomes-focused. In this process, the instrument provides a focus through which schools evaluate the extent to which they are meeting stakeholder expectations, delivering on system, school, and community priorities, and implementing strategic goals and initiatives (Quality Adventist Schools Framework, 2013)”.
We should all insist on having a quality educational program to honor God and to be experienced by our students. The accreditation process is designed to address the following areas:
FOUNDATIONAL BELIeFS & VALUES
The Core of Adventist Education is grounded in the worldview of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and school improvement should always be viewed through the lens of our core beliefs and values.
ATTAINMENT OF EXCELLENCE
Excellent schools demonstrate a commitment to ongoing self-assessment, evidence-informed practice, and strategic planning. Reflective practices assist schools to focus on important questions, such as: How can this school better demonstrate and integrate its faith and philosophy? How can this school help students become successful learners and informed citizens? How can this school support quality teaching and leadership? How can this school develop and sustain strong partnerships? How can this school improve outcomes for all students?
Achieving excellence requires a commitment to continuous improvement and quality assurance with energies and resources directed towards the improvement of teaching and learning within a standards-based framework.
Standards for Accreditation
Arne P. Nielsen believes that the real object of education, through the work of the Holy Spirit, is to transform the lives of students and “restore in man the image of his Maker . . . promoting the development of body, mind, and soul.” As a lifelong Christian educator, Arne believes that all children have the right to reach their God-given potential. He believes that the best way to accomplish this is by relying on God to lead, building trust and buy-in from educators, developing instructional leaders at the school level, and creating a differentiated system that provides resources and support for educators to grow and flourish.