Can We Get an N! E! A! S! C!


Cecelia Messbauer

A front hall banner displays MacDuffie’s NEASC accreditation, which is in the process of being renewed.

Cecelia Messbauer, Copy Editor

It’s that time again in the educational institution’s circle of life: MacDuffie has started the process of accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

Conducted every ten years, the process is part of a nationwide system of voluntary regional accreditation in which educational institutions review themselves and each other to ensure that schools meet minimum standards set by accreditation agencies. The NEASC is one of seven such agencies recognized by the United States Department of Education.

According to Head of School Steve Griffin, MacDuffie is about a quarter of the way through the self-study portion of the process, having mostly completed a “program description” that outlines what the school does. Teams of faculty are evaluating the school against the NEASC standards, which was the purpose of one recent extended faculty meeting that ended the school day at 2:30.

Griffin says that that reflects the principle challenge of the process: finding extra the time to get it done on top of the already rigorous workload of daily education.

After the self-study is completed, MacDuffie will be further reviewed by a visiting committee from other educational institutions to make a routine check and confirm that “everything we say is the truth.” That peer-review will occur next fall.

Griffin says that the school is already aware of areas where we seek internal improvement, including our limited facilities and the challenges of “integrating a lot of ELL students.”  The study could affect the focus of future changes, but these major goals are already areas of focus.

Although the full accreditation process occurs every ten years, the NEASC also checks in on five year and two year intervals following the initial process. Griffin oversaw such a follow-up in 2011-12, and the school will check in with the Association again in 2019 and 2022.