May 19, 2016

Re-Accredited!


Graduation season is upon us.  It is the time for transitions, for saying goodbye to the school year we are finishing, and saying hello to the next adventure, the next grade that awaits.

During this busy time, Friends’ School received some excellent news this week.  We have been officially re-accredited by the Association of Colorado Independent Schools (ACIS).

Following unanimous votes by ACIS’ Accreditation Committee and full Board of Trustees, Friends’ remains one of only thirty-two schools in our state, and one of only three in Boulder, to hold such an honor.
 
It has been quite a process to get here.  Our staff immersed themselves in intense work for over a year examining our programs and practices, and preparing a 64-page self-study. 

Back in February this year, a team of school leaders and experienced educators from across the state spent four days at Friends’, interviewing all staff, as well as a number of parents, students, alumni, and trustees, learning all they could about our school. That team produced its own 45-page report about our school which was filled, not only with commendations about what we do well, but also suggestions and recommendations for how we can continue to improve.

Over the next year, we will be taking those recommendations to heart, and putting plans into place to make our school an even better place for all of us – for the students, of course, and also for the parents, teachers, staff, and volunteers who all make this school great.

In the concluding paragraph of the visiting team’s report, the ACIS representatives wrote: During our three-and-a-half days on campus, we immersed ourselves in the school’s culture and daily rhythm, reaching three important conclusions:

1) Every aspect of the program and student experience reflects the school mission and philosophy of educating the whole child, head, hand, and heart.

2) High aspirations pervade the mission and culture of Friends’ School, which provides an unusually rich preschool to 5th grade program, including a Teacher Preparation Program.

3) Friends’ School is poised for growth, with recent plans to acquire a second campus and launch a middle school.”

In addition, the team presented us with five major commendations for the work that we do here at Friends.

FACULTY AND STAFF COMMITMENT: Faculty and staff are committed to the school and one another, making the atmosphere professional, inspirational, and joyful for adults and children alike.

STUDENT FOCUS: Students at Friends’ School clearly have a love of learning and are highly engaged at school. This is a direct result of how well the teachers know the social emotional development and learning profiles of all the students. The way that teachers interact with and speak about the students is warm, respectful and authentic.  It is obvious that they honor each student and value their roles as social and emotional educators.

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY: The sound and fiscally conservative management style of the school is outstanding.  Friends’ School benefits from a strong Business Office staff and an involved and experienced Finance Committee and evidences a responsible, consistent, and fiscally conservative approach toward its financial management.

USE OF SPACE: It is amazing what is achieved in such tight space.  Everyone is adaptable, flexible, and efficient and this enables the faculty and staff to get the most out of the current facilities.  Friends’ School’s facilities offer a warm, bright, and inviting learning environment for its students. The school’s hallways reflect its mission, both literally and figuratively. 

MIDDLE SCHOOL: Excitement about the middle school initiative is palpable among the leadership of the school. Both the board and administration have dedicated enormous time and energy to the research, planning, and new learning required by this ambitious strategic project.

We couldn’t agree more! This is fabulous news on which to end the school year. 

Thank you for being part of the journey with us.  Wherever your travels take you this summer, and whichever adventures await you, I wish you a restful and wonderful summer vacation. 

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