DeLaSalle’s well-deserved reputation as a college preparatory school will continue following a unanimous decision this spring by AdvancED, the school’s accrediting agency, to extend accreditation through 2023. DeLaSalle was first accredited in 1929. Current standards require a reaccreditation process every five years, which not only gives a school a “stamp of approval” with colleges, foundations, families and others, but it also presents a regular opportunity for schools to focus on self-assessment of strengths , challenges, strategies and forward-thinking priorities.
AdvancEd recently sent their final report to the school, based upon a full year of self-study, accumulation of data from student performance as well as student and parent surveys, interviews with stakeholders, and a required on-campus visit and assessment by a team of professional educators. The school’s administration, Board of Trustees, and staff will certainly weave many of the findings into planning and practice in the years to come. All of this will supplement the ongoing and systemic process of strategic planning as endorsed by the DeLaSalle Board of Trustees and implemented by administration and staff.
Following several months of data accumulation, the process included surveys of both students (687 of the 760 students responded) and parents (361 responses) in October 2017. The results from each group of stakeholders were exceptionally positive. When the visiting team visited De in February they were able to conduct 101 on-site interviews with students, parents, staff, Trustees, and administrators as well as observe several dozen classes in session.
Among the many areas of observation and review, several affirmations surfaced within the report, including these highlights:
- “Strategically, the school is focused on being true to its identity, sustaining rigor, being a viable option for all, and valuing diversity. Of all the strengths noted by the team, the most prevailing is how this school lives its mission!”
- “A resounding sentiment shared by all stakeholders was their love of the school because of its community, its culture and its shared purpose.”
- “The school is committed to the success of every student… resulting in an improved curriculum, more co-curricular opportunities, enhanced learning spaces, and increased funding sources over the last five years.”
- “The school is extraordinarily focused, yet provides flexibility, creativity and innovation in how improvement is accomplished.”
The team also made some recommendations within the report, but noted that “the improvement work underway at the school is certainly on the right track.” These opportunities for improvement are comparable to all areas of business and education today — to improve collection and analysis of data. As the report stated in its concluding narrative, “These efforts would move the school from making data-informed decisions to data-driven decisions.”
Overall, the school was exceptionally pleased to receive the report and appreciative of all the work done by parents, students, stakeholders, and the visiting team.