Email home states need for task force

Camden Hills to remain member of NEASC for time being

By Dwight Collins | Apr 23, 2014
Photo by: Dwight Collins School officials at Camden Hills Regional High School send an email home stating that they will remain a member of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges for at least the next year. A task force is being formed to further explore the need for accreditation.

Rockport — Publicly-aired concerns regarding Camden Hills Regional High School’s possible withdrawal from New England’s only school accreditation association have promoted school officials to reconsider.

An email home to parents stated after hearing public comment at a March 18 meeting about the potential withdrawal,  school officials decided to retain membership to New England Association of Schools and Colleges for at least the next year.

The email read, “As many of you know, we recently had a community discussion about our NEASC accreditation. Shortly after that meeting, the school board decided to remain affiliated with NEASC for at least another year while we formed a task force that could explore viable alternatives. That task force will be comprised of teachers, parents, administrators, and students. We anticipate four parent representatives. If you would like to participate on this task force, please let Nick Ithomitis know.”

NEASC and Camden Hills/Camden-Rockport High School have a relationship going back to 1969. To retain accreditation, the school is required to have a site review every 10 years. The school must also submit interim two and five-year reports, as well as any other special reports requested. Currently, Camden Hills is in the middle of a 10-year cycle.

While school officials previously admitted there is value in accreditation, there was a growing concern the price of that “stamp of approval” could soon outweigh its value. Currently, the cost of a site visit can cost upwards of $35,000; this does not include $3,200 per year to be a member of NEASC.

At the March meeting, Assistant Superintendent Maria Libby said school board members recognize concerns about dropping NEASC accreditation and school officials need to critically evaluate the educational value of the process.

Libby also explained accreditation does not affect the schools ability to participate in foreign exchange programs or offer Advanced Placement and college credit courses through Syracuse University.

Accreditation is voluntary in Maine and currently 89 out of 120 schools are accredited through NEASC.

 

Comments (2)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Apr 26, 2014 10:29

This is a good way to save thousands of dollars and all the teacher hours to accumulate data for the accreditation process. There are private schools that send students to college with acceptance on grades, etc. I don't think they pay for accreditation. Anyone out there know this? I feel the local high school should put the money back into the operations of the school and drop the accreditation process altogether.

Mickey McKeever



Posted by: Susan Sinclair | Apr 24, 2014 07:03

Things won't have changed in a year. Give up on this wrong headed scheme! You need to be able to support ALL options for your students' higher education, not just those institutions that know the school's "reputation", which will probably go down hill anyway without third party monitoring to prevent complacency.



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Dwight Collins
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
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