Public hearing on Camden Hills Regional High School withdrawal from NEASC slated
Rockport — A public meeting has been scheduled to discuss the possibility of Camden Hills Regional High School withdrawing from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Honoring a request from the Community School District school board, school officials have scheduled an open meeting to allow the public to weigh in on the decision to withdraw from NEASC. The meeting is set to take place March 18, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Strom Auditorium.
Camden Hills has a long history of receiving accreditation through NESAC and in order to remain compliant 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.
While accreditation does have its value, the cost of one site visit can be as much as $45,000 and there is growing concern that the cost to remain compliant may soon outweigh its value, Assistant Superintendent Maria Libby said.
“A withdrawal will enable school personnel to refocus time and energy on more meaningful work that is better aligned to our district priorities,” Libby said. “It will also save the taxpayers money because there is sizable out-of-pocket cost to the accreditation process.”
Libby said a great deal of professional development time has been devoted to the accreditation process and withdrawing from NEASC will allow staff to align professional development time to their own areas of priority.
“We have explored the negative implications to withdrawal and there doesn’t seem to be any, other than the value of having an external review for school improvement efforts, but there are other ways of doing that,” she said. “Colleges don't seem to pay much attention to whether a high school is accredited by NEASC, instead relying on the reputation of the school and the success of its students at the secondary level."
Five Town CSD is not alone, Libby said, noting numerous schools in the state are questioning the value of NEASC accreditation due to local financial and time commitments required.
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
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