St. Thomas High School Receives Accreditation

May 19, 2005 – After three years of working to make improvements to the school, the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School had much reason to celebrate Wednesday.
The school received its official certificate of accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The certificate is now proudly displayed on a wall of Kean's administrative office. A sign near the school's auditorium also reads "Accredited," informing passers-by of the school's latest accomplishment.
"We're ecstatic," Principal Sharon McCollum-Rogers said Thursday. "We realize it was a team effort, a community effort."
McCollum-Rogers said she was grateful for all those who helped Kean High regain accreditation. She especially thanked members of the private sector who made donations to the school.
"From the governor's office down, everyone focused on getting this done," McCollum-Rogers said.
Kean High lost its accredited status in 2002, along with the Charlotte Amalie and St. Croix Central high schools, because Middle States deemed the schools deficient in four areas: site-based control of the budget, student attendance, teacher attendance and having an adequate number of substitute teachers.
The three high schools along with St. Croix Educational Complex, which had never been accredited, were later granted candidacy for accreditation and have been striving to implement the suggestions made by Middle States.
McCollum-Rogers, who was hired to lead Kean through the accreditation process, said, "Attendance has improved dramatically." Students are coming to school and attending their classes, she said. Also, thanks to a substitute teacher pool implemented by the Education Department, plus money granted to the school's principal to pay substitute teachers right away, "we have eliminated classes without coverage," McCollum-Rogers said.
Like CAHS, which received its accreditation notice last week, Kean High's accreditation was limited to a three-year period expiring May 1, 2008. Usually, accreditation is granted for seven years. (See "CAHS Regains National Accreditation")
During the three years, the school has to submit annual reports to Middle States and continue working on the recommendations made by the accrediting body, McCollum-Rogers said.
Kean High must embark on several capital projects during the three years, including the construction of a track and field, repairing the school's gymnasium, sandblasting and sealing all the buildings and replacing leaky areas of the roof, among other things.
McCollum-Rogers said the school would hold a walk/run fundraiser, the Kean Challenge, on May 30 in support of education initiatives at the school.
She added, "We are anxiously praying and hoping that all of our capital projects will be done in a timely manner."

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