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Accrediting Agency Evaluating Territory's Schools

April 29, 2008 — The Middle States Association of College and States is visiting St. Croix Educational Complex High School this week, looking at the school's progress toward meeting its conditions for continued accreditation.
Middle States decides whether to accredit schools in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia, as well as in the territory. A newer school only a little more than a decade old, Complex was provisionally accredited for the first time in 2005. Complex's accreditation expires in November.
The territory's older public high schools — St. Croix Central, Eudora Kean and Charlotte Amalie High schools — lost their accreditation in 2002 and were all provisionally re-accredited in 2005. All four are up for re-accreditation this year based on their progress toward meeting the goals set in their school-improvement plans when they were granted provisional accreditation.
Middle States makes its decisions based on a dozen criteria organized in two broad categories: foundational standards and operational standards. The school's philosophy, finances and facilities are typical examples of foundational standards, while operational standards include the educational program, the tools used for assessment and evidence of student learning and information resources. The full accreditation standards can be seen by clicking here.
Richard Muhammad, president of Complex's Parent Teacher Student Association, is optimistic Complex will show enough progress toward meeting Middle States' recommendations.
"I am confident Middle States will be impressed with our progress and commitment to the school's improvement," he said Monday in a phone interview.
Middle States' concerns include teacher certifications and newer textbooks, Muhammad said.
"We need, basically, to have some type of uniform cycle of replacement of textbooks and resource material," he said. "And staff certification is always important."
There has been "marked improvement" in both of these situations, he said.
Complex's front office is undergoing repairs from damage caused by a recent arson attack. The arson damage shouldn't have any impact on accreditation, Muhammad said.
The school's staff has made progress but needs capital improvements and support from the community, said Tyrone Molyneux, president of the St. Croix Federation of Teachers, in an interview Tuesday.
"The school administration and staff have been busy getting ready," he said. "I would commend the school administration, the students and staff for doing their part. … The challenge has been with the central government — the Department of Education ensuring the capital. The money is there for various projects, for the upkeep of the facilities, for record keeping, for instruction. … The accreditation is not an isolated process. It is a community effort."
The Source called St. Croix Superintendent of Schools Gary Molloy for comment on the accreditation process and the status of the ongoing fire repairs, but he did not return the calls.
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