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Hard Work Pays Off as High Schools Regain Accreditation

May 15, 2008 — After years of planning, hard work and perseverance, on Thursday Charlotte Amalie High School received its official notice of accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
"As far back as three and a half weeks ago we learned that we had gained full accreditation after the commission's winter meeting," said CAHS principal Carmen Howell. "We didn't want to make it public until we received official notice, and the letter arrived this morning saying that we are accredited for the next four years."
The high school, located in Sugar Estate, is now accredited until 2012.
Ivanna Eudora Kean High School received its official accreditation notice Wednesday.
CAHS, along with Kean and St. Croix Central High, lost their accredited status in 2002 after 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.
CAHS and Kean regained conditional accreditation in 2005, which expired at the beginning of this month.
"We are very happy with the progress we've made since then," Howell said in a telephone interview Thursday. "In 2004, we did a self study and set forth a plan for ourselves for continuous improvement. Our education programs have always been pretty sound, and we're happy at this point that we have full accreditation."
The school's facilities have come a long way, Howell said.
"In terms of facilities, there's always room for improvement, but we have worked seriously on all the recommendations we received from Middle States, and they have said that they are extremely impressed with all the growth and improvement made at Charlotte Amalie over the past three years," Howell said.
Looking forward to the future, Howell said the school will work on expanding its library and cafeteria. During a recent Legislative session, the gross-receipts bond proceeds needed to subsidize the expansions were included in an amendment sponsored by Sen. Carlton "Ital" Dowe. The amendment was signed into law Wednesday evening by acting Gov. Gregory R. Francis.
"The school was built in 1950," Howell said Thursday. "Our programs and student population have continued to grow, but the facilities have stayed the same. So we're looking forward to expanding our library and cafeteria, and eventually we'll be looking at getting the school fully enclosed. I'm extremely happy this is all happening — it's been a good day for students at CAHS, and a good day for students all across the territory."
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