New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) lauds Cumberland High School

Independent audit commends principal and faculty

CUMBERLAND, RI - An independent and comprehensive evaluation of Cumberland High School by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges has left auditors impressed with the rigor of education, the leadership of the principal, and the quality of the teaching staff.

Superintendent Philip D. Thornton received notification of the findings during the holiday break, informing him and CHS Principal Alan Tenreiro that the Committee on Public Secondary Schools, at its October 27-28, 2013 meeting, reviewed the decennial evaluation report from their visit to Cumberland High School and voted to award the school continued accreditation in the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

The report states that the committee was “impressed with many of the programs and services and wishes to commend the following: the new review protocol which establishes a process for reviewing the core values, beliefs, and 21st century learning expectations; the development of challenging and measurable 21st century learning; expectations for all students that address academic, civic, and social competencies; the school's core values, beliefs, and 21st century learning expectations reflected within the culture, curriculum, instruction, assessment, school policies, and procedures; the Validation Committee's promotion of the incorporation of higher-order thinking, learner expectations and the use of school-wide rubrics in all departments; the weekly common planning time in which curriculum and assessments are discussed; the school-wide implementation of argumentative writing across the curriculum.”

Dr. Thornton said he is pleased, but not surprised, by the findings.

“Over the past year, I have seen on a daily basis the improvements being made behind the scenes by the school’s leadership team, and witnessed firsthand the dedication of the faculty in striving to make CHS one of the top high schools in the state. The NEASC report affirms that we’re not only moving in the right direction, but are becoming an educational leader in 21st century education for high school students.”

Cumberland High School also drew praise for the planned development of the Freshman Academy; the allocation of time for common planning among teachers; the detailed list of local state and private agencies that provide mental health and social services to parents; the effective communication between the student support services personnel to sustain students' social and emotional needs; the provision of inclusive learning opportunities for identified students; the employment of a variety of innovative and traditional methods to engage parents and families in their student's education; and the development of productive relationships between the school, the business community and local colleges.

Founded in 1885, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., (NEASC) is the nation's oldest accrediting association, serving more than 2,000 public and independent schools, colleges and universities in the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island,  Vermont, and American/international schools in more than sixty nations worldwide. It is characterized by a commitment to establishing and maintaining high standards for all levels of education (pre K-to doctoral level) within one association. Since 1990, it remains the only one of the nation's six accrediting agencies to promote collaborations for educational improvement beyond the region. 

Commission standards are high and focus on virtually every aspect of a school or higher education institution’s operation. These standards often are accepted in substitution for standards set by state departments of education. Standards are reviewed periodically by the commissions and the membership, reflecting the voluntary, independent nature of accreditation combined with recognition of pertinent state and federal regulations. 

In its report, the committee states how pleased and impressed it was by the teachers' work toward improving instructional practices that support the school's 21st century learning expectations; the positive, safe, respectful, and supportive school culture that fosters; student responsibility for learning and results in shared ownership, pride, and high expectations for all the student advisory program.

The committee commended CHS for the planned implementation of a two-year graduation requirement in world languages that will ensure each student is enrolled in a heterogeneously grouped core course over the high school experience;  the instructional leadership provided by the principal and other building leaders; the leadership roles assumed by teachers; the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support program's effectiveness in helping to transform the school culture; and the principal's and faculty's leadership in promoting and maintaining high expectations for student learning.

The complete report – in pdf – is available here.

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NEASC Evaluation Report Update 12.27.13.pdf81.99 KB