If you were in the market for a used vehicle, chances are you’d feel confident buying from a dealership that offered a “Certified Pre-Owned” program. Similarly, if you were looking to lease office space, buy a water heater, or take your loved one out to dinner to celebrate a special occasion, you’d be buoyed by a LEED-certified building, the Energy Star label, or a certain number of Michelin Stars.
Nearly every sector of society has a commonly accepted standard by which excellence is measured and attained. And in education, that standard is often tied to accreditation — the process in which certification of competency, standards, authority and/or credibility is presented.
Here at Eagle Rock, we’re accredited by a number of organizations, including AdvancED’s North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI). If you’re unfamiliar with AdvancED, it’s the largest non-profit, non-partisan community of education professionals in the world.
The organization’s NCA CASI branch provides nationally recognized accreditation to schools like ours with a focus on increasing student performance. To earn accreditation, schools must meet NCA CASI’s high standards, be evaluated by a team of professionals from outside the school and implement a continuous process of school improvement.
Recently, AdvancED’s Colorado State Council voted to extend Eagle Rock School’s accreditation for an additional five years, demonstrating to our students, parents and the community that Eagle Rock School is focused on raising student achievement, providing a safe and enriching learning environment, and maintaining an efficient and effective operation staffed by highly qualified educators.
For students, their parents, families and sponsors, accreditation like this:
- Encourages confidence that the educational activities of Eagle Rock School have been found to be satisfactory.
- Signals to the higher education community — as well as to prospective employers — that an Eagle Rock student’s education has met widely accepted standards, with graduation from an accredited program, in some cases, a prerequisite for entering a profession.
To the public, accreditation:
- Promotes accountability through ongoing external evaluation of Eagle Rock, with a finding that there is compliance with general expectations in secondary education as reflected in the accreditation standards.
- Identifies Eagle Rock as having voluntarily undertaken explicit activities directed at improving the quality of our school and that we’re carrying them out successfully.
Our NCA CASI accreditation is recognized across state lines, which not only eases the transfer process as students move from accredited school to accredited school, but also assures parents and sponsors that our school is meeting nationally accepted standards for quality and successful professional practice.
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About the Author: Jeff Liddle is the head of school at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center — a nationally recognized, tuition-free residential high school in Estes Park, Colo. The school offers a second chance to students who have not been served well in a traditional high school setting, and a professional development center that supports high schools nationally in re-engaging youth in their own education. As head of school, Jeff is responsible for leading Eagle Rock’s school community and its leadership team; interfacing with the organization’s board of directors; and overseeing the vision and financial health of the organization.