EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 19, 2012

Andover High awaits reaccreditation report

By Dustin Luca

---- — ANDOVER — Few details are available following last week’s high school reaccreditation visit, but one takeaway so far is that the school needs to take on a more personalized role with its students.

After a reaccreditation visit that ended last week, the final report from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges won’t be available until around March, according to school Principal Chris Lord.

Once the report is filed, a commission will review it and issues its decision on whether to reaccreditate the school.

After the school receives the report in its final form, they have 60 days to release it to the public, according to Janet Allison, director of NEASC’s Commission on Public Schools.

In the meantime, limited feedback the school has already received is highlighting some strengths, as well as a few areas in need of improvement.

The school was praised for its “amazing” use of 82-minute blocks and the level of passion that staff expressed in the classroom. The school was also recognized for having the “best cafeteria food that their team has ever seen,” Lord said.

But on the other hand, “every student in the building needs to be well known by one adult, other than a guidance counselor,” Lord said. “We’ve got to personalize the building.”

One of the challenges facing the school in that goal is classroom overcrowding. It’s another line item Lord expects to hear about in the final report, and personalizing the school won’t be able to take place until classroom sizes drop and students become closer to teachers, he said.

The high school “has been on warning for several years now,” Lord said. “I hope to get us off that.”

There are generally four levels a recently visited school can end on — full reaccreditation, accreditation with short-term goals to complete, warning-based reaccreditation and probation.

Based on what he’s heard, Lord expects the high school will be reaccredited, but with some quick wrinkles to iron out as part of the reaccreditation, Lord said.