Search

The Value of Joining AISNE Accreditation Teams

December 16, 2019

As a longstanding member of the Association of Independent Schools of New England (AISNE), Belmont Day is committed to maintaining the highest standards and we embrace the shared and continuous pursuit of excellence across the independent school landscape. A core responsibility as an AISNE member is participation in the accreditation of peer schools. This fall, two faculty members, Liz Gray, middle school head, and Heather Woodcock, director of the associate teacher program, served on teams for this rigorous and fulfilling process.

The accreditation process takes place every 10 years. In advance of an accrediting team visit, schools spend a year completing a self-study document that compiles information about everything from curriculum to school governance, staffing, and admissions.

Ms. Gray and Ms. Woodcock discussed and reflected on their experiences at two schools:

Liz Gray (LG):
I visited Eaglebrook School as part of a seven-person team, which included faculty, staff, and administrators from Pike, Gordon, Park, St. Mark’s, Fayerweather, Meadowbrook, and BDS.

Heather Woodcock (HW):
I was part of a team of six teachers and administrators and we spent three days on the Fessenden School campus.

LG:
The job of the accreditation team is really to see if the school is doing what it says it’s doing and to give commendations and recommendations for the school to consider and act upon in the next five years of its development.

HW:
Our days were spent interviewing members of the Fessenden community, observing classrooms, interacting with students, faculty, and staff at meals and extracurricular activities. Our evenings were spent working with our team to write a narrative that shined a light on what we felt Fessenden was doing well and areas that we thought would benefit from attention.

LG:
Monday and Tuesday were spent on campus from about 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and then we had dinner and met as a team to plan for the next day and do some draft writing of the report. On Wednesday, the team reconvened to finalize and vote on the AISNE major standards that the school is required to pass in order to be in good standing for accreditation.

HW:
For me, interacting with colleagues both on my team and at Fessenden was generative and allowed for both a deep dive into another school culture and community and also a chance to pull back and consider the school as a whole.

LG:
Being a part of this process opens your eyes to various partners in the world of education, gives you new perspectives on how other schools run their program. Inevitably, there are casual discussions with your team as you investigate your host school like, “How do faculty meetings run?”, “What’s your discipline policy?”, or “How do teachers document curriculum?”  And everyone weighs in with their different iterations of how they function.

One of my favorite takeaways is observing student and faculty cultures at different schools–it is fascinating! There are so many ways to run a school and educate students, and I love picking up new amazing ideas from the places I visit. 

HW:
Yes, you gain perspective on one’s own school by witnessing so closely how another school approaches the work of teaching, supporting, and preparing students. There are so many ways to teach and learn, and I am so grateful to work in a field that values self-reflection and evolution!

LG:
By volunteering for an accreditation team I feel that I am doing my part for AISNE to make sure that schools, including Belmont Day, can undergo a healthy and regular review and evaluation process. Without these teams, accreditation would not be nearly as productive.

A student in the air catching an ultimate disk

By John O'Neill, director of athletics |

May 17, 2024

It was a slow start to the spring for the varsity ultimate team. After the first two games were canceled due to bad weather, the team opened with lackluster performances and entered last weekend’s Middle School Jamboree with a 1-2…

By Josh Sussman, school counselor |

May 14, 2024

On Thursday, May 2, Belmont Day was represented at the AISNE Health and Wellness Conference in Norwood by food program director Tara Lightbody, second grade teacher Nancy Fell, physical education teacher and mindfulness director Alex Tzelnic, school psychologist Arlene Silva,…

By Sarah Merril, director of high school placement |

May 14, 2024

Congratulations to our eighth grade class on their recent decisions on which high schools they will attend in the fall. We’re proud of every student for the journey they’ve taken to reach this milestone in their education. While the decision…

BDS

May 14, 2024

PE Update: Fourth Grade Olympians Shine In Competition In fourth grade, the study of Ancient Greece made its way out of the classroom and into their physical education classes! The young Olympians learned all about the spirit of the Olympic…
Scroll to Top
Giving Day 2023 logo

It’s BDS Giving Day—help us reach 225 gifts in 24 hours!