Is Mishawaka Too AdvancED for its Own Good?
With finals coming up in two months, many people become worried or stressed out about passing their classes and getting the grade they want or deserve. How long do you study every night for your finals or midterms? Well, for some teachers at Mishawaka, the results may shock you. A select group of teachers have dedicated years to updating and bettering the overall atmosphere of the school, and only just now had their first exam. As many students know, Mishawaka High School recently welcomed five educational professionals from an international organization known as AdvancED. They spent last Wednesday (March 23rd) and Thursday (March 24th) observing the school’s procedures and conducting interviews with teachers, students, parents, and community members. Those who were interviewed were asked questions that looked for evidence that the school is implementing the improvement plan. These professionals also sat in during class lectures and observed other parts of the school looking for advice to offer. The need for accreditation is due to the state. According to law, all Indiana public schools need to be accredited by a public organization in order to function. Mishawaka High School is already accredited by the state of Indiana. However, AdvancED is not funded by the state of Indiana and is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. A review by this team was not required. However, Mishawaka High School uses this review to see how it can better serve its students. This examination organization has been regularly visiting Mishawaka High School since April 1st, 1909. The examination “validates what we do here,” as Mr. Halicki explains, “It looks good to the outside.” For Mishawaka, this accreditation was successful, yielding rewards for both the community and the school. However, this could not have been done without the help of C.S.I. ( Committee for School Improvement, not Crime Scene Investigation), a team of seven teachers and one principal that has spent over a decade focusing on reading, writing, and math improvements across the curriculum. Sound familiar? This group helps to keep the school goals a reality by implementing special interventions like S.S.R. (Sustained Silent Reading) and Friday activities in advisory, and giving out surveys to parents and students to make sure everybody is involved in the school by voicing their concerns. These surveys help by giving ideas to the group for Friday activities. For example, many students had voiced concerns over filling out taxes and, thanks to the help from Mr. Baumer, are now able to fill out the most basic tax form. So, what is next for the school? In two years, freshmen and sophomores can expect to see AdvancED one more time as a check-up, to ensure that the school continues to improve. Congratulations to Mishawaka High School on a successful report, and, to the C.S.I. team, the Mishawaka Cavemen would like to thank you for all of your efforts!