In late November Elaine Morrow, principal of Geneva’s St. Francis-St. Stephen School, received an early Christmas gift: She learned her school had received accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Elementary School, becoming the 14th diocesan school to become accredited.
"We’re thrilled," Morrow said.
St. Francis-St. Stephen began the accreditation process more than a year ago, when committees of faculty and staff members, students and parents completed an intensive self-study of every aspect of the school and compiled a lengthy report. Although this process was extremely time consuming, it helped the members of St. Francis-St. Stephen School identify the many things the school excels at, as well as a few areas with room for improvement, Morrow said.
The process culminated last May, when the MSCES sent a team to St. Francis-St. Stephen to evaluate the school in comparison to the report.
"They take our self-study and they basically go through and see if they see the same things we do about our strengths and weaknesses," Morrow explained.
More than six months later, Morrow learned the evaluators must have liked what they saw at St. Francis-St. Stephen, because the school earned accreditation.
"Everyone felt delighted," she said. "The parents were very pleased."
Although the rigorous work of the self-study is now complete, St. Francis-St. Stephen will continue to implement the improvements they outlined in the study, such as curriculum mapping and increased in-service technology opportunities for teachers, Morrow added.