With the sounds of noise makers and applause Principal Samuel Zalacca announced that Christ the King School has received accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
"Christ the King School, after extensive introspection, has been awarded accreditation by the Middle States Association Commission." said Zalacca.
Middle States accreditation serves as an independent validation of the standards held by Snyder elementary school and the accreditation process focused the attention of the school community on strategic planning and continuous improvement practices.
"We are proud to have earned accreditation and look forward to continuing to work with all of our stakeholders to provide the highest quality education for our students," said Zalacca.
Schools seeking Middle States accreditation follow a protocol, set up by the commissioner of middle states, that looks at 12 standards from governing to financing, student life, student services and all areas of curriculum.
The accreditation process began with a self study that was conducted by the school and required input from school leaders, teachers, parents and students.
Teams were set up to evaluate the different areas of the school. A self-evaluation document was compiled from input from those teams.
"It was a difficult process to step back and look at our operations with a critical eye," said Zalacca. "Really getting down to soul searching of what you do and you discover there are some areas that you can improve and show growth."
"We worked so hard to look at ourselves and to able to say where we want to grow and what we want to do better. I think that is such an important and valuable thing for us to do," said Maria Wangler, vice principal for Curriculum and Instruction/Professional Development.
Some self studies can take 12 to 18 months. Christ the King started their evaluation in October 2017 and by October 2018 their self study was completed.
"We took a fast track on this," said Zalacca. "We focused all our time and energy to do this and to do this in a timely fashion."
After the self-evaluation document is prepared the school selects three areas for improvement and growth.
The Middle States Commission then sends a team of reviewers who are educators. The reviewers stay three days visiting the school. The team connects the schools self-evaluation document with what they observe in the school.
The review team writes a report and review that is sent to the commissioner of Middle States, where the determination of accreditation is made.
Accreditation is for seven years. "So we have a strategic plan to grow within those seven years," said Zalacca.
One of the areas the school wants to grow is their math scores. "To be able to stand back and look at yourself and say, you know what I can improve on this," said Wangler. "So as a whole our school worked really hard and I'm really excited that over the next few years we'll still be working on our growth."
"We have very specific action plans as to how we are going to do that each year," said Zalacca.
Another strategic plan is to put technology into the hands of the students. The school has a very specific action plan it is taking to achieve this. "You add that to what we believe we are already doing very well, so it shows the growth and really the stability of the school into the future," said Zalacca
"It shows the community that we are willing to improve in areas that we need to improve, said Zalacca. "It shows the community that we are ready to bring Christ the King into another level of academic and Catholic education for the kids."
Zalacca is pleased with the feedback from the Middle States Commission and the school community has already begun implementing the plan for growth and improvement.
"For me that's why I'm here, that's why I've chosen to be a principal in a Catholic school." said Zalacca.