A Message from President Armbrister
Good News about the Middle States Accreditation Process Adds to the Holiday Spirit at Girard!
As we enter the heart of the holiday season, all members of the Girard Family have something else to be grateful for.
We have reached a successful conclusion to a process aimed at renewal of our accreditation by the Middle States Association.
The Middle States Visiting Team arrived on Girard’s campus Monday, December 2, for four days of meetings, observations, conversations and research. The five-person team represented various types of schools and school positions as well as many years of experience.
At 3:00 p.m., on Day 4, the team chair, Frank Radzievich, presented a "brief glimpse" of the team's findings to a rapt audience consisting of Girard teachers, residential advisors, students, administrators and staff. At the conclusion of his report, Radzievich announced that the Middle States Visiting Team recommended re-accreditation of Girard College, unanimously and with enthusiasm!
Radzievich’s oral report included specific comments about what we do well and where we need improvement. Overall, his report was positive.
I was proud to listen to his glowing remarks about our happy students, hard-working teachers, dedicated staff, clean campus, and widely embraced mission and vision. It was gratifying to hear the rare and impressive fact that – of all of our internal constituents – Girard parents gave the school the highest marks! He repeatedly praised our students, noting particularly that they value the education they are receiving, the various relationships they have with adults in the Girard community and the school’s environment of real acceptance.
In highlighting organizational goals, Radzievich agreed with those we had identified in our preparation for the visit: restructuring governance, improving campus-wide security systems and fully developing and implementing a vertically and horizontally aligned standards-based curriculum. He also suggested that teams of teachers and administrators come together to improve communication between these two bodies.
In about eight weeks, a formal, written report will be submitted to the Middle States Commission.
I want to acknowledge the work that went into preparing for our Middle States visit. The Middle States Planning Team was led by Vice President Ava Willis-Barksdale, Director of Admission Tammie LeClair and Upper School Assistant Dean Ed Gallagher. Their team of 34 individuals included parents, teachers, residential advisors, board members, alumni and administrators whose work spanned 24 months.
I also appreciate all Girard families, students and staff who responded to our survey in 2012 and provided a great deal of information and many opinions that formed a basis for our plan for improvement, a requirement of the Middle States process. (Read our self-study here …).
At one point, Radzievich described the Girard College community as a group defined by “heart, pride, collegiality and passion.” I second that characterization and am honored to work in such an extraordinary organization.
I hope you enjoy the peace and joy of the holiday season.
Clarence D. Armbrister