Membership in the Association of Christian Schools International provides Triad Baptist Academy and Preschool involvement in programs and services that aid our educational ministry.
Update: April 25
Over the last few weeks I have reported about the Accreditation Report by the External Review Team that was given to us in March. Today, I will address the final section which is Improvement Priorities.
When a school is reviewed, there are always areas the team finds that can be improved. Hopefully, the school has already identified those areas before the team arrives. TBCA had identified the same areas the team found and have already begun to find ways to improve these areas. An Improvement Priority means the school will report on the progress each year of how the improvement plans are being implemented, and before the accreditation team returns (in five years) this area will no longer be seen as a weakness. TBCA's two improvement priorities are:
1. Create professional learning communities within the school and implement a plan of professional development for all teachers that includes intentional instruction in biblical worldview integration, analysis of assessment data to affect changes in curriculum, and instructional strategies to reach all learners.
2. Establish a timeline for implementation of the current technology plan, and continue to monitor the timeline to ensure its execution.
For the first Improvement Priority our goal is: All teachers will participate in a professional learning community.
Professional learning communities are groups of teachers who come together to learn about a specific issue or practice, brainstorm ways that these ideas can be put into practice and then monitor the improvement in the classrooms involved. These groups are somewhat fluid and can involve a whole faculty or only two or three teachers. The specific PLC we are implementing for the fall will include the entire faculty. The specific goal will be to focus on interpreting external reports (standardized achievement tests such as Terra Nova, SAT, ACT, etc.), gather external research and collect internal research to improve instruction and enhance student learning. We will begin this summer by collectively reading a book on professional learning communities and how they work effectively. In the fall we will begin to explore ways we can take the data derived from such testing and improve our teaching to enhance student learning. Data driven decisions are essential for improving instruction.
For the second Improvement Priority the goal is: TBCA will develop a state-of-the-art media center to be used by all students and faculty.
The emphasis for this work will be electronic resources that can be used by all students and teachers, but especially the students in the middle and high school. Last year, as many of you know, we bought all new computers for the computer lab and increased the number of computers in the media center. Media centers have changed dramatically over the last five years. Almost all sources for research at the middle and high school level are now electronic. But these sources are many, and the quality varies. At TBCA we want to be sure that we use money wisely, so we are beginning to explore what resources are available and what would best suit the needs of our students and teachers. Money is always a factor, and thanks to the generosity of our families who have supported the fall and spring fundraisers we have money to begin this process. We will plan keep you abreast as decisions are made and purchases occur.
I hope from these emails you have received information about accreditation, the work the staff has accomplished and the goals we have before us. As we settle into the work of implementing and improving what is in place, please pray that everyone at TBCA will allow God to lead us in His work at the Academy.
Report on the Accreditation Process for TBCA
We are entering the final stages of the accreditation process. As most of you know, TBCA faculty and staff have worked diligently over the last three years toward accreditation by ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) and AdvancED (a secular accrediting agency that partners with ACSI). We are very excited to enter this final stage. On Sunday, February 28th the visiting team will arrive on campus. The team is Dr. Terry Moffit (Central Academy at Lake Park), Brenda Lidbom (Calvary Baptist Day School) and Dr. Bryan Wolfe (Winston-Salem Christian School). They will be on campus through Wednesday examining all of the supporting documentation that has been written, visiting classrooms, meeting with faculty, staff, students, parents, and school board and conducting a myriad of other tasks. As they leave on Wednesday, the team members will have a brief meeting with the administrators to discuss their findings. A document will then be submitted to ACSI and AdvancED for consideration. We should hear from these agencies mid to late summer that we have been approved. Several people have asked me if I am concerned that we might not be accredited. I give them a resounding, "No!" as an answer. Before coming to the school, the accreditation team examines much of the work that has been done. A team will only visit if they believe a school is ready to be accredited. Just pray that while the team is here that everything will go smoothly for them, and that they may feel blessed by their time at TBCA.
Sometime in the spring, we will have the accreditation documents available for parents to view. You will receive information about this in the Titan Tidings. Everyone is welcome to come and view the work that has been done!
As I mentioned in my last post, TBCA received three Powerful Practices in our accreditation report. Accreditation reports have two different categories for improvements. The first is "Opportunity for Improvement." The External Review Team can make suggestions of ways that they see the school can improve, but this is not a mandate and no follow up information goes to the accrediting agency. The other category for improvement is "Improvement Priority" which comes with the expectation that the school will improve in this area before the next accreditation visit in five years. Also, steps that are being taken are reported each year to ACSI. During the accreditation process leading up to the team's visit, administrators hope the school can discover the areas for improvement and address these in the Continuous Improvement Plan that is part of the accreditation documentation. Fortunately, TBCA did recognize and address the same issues that the team found.
Today, I would like to discuss the Opportunities for Improvement that we were given.
Establish a school-wide focus on the growth of student spiritual life and Christian culture.
Evidence and Rationale: By focusing on the continued worldview development of students there will be a stronger long-term impact on the lives of students. Based on student and teacher interviews it would help the culture of the school to proactively instruct students in the biblical worldview as a key aspect of their Christian faith.
From our perspective we had written the following objective and strategy: All teachers will receive additional intentional training in biblical integration/worldview thinking. By participating in ongoing training of biblical integration and worldview thinking, TBCA will stay true to its mission and vision. Several activities are planned to strengthen this area. God has already provided one opportunity during the fall workweek!
Since this is the heart of who TBCA is, this is area that we always wish to strengthen.
2. Implement a formal advocacy structure for middle school students.
Evidence and rationale: TBCA depends on teachers to build strong relationships with students so that each student is known by at least one adult who can advocate for him or her.
Our Continuous Improvement Plan says "All TBCA middle school students will participate in a small group for mentoring." The components of this are still being determined, but in the fall we will be rolling out a program for all of our middle school students to be mentored spiritually, academically and socially by staff members.
3. Provide support services for students in the areas of learning needs, counseling, and college and career.
Evidence and rationale: As TBCA increases in number of students, the need for guidance services beyond those provided by classroom teachers increases. The Head of School, who has a background as a guidance counselor, is currently meeting those needs, but the school needs to investigate ways to provide college and career counseling services in the future.
Again, we had identified this as a need that will be addressed in the near future. Many opportunities are available for us to provide these services.
Update: March 24
Everyone likes to start with the positive! At the end of an accreditation visit the External Review Team makes three different types of comments. Powerful practices are those areas where a school shows outstanding accomplishments. Only a few schools will reach this performance level, although many schools have one or two powerful practices. TBCA received three powerful practices!
TBCA has implemented "Adventures in Parenting," a series of parent education programs.
Over the last year we have had three parent nights featuring three of the pastors from TBC. There are two more planned for the spring. At each of these, parents and other attendees have learned how they can be a more effective parent with very practical ideas based on Scriptural principles. If you have not had a chance to attend, mark your calendars and join us at the next one. Because this fourth one had to be rescheduled, the date will be announced soon. These sessions are not just a powerful practice for the school but for our parents also!
The school board has given the school leadership autonomy to meet goals for achievement and instruction and to manage the day-to-day operations of the school effectively.
Over the years TBCA has developed a governance policy style of leadership. That means the school board sets overarching policies for the school, and the administration is charged with the daily operation of the school. The board maintains a clear distinction between its role and responsibilities and those of the leadership. The head of school reports directly to the board and is responsible for carrying out the polices that are put in place by the board.
TBCA demonstrates a strong commitment to facilities offering a clean, healthy, safe environment for all students and staff.
This is the standard for which I felt sure we would receive a powerful practice. God has blessed us with a beautiful facility that is a healthy, safe environment for our students and faculty. Triad Baptist Church's leadership has been forward thinking in the needs of the church and the school. Even now plans are being considered that will allow the school to use part of the new land purchase of 92 acres to enhance our students' learning. To God Be the Glory!
Video Up-date, February 2016:
Up-date, January 2016: Accreditation is just around the corner! The External Team will be visiting TBCA on February 29th and March 1st and 2nd. Last minute details are being finalized by the administrative team and the school board. We plan to have all documentation completed and uploaded for the team to see by the end of January. The largest component still to be completed is the surveys from parents, teachers and students. These should be available to us in late January. Please take time to fill out the survey when we contact you as a stakeholder. We must have a percentage of surveys returned, and this will be your opportunity to give us feedback in some important areas. When the team comes, they will be visiting classrooms, talking with different stakeholder groups and writing their findings. As they complete the visit, the team will meet with the administrative team to let us know some of their most important findings and will also inform us if they will be recommending TBCA for accreditation by ACSI and ADvancED. Those two groups will meet in the summer for a final vote, and we should hear something before school begins in August. I am confident that we will be awarded accreditation! A special thank you to the many people who have worked hard during the last three years to get us to this day.
Biblical Integration: We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and that it should play a central role in Christian education. We strive to make that happen by incorporating biblical truths throughout our academic, aesthetic and athletic endeavors. We believe that if the Bible is not woven throughout the curriculum of the Academy, then we have lost our focus. We aspire to stay the course of maintaining a biblical worldview and lay a solid foundation for the future generation.