MONTEBELLO–Armenian Mesrobian School in Montebello received official word in July from the Accrediting Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges that the school received the maximum accreditation ranking of six years. That ranking indicates the number of years a school has before it must be evaluated again. Private schools–however–are not required by law to subject themselves to the statewide accreditation process. For Mesrobian–this challenge was voluntary.
The current process–Focus on Learning–is considered the most rigorous evaluation procedure to ever be utilized in accrediting California’s schools. Mesrobian in its desire to take advantage of the school improvement objectives inherent in the accreditation process and to maintain the highest level of excellence possible spent several years completing the many steps necessary to write the required self-evaluation report. Countless hours of staff development on a wide variety of educational topics were undertaken in addition to the overwhelming amount of time spent by committees and individuals in responding to the criteria.
Instructional practices had clearly been modified to reflect current research-based methodologies. Also in evidence was the use of lessons and activities designed to foster critical thinking. All in all there was much evidence of powerful teaching and learning at the Armenian Mesrobian School. The committee also found that Mesrobian offered a good variety of programs leading to post-secondary options as well as programs for students with special needs.
Thanks to the combined efforts of the administration–the entire staff–students–parents–alumni–the church–all other stakeholders–and the community at large the Armenian Mesrobian School is ready for the twenty-first century. The action plan to move into that uncertain future is in place–and the next step has begun–the development and implementation of an accountability system for monitoring the accomplishment of that plan and many challenges yet to come.