School year begins with expected accreditation of CHS

School year begins with expected accreditation of CHS

CUMBERLAND - More and more professional development and staff collaboration, along with a review of technology needs throughout the school, are common themes running through a preliminary accreditation report on Cumberland High School that looked at seven distinguishing aspects, from core values to curriculum, instruction and assessments.

In a lengthy, in-depth review process that began with the school staff's own self-study and eventually involved a visiting team for a week, New England Association of Schools & Colleges developed a list of commendations and recommendations contained in a 57-page report.

Final notice about NEASC accreditation is expected in October.

(For more news about the upcoming school year, see today's insert produced by the Cumberland School Department.)

While the final verdict is still coming, students and staff are returning to a school next Wednesday that earned plenty of praise. Ten years ago, CHS found itself on probation after an accreditation team found technology at Cumberland High School "extremely limited," the physical plant "poorly maintained," and the town's financial commitment to the school so poor that it "seriously hinders the effectiveness of the educational process."

This year's team has recommendations for improvements but none so sweeping or negative.

It applauds the scheduling change that allows more departmental meetings and collaboration to develop common course assessments, standardized rubrics and better communication with parents.

Also noted was the introduction of the behavior program, called PBIS, plans for a freshman academy, and the "high expectations for student learning."

Teams also found cross-curriculum collaboration, and a faculty commitment to incorporating core values, beliefs and learning expectations.

The team is recommending such things as:

That the school improve funding for the library/media center to update the inventory of books, media and technology, expand technology based student learning opportunities, review current technology in labs and classrooms to initiate replacement where needed while providing professional development.

On learning, it wants CHS to provide added information to parents and the community on the availability of social media and the student information portal.

The report notes that CHS has 1,428 students, with 757 males and 671 females. Some 97 percent Caucasian. Currently, the entire school system serves 5,000 students and there are 251 attending charter school.

Some 54 percent of graduates attend four-year colleges and 31 percent go to two-year schools.

Principal Alan Tenreiro is expected to review the report with the School Committee at tonight's meeting, Aug. 22.