Smithfield High School keeps accreditation, but facility comes up short

Smithfield High School keeps accreditation, but facility comes up short

SMITHFIELD – Smithfield High School achieved a passing grade from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges in passing four of five standards to secure 10-year accreditation. But the school failed to meet standards in learning resource standards, or facilities.

SHS Principal Dan Kelley said he was not surprised when he learned that the high school missed the mark on standards, and said there are many necessary capital projects needed at the high school that prevented meeting that standard.

Kelley said even with the security upgrades to the front area and offices of the high school and other improvements throughout the school, the building still needs repairs. The town committed funding to improving the auditorium, but the building still needs a number of upgrades.

Needed improvements cited in NEASC reports include upgrades to the gym locker rooms and thermostats to prevent disparities in temperature between classrooms.

Kelley said the School Committee needs to continue to advocate with the town and community for the needs in the schools. He conceded that asking for additional support may be difficult with the ongoing $45 million elementary school upgrade project.

Smithfield High School met the standards for learning culture, student learning, professional practices and learning support.

Kelley said there is a continued need for prioritizing curriculum, with alignments between grades K-8 and K-12. He said improvements in curriculum need to continue in the right direction.

“We’ve done a lot of great work here already,” he said.

NEASC staff were complimentary about graduation presentation and portfolios, as well as the grading reform process.

After a three-year process, which includes a visit to the school, discussion with staff, self-reflection and reporting, Kelley said he anticipates receiving official word on accreditation next week.

NEASC accreditation is considered the “gold standard” for school and educational review, reflecting high standards for all levels of education. Though the NEASC has not sent the final approval letter to SHS, Kelley said he does not anticipate additional recommendations.