The Middle States Association Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS) has announced that The Glen Mills Schools in Delaware County earned accreditation, the gold standard for measuring and advancing school improvement. Based in Philadelphia, the Middle States Association is the worldwide leader in accreditation and school improvement. For over 125 years, Middle States has been helping school leaders establish and reach their goals, develop strategic plans, promote staff development and advance student achievement.
Since September, 2016, The Glen Mills Schools has been working toward Middle States Association accreditation. In January, 2017, Glen Mills received an MSA-CESS Offer of Candidacy, which initiated the process. During the summer of 2017, staff, student, parent and stakeholder surveys were completed and analyzed. The results provided information for the Project Action Team to complete a thorough self-study and action plan for growth and improvement at Glen Mills. The final step in the process was a visit by Middle States Accreditation officers to evaluate Glen Mills’ ability to complete the plan for growth and school improvement. This is essentially an industry stamp of approval to validate our educational programs to the jurisdictions we serve. In November, 2017 three evaluators came to the campus to observe, interview and evaluate staff, students and board members as part of the process. Glen Mills was given a “clean recommendation,” which means the school had no monitoring issues or revisions to make. On April 17, 2018, The Glen Mills Schools was formally accredited.
Dr. Randy Ireson, Executive Director of The Glen Mills Schools, said “we are honored to receive our accreditation from The Middle States Association Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools. This validates The Glen Mills Schools continued commitment to providing the highest level of services to the youth we serve.”
Accreditation is a multifaceted evaluation process that schools voluntarily use to demonstrate they are meeting a defined set of research-based performance standards. The 12 Middle States Standards for Accreditation are: mission; governance and leadership; school improvement planning; finances; facilities; school organization and staff; health and safety; educational program; assessment and evidence of student learning; student services; student life and activities; and information resources.
The accreditation lasts for seven years and requires a mid-term report in the third year of accreditation. The Glen Mills Schools will continue to work through the Action Plan to make changes and improvements over that seven-year period.
CARF International is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services. Through accreditation, CARF assists service providers in improving the quality of their services, demonstrating value, and meeting internationally recognized organizational and program standards.
The accreditation process applies sets of standards to service areas and business practices during an on-site survey. Accreditation, however, is an ongoing process, signaling to the public that a service provider is committed to continuously improving services, encouraging feedback, and serving the community. Accreditation also demonstrates a provider's commitment to enhance its performance, manage its risk, and distinguish its service delivery.
Achieving accreditation requires a service provider to commit to quality improvement, focus on the unique needs of each person the provider serves, and monitor the results of services. A service provider begins the accreditation process with an internal examination of its program and business practices. Then the provider requests an on-site survey that will be conducted by a team of expert practitioners selected by CARF. During the survey, the provider must demonstrate that it conforms to a series of rigorous and internationally recognized CARF standards. Based on the results of the survey, CARF prepares a written report of the provider’s strengths and areas for improvement. If a provider has sufficiently demonstrated its conformance to the standards, it earns CARF accreditation.
From September 5 – 7, 2018, two representatives from CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) arrived on campus to evaluate our residential program. The in depth evaluation included student interviews, staff interviews, reviewing student/staff files, touring campus, reviewing organizational documents, and our compliance in approximately 1900 CARF standards. On October 4, 2018 we received word that we would be accredited within the Children and Youth Services in the two core areas of Behavioral Consultation and Residential Treatment for three years.
The accreditation report we received is intended to support a continuation of quality improvement. It contained comments on the organization’s strengths as well as recommendations for improvement. In response to these recommendations, the school is currently working on submitting a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) to demonstrate our ongoing efforts to improve. We have taken the approach that completing our QIP is an additional opportunity to enhance the quality, value, and outcomes of our services.