accreditation

What to look for in a school: a series

In this short blog series, we'll be helping prospective parents navigate the process of choosing an independent/private school. This week, we'll talk about some general characteristics of a good independent school, and in the coming weeks, we'll focus specifically on how to choose a preschool, lower school, middle school, and high school.  

What are some general characteristics of a good independent school?

  • Accreditation
    Look for a school that is accredited by a regional, national, or international body aligned with the school's philosophy. This guarantees that a school goes through a rigorous self-study and outside evaluations on a regular cycle, ensuring best practices and ongoing growth. Green Meadow is accredited by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA), the NY State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS), and the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN).
     
  • Curriculum
    Is the school aligned with an particular educational philosophy? A guiding philosophy helps the school stay focused and true to its mission in a world where the educational landscape shifts constantly. Green Meadow is a Waldorf school, founded on a tried-and-true, developmentally appropriate, interdisciplinary philosophy developed in 1919 by Rudolf Steiner and constantly evolving to meet the needs of today's students. Read about Waldorf graduates here to see the outcomes of a Waldorf Education, and stay tuned: a new survey of Waldorf graduates from 1990-2017 was just completed and results will be published in the coming months.
     
  • Facilities
    Does the school have ample space for students in classrooms and outdoors? Is there good natural light, and beautiful spaces that inspire contemplation and learning? A gym and field for games, sports, creative play, and other movement? Practice rooms for private instrument lessons? An auditorium for concerts and plays? Lab facilities for science classes? A quiet, inviting, well-ordered library? Spaces for students to gather informally? Take a look at Green Meadow's facilities here. You can also see a gallery of classroom photos on each of these pages: preschool, lower school, and high school.
     
  • History, traditions, and unique programs
    How old is the school? How many teachers and staff have worked there for 10 years or more? Do students stay at the school from preschool through 12th grade? Are there traditions that build a sense of community life and belonging? At Green Meadow, the Rose Ceremony that opens and closes each year, curricular trips including the Third Grade Farm Trip, community events such as the Eighth Grade Talent Show, and unique opportunities including senior projects, senior internships, and our international exchange program are just a few aspects of campus life that excite and engage our students. 
     
  • Spirit of inquiry
    Do you feel a buzz on campus, an excitement about learning? Are there campus lectures and other cultural events for students and parents? Is there a school newsletter or newspaper that showcases current events, discusses the school's philosophy, and alerts the community to what's happening on campus? Green Meadow has a full annual calendar of community education events, brings speakers to campus frequently for conversations with students, and publishes The Bulletin bimonthly and the Alumni Magazine twice a year, along with an annual yearbook and an annual student-produced literary magazine, The Burning Bush.  
     
  • Teacher qualifications and engagement
    Are teachers at the school required to be certified beyond state teaching certification? What percentage of teachers are actively engaged in their field outside of school? Do the teachers lead clubs, coach sports, offer office hours for students, or engage in other after-school activities? How accessible are they to parents? At Green Meadow, several of our faculty have advanced degrees, all have received training and/or a degree in Waldorf Education, and they are actively engaged with students and parents through community activities like service learning, outside the school day. 

GMWS granted accreditation by NYSAIS and AWSNA

Green Meadow Waldorf School is pleased to announce that we were recommended for accreditation by the NYSAIS Commission on Accreditation and approved by the NY State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) Board of Trustees at their meeting at their January 2017 meeting. In a joint accreditation process, the school was also re-accredited by AWSNA (the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America).

NYSAIS is authorized by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, “to evaluate and accredit nursery schools, kindergartens, elementary and secondary schools operating within the State of New York and, as concerns New York corporations with branches in other states and countries, to evaluate and accredit those consistent with the laws, rules and regulations of host states and countries.”  Additionally, NYSAIS is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools’ (NAIS) Commission on Accreditation which includes nineteen regional and state accrediting agencies.  As a member of the NAIS Commission on Accreditation, the NYSAIS accreditation process is recognized across the United States and throughout the world.

This joint accreditation represents the culmination of an in-depth self-study that includes an exhaustive internal and external examination of all aspects of the school community including mission and culture, governance, educational program, student and student services, finance and school operations, parents, faculty and non-teaching personnel, community relations, and communications.  Through a process of continual self-improvement that includes visiting teams of professionals from outside the school community, Green Meadow Waldorf School has fulfilled the accreditation requirements for an independent school.

According to Dr. Mark W. Lauria, NYSAIS Executive Director, “the rigorous accreditation process that each NYSAIS school undergoes represents a significant commitment of time and energy allowing the school and NYSAIS to thoroughly exam all facets of the school as part of the continuous improvement that is needed to best serve students and their families. Green Meadow Waldorf School is to be commended for their participation in this important process of self-improvement.”

Pedagogical Administrator Bill Pernice said, “We are grateful to have received this re-accreditation, an important confirmation of our work with our students. This recognition from NYSAIS and AWSNA affirms the commitment of our faculty and staff and the value of the Waldorf approach. As a 67-year-old school, we appreciate the opportunity the accreditation process offers us to reflect on our programs and policies and re-dedicate ourselves to our mission of educating students who will make a positive difference in the world.”

About NYSAIS:

The New York State Association of Independent Schools was founded in 1947 by eleven schools and has grown to over 195 member schools and organizations incorporated in the State of New York.  The NYSAIS mission is:

The New York State Association of Independent Schools promotes the independence, well-being, and public understanding of, and respect for, New York Independent Schools and serves as an accrediting body charter by the New York State Board of Regents.

About AWSNA:

The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) is a non­profit membership organization of independent Waldorf Schools and Institutes in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

The Association was founded in 1968 to support schools and institutes. Our vision is to strengthen and nurture Waldorf Education and to advance Waldorf principles worldwide. Today there are over 900 Waldorf schools in 83 countries. In North America, there are greater than 160 member schools and 14 teacher education institutes.

AWSNA's mission is to support schools through collaborative regional work, professional and resource development, accreditation, community outreach, and advocacy. The Association’s work is based on four core values. These values are:

  • Evoke and develop Quality and Integrity in everything we attempt and achieve
  • Promote Strength and Resourcefulness in every school community
  • Foster, encourage, and support inspired Leadership and Colleagueship
  • Work towards conscious and collaborative human Community and Relationships                                                                                       

For more information about NYSAIS or NYSAIS accreditation, please go to: www.nysais.org.

For more information about AWSNA, please go to: www.waldorfeducation.org/awsna.