Pinecrest School received its five-year reaccreditation in January 2014. Its accrediting body is AdvancED (the umbrella organization for the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Council on School Improvement – SACS CASI); AdvancED accredits more than 32,000 public and private schools in all 50 states as well as 70 other countries.
Institutions seeking to gain or retain accreditation must meet AdvancED standards, demonstrate high levels of student performance and provide evidence of stakeholder satisfaction with the operation of the institution. The accreditation standards focus on conditions and processes within a system that impact student performance and organizational effectiveness.
Institutions participate in an external review by a team of highly qualified evaluators who examine the institution's adherence and commitment to the accreditation criteria. The external review is a rigorous process that includes examination of evidence and relevant data, interviews with stakeholders, and observations of instruction, learning, and operations. A lengthy self-assessment report must also be completed and submitted one month prior to the external review visit. Pinecrest submitted its self-assessment report in October 2014 and hosted its external review in November 2014.
Pinecrest’s visiting external review team was made up of three experienced educators from Virginia – a retired public elementary school principal and assistant superintendent; a current independent school Head and former public school teacher; and a current preschool director. During their visit, the visiting team spent time (at least twenty minutes per observation) in eleven different classrooms (this included some enrichment classes), and they interviewed the Head of School, nine teachers, five students, six parents, and eight members of the Board of Trustees. They also reviewed Pinecrest’s self-assessment report and looked at various pieces of evidence and artifacts from the school.
We feel the visiting team truly saw the best of Pinecrest School and the very best of the people who make it that way, and we are very grateful for this positive experience to continue to grow and improve our school. We are very proud that the “powerful practices” noted in the reports were so evident throughout the visit to people who do not have any background or experience with Pinecrest. Finally, we feel the external review team’s statements and observations validate our mission and our work ("the Pinecrest way" as the team termed it)!
Positive Comments Shared During Visiting Team’s Exit Report on 11/14/2013:
- "Classroom instruction is outstanding."
- "Everyone talks about highly engaged and critical thinking skills, but we really saw that."
- "There was collaboration among students."
- "A lot of schools say they are like family but it's really true here."
- "Among all of the adults, there is an expectation that all of the students are everyone’s responsibility and the kids get that too."
- "The biggest conduct problem that the kids could identify was sarcasm."
- "Scores for the classroom observations were outstanding."
- "We saw the same commitment to rigor as to the whole child."
- "The true highlight of the visit was time spent in the classrooms."
- "There is an incredible level of student engagement and it’s really inspiring."
- "There is a bottom line expectation of quality across the board."
- "There is incredible learning and incredible student engagement here."
- "Your mission statement defines the school’s culture. Everybody knows what it is.
It’s just so obvious."
- "It was an impressive thing to see the kids’ commitment to collaboration."
- “the Pinecrest way”
- "All of you have accepted responsibility for all of the students here whether you teach them or not."
- "Classroom practice really supports the mission."
- "There are many great things at this school."
- "Great job of using data at the classroom and student level."
- "The work we observed in your classrooms was truly inspiring and a reflection of your wonderful leadership."
- "It is my privilege to spend time with professionals like you and the Pinecrest family."
Powerful Practices Presented in Visiting Team’s Exit Report on 11/14/2013:
- A purpose statement that is well understood by all stakeholders and which both defines the school culture and drives the school’s work
- A commitment to collaboration among all stakeholders
- The wide range of opportunities for meaningful involvement that the school provides for its families
- A school staff that facilitates student advocacy through a variety of structures and experiences
- The high visibility and easy access of the school’s leadership
- Personalized learning along with interventions that address the whole child are evident in all classrooms