Avon Grove High School has formed an Accreditation for Growth Planning Team, which will be responsible for spearheading the school's effort to renew its accreditation from the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association.AGHS received initial accreditation from the commission in 2001 through the AFG process. The chief purpose of the accreditation process is the improvement of education for youth by evaluating the degree to which a school has attained worthwhile outcomes set by its own staff and community.

Typically, once accreditation is earned it is renewed on a seven-year cycle that involves an intensive self-study process conducted by the school, an on-site three-day visit by a team of professional educators, and an on-site midpoint review.

AGHS teachers Domenic Martelli and Thomas Murray were named internal coordinators for the school's AFG reaccreditation process in early 2008. Martelli was a member of the original AFG Planning Team. Both teachers attended an AFG overview and reaccreditation workshop in late February.

Work began in August to form the AFG Planning Team. Members of the team will be responsible for conducting an appraisal, developing responses to questions, developing and revising student performance objectives for the next seven years, and developing or revising action plans for achieving those objectives.

The members of the AGHS AFG Planning Team are: Mr. Robert Weidenmuller, school board member; Dr. Margaret V. Sharp, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction; Mr. Thomas Alexander, high school principal; Mr. Gary Benasutti, assistant principal; Mr. Philip Matilla, assistant principal; Mr. Christopher Matsanka, assistant principal; Mr. Domenic Martelli, teacher/internal coordinator; Mr. Thomas Murray, teacher/internal coordinator; Ms. Jennifer Meyers, guidance counselor; Mr. Scott Searfoss, guidance counselor; Mr. Matthew Ricketts, teacher; Ms. Janet Worrell, teacher; Mr. Todd Wimer, teacher; Mr. Thomas Calvecchio, teacher; Ms. Dolores Aaronson, parent; Ms. Carol Crowder, parent; Mr. Timothy Hihn, businessperson; Ms. Barbara Mandich, parent; Ms. Michelle Pincin, parent; Ms.

Lynne Strawhecker, support staff; Amanda Collins, student; Maria del Carmen Lopez, student; and Eric Kukoda, student.

All accreditation and renewal decisions are made by the Commission on Secondary Schools, which is one of three commissions that function within the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Commission on Secondary Schools serves both public and nonpublic schools in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. In addition, it accredits schools in the Caribbean as well as various locations around the world. The Commission meets twice a year to vote on all accreditation matters.

According to the Commission on Secondary Schools, accreditation is the affirmation that a school provides a quality of education that the community has a right to expect and the education world endorses. When the Commission on Secondary Schools accredits a school, it certifies that the school has met the prescribed qualitative standards of the Middle States Association within the terms of the school's own stated philosophy and objectives.

As part of the reaccredidation self-study process, the high school's planning team is surveying current Avon Grove High School students, teachers, parents and members of the community to determine how well the school currently meets the Commission's 12 Standards for Accreditation of Schools.

The standards are qualitative statements that reflect research-based best practices for schools. The standards address every aspect of a school's education program, its services and activities, and all of the foundational elements necessary for a quality education program. The standards are organized into two broad categories, including six foundational standards and six operational standards.

Parents of students of all ages and members of the Avon Grove community are invited to take the parent survey, which is available at www.avongrove.org. The survey will be posted through mid-December.

For more information on the Accreditation for Growth process, please see the Middle States Association's description of this strategic planning protocol available at www.cssmsa.org. This Web site also contains more details on what accreditation means, the role of the Commission on Secondary Schools, and details on the 12 Standards for Accreditation.

For a timeline and more information on Avon Grove High School's reaccredidation process, see the high school Web site at www.avongrove.org/aghs and click on "Accreditation for Growth" under Quick Links.

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