Under the supervision of Assistant Secretary of Quality and Effectiveness, the Accreditation Specialist provides technical assistance to teachers, school principals, and specialists in the State Departments of Education regarding policy and procedures for administration of the FSM School Accreditation System Procedure Manual. It also analyzes and reports on accreditation status by state and nation.
ACCREDITATION PROCEDURES MANUAL
This FSM-SAS Procedures Manual – 2018, is an updated version of the first draft of FSM-SAS Regulations and its Procedures Manual that was introduced in 2011. For almost seven years since its promulgation in 2011, the manual was never reviewed while field experience showed some challenges in its effective implementation. Over the years, such challenges and difficulties accumulated. For example, significant delays and different time frame for accreditation from State to State, different level of understanding among evaluators, concerns regarding consistency and comparability of accreditation from one State to the other was some of the concerns raised by its users and administrators. All these inconsistencies and challenges in the current school accreditation system were highlighted in the National School Accreditation Report 2017, including a strong recommendation for the review and revision of the procedures manual.
Title 40 of the FSM code requires that all schools in the FSM meet required minimum standards and undergo a process of accreditation. The purpose of accreditation is to ensure that all schools provide for students an environment that is conducive to learning. The FSM School Accreditation System is designed to help schools improve the educational services and opportunities they provide for students. The ultimate goal of the FSM School Accreditation System is to raise the level of student academic performance.
Compliance with the FSM Schools Accreditation
Issuance of Certificates
a. A school shall be accredited if it is in possession of a valid National Special Certificate of Achievement or a valid National Certificate of Accreditation or if placed under Special Measures.
b. The Secretary of Education shall issue a National Special Certificate of Achievement to elementary and secondary schools which comply with or exceed all FSM Schools Accreditation Standards and requirements as outlined in the FSM Schools Accreditation Procedures Manual, based on appropriate reports from the State Director of Education. A National Special Certificate of Achievement shall be valid for a period of three years from the date of issue.
c. Schools in possession of a National Special Certificate of Achievement shall not be required to undergo an annual evaluation but shall complete an annual self study.
d. The Secretary of Education shall issue a National Certificate of Accreditation to respective elementary and secondary schools which substantially comply with accreditation standards, as outlined in the FSM Schools Accreditation Procedures Manual, and which have a plan or program in effect to remedy any defects or shortcomings within an agreed upon period of time, based on appropriate reports from the State Director of Education. A National Certificate of Achievement shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of issue.
e. Schools in possession of a National Certificate of Achievement shall be required to undergo an annual evaluation and shall complete an annual self study.
b. A recommendation for technical assistance will be made for elementary and secondary schools placed under Special Measures. The Secretary of Education shall consult with the respective State Directors of Education for appropriate technical assistance to be provided by both National and State Governments to elementary and secondary schools placed under Special Measures. Schools placed under Special Measures will be required to produce a one-year recovery or turnaround plan.
c. After one year under Special Measures, and annually thereafter, for a maximum period of three years, the SSET and/or the NSET shall evaluate the school using Stage One of the FSM Schools Accreditation Process. Schools under Special Measures which satisfy the requirements of Stage One of the FSM Schools Accreditation Process, as outlined in the FSM Schools Accreditation Procedures Manual, shall progress to Stage Two.
d. If, after a period of three years has elapsed, a school remains under Special Measures, the school will be declared by the Secretary of Education as a Non-accredited School. The Secretary of Education shall advise the State Director of Education to close any Non-accredited School.
e. The State Director of Education shall make arrangements for the relocation of students from any Non-accredited School to an accredited school. The State Director of Education shall make any necessary arrangements for the redeployment of staff from a non-accredited school, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
Standard 1: Leadership
The principal has very high expectations for students and teachers. The principal ensures that a minimum of 180 instructional days are delivered and can provide documentary evidence. The mandatory number of instructional hours is delivered (Grade 1&2: 3 hours and 36 minutes: Grades 3-12: 4 hours 15 minutes per day). Corporal punishment is not allowed. Students are responsible and student behavior is very orderly and respectful towards adults and other students.
The principal has a clear philosophy of education and is an expert in curriculum and instruction. The principal manages a program of teacher collaboration for instructional planning. The principal conducts weekly planning meetings with teachers and staff to develop and review curriculum, syllabi, programs of study and lesson plans and ensures that there is continuity and progression between grades throughout the school.
The principal is involved in a program of continuous professional development and appraisal by supervisors, board members or peers. The principal keeps up to date with innovations in education. The principal creates many opportunities for teachers to engage in continuous professional development activities. The principal mentors teachers and conducts formal and informal training at the school.
The principal conducts a regular program of teacher performance appraisals. There are regular, structured classroom observations and written reports are produced. Feedback on observations is constructive and designed to improve teaching and learning. The principal coaches teachers and conducts model lessons where necessary. The principal encourages teachers to evaluate their own performance based on student learning outcomes.
All teachers prepare standardized long, medium or short term lesson plans that provide adequate guidance for teaching and learning activities. Plans include appropriate learning activities including differentiated activities for different learners, including those with IEPs.
All plans include sequenced, measurable learning objectives from the National Curriculum.
Assessment is planned and integrated into lessons and is based on observable and measurable criteria. Student assessment records are used for planning purposes.
All teachers create high quality classroom learning environments. The classrooms and other teaching areas are rich in print and visual displays that are related to the current learning objectives. There are designated areas of the classrooms where topical displays, book corners or activity centers are located. A wide range of student work of very high quality is neatly displayed and clearly labeled.
All teachers manage their time effectively to maximize students’ learning opportunities. All lessons start and finish on time.
Students are on-task and engaged in learning activities for most of the lesson time. A variety or teaching and learning strategies are used, including strategies suitable for students with IEPs. Student work demonstrates higher-order thinking, inquiry, observation, analysis and problem solving skills.
All teachers actively participate with enthusiasm in a school-based appraisal program. All teachers, individually or in groups, reflect upon and evaluate their performance and participate in professional development. Teachers regularly make thoughtful and accurate written evaluations of lesson effectiveness based on children’s learning outcomes.
Standard 3: Data Management
Comprehensive and accurate school data is collected on a regular schedule. Daily attendance data for students and teachers is collected and analyzed to produce daily, weekly and annual percentages reports for individuals, classes and the whole school. Reports for the last three years or more are available. Action is taken early to address attendance and drop-out issues.
School data is collected on a regular schedule. Daily attendance data for students is collected and analyzed to produce daily, weekly and annual percentage reports. Reports for the last three years are available.
Action is taken to address attendance and drop-out issues.
All school data is centrally located and carefully filed. Files are backed-up or duplicated and are securely held. All data is checked, cleaned and updated at least weekly. Data is provided to the Department of Education in a timely manner in both electronic and hardcopy format. Student IEPs are carefully filed, regularly consulted by class teachers and regularly updated.
School data is centrally located and carefully filed. Data is regularly checked, cleaned and updated.
Data is provided to the Department of Education in a timely manner.
Student IEPs are carefully filed and often consulted by class teachers.
All student performance data, including classroom assessment, teacher observations, student portfolios and test data, is analyzed by all teachers to identify individual students’ strengths and weaknesses, including students with IEPs. Regular assessment meetings are held by teacher teams. Data analysis is used by teachers to adapt their teaching strategies and programs to meet individual student needs.
All student performance data is collected and analyzed by all teachers to identify individual students’ strengths and weaknesses, including students with IEPs. Data analysis is used by teachers to adapt their teaching strategies and programs to meet individual student needs.
An extensive collection of school data is used to guide all management decision making. A full range of data, including findings from surveys, is shown and used in the School Improvement Plan. Data analysis is used by the principal to support management decisions, such as teacher deployment, student placement and resource allocation.
Standard 4: National Curriculum Standards, Benchmarks and Student Learning Outcomes
Written school policy states that English Language Arts, Vernacular Language Arts, Mathematics and Science are taught throughout the school in accordance with the National Curriculum.
All lesson plans are based on the National Curriculum Standards, Benchmarks and Student Learning Outcomes.
The school timetable, teacher records and lesson plans show that English Language Arts, Vernacular Language Arts, Mathematics and Science are taught in most classes throughout the school in accordance with the National Curriculum.
Student performance data shows that more than 50% of student scores are in the Competent and Minimally Competent category in the most recent NMCT or State administered test.
All students in all grades have their own copies of modern textbooks for Vernacular Language Arts, English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.
All textbooks are aligned to the correct grade level or students are working above grade level and there is clear progression from one grade to the next.
Students have access to additional resources, including on-line resources, in a well-stocked library.
The average student: teacher ratio is less than 25:1.
A full timetable of extra-curricular academic, sports, cultural, civic and community activities are conducted after school for both boys and girls.
Values such as fair play and healthy lifestyles are promoted.
Students have received awards for extra-curricular activities from local and international bodies and organizations.
Standard 5: School Campus, Classrooms and Facilities
The school has a written maintenance plan that sets out a schedule of routine cleaning, minor repairs, painting and preventative maintenance.
Records show that maintenance work is regularly carried out.
The school has a written facilities development plan that sets out a schedule for major maintenance works, refurbishment or rebuilding.
Records and plans show that the facilities development plan is actively implemented.
The campus is maintained to a very high standard of cleanliness, free of litter, graffiti and vandalism.
Buildings are neat, clean, safe and secure.
Public areas are welcoming and attractive.
All school facilities are easily accessible to students with physical disabilities.
The campus is used as a learning resource, with a school garden, wildlife area and sports and play facilities.
All classrooms used by groups of 30 or more students exceed 25 feet by 25 feet in area. Classrooms used by less than 30 students allow in excess of 20 square feet of floor space per student.
All classrooms are bright, well ventilated and equipped with adequate lighting and electrical outlets. All electrical fittings are in as-new condition with safety cut-off switches or circuit breakers.
All classrooms have high-quality student and teacher furniture, including adequate storage and display, with excellent lighting and ventilation.
Science labs have sinks with running water.
Food storage, preparation and dining areas are modern and clean, with a current EPA certificate clearly posted. Recommended repairs and improvements have been implemented.
All food handling and preparation personnel wear protective clothing, are trained and certified by the Public Health Department and their certificates are clearly displayed.
Toilets have a current EPA certificate verifying that they are safe and clean.
There is adequate safe drinking water.
There is an emergency evacuation plan and evidence of a drill within the past 3 months.
Standard 6: School Improvement Planning
The School Improvement Plan has been developed and evaluated in accordance with the National Guidelines.
The School Improvement Plan has been developed by a school improvement team that includes all teachers, parents, students, community members and other stakeholders who wish to be involved.
The SIP is reviewed on a regular basis.
There is evidence of improving student achievement as a result of the SIP.
The school principal plays a leadership role in the development and implementation of the SIP.
The SIP contains a Vision and Mission. The Vision and Mission are well known and shared by the school community.
The Plan is effectively implemented and monitored.
All staff members and members of the school community are fully committed to implementing the SIP.
The School Improvement Plan contains comprehensive data analysis of student performance, attendance, resources and school management, over a period of at least three years, noting school strengths and weaknesses.
Data analysis is comprehensive and is presented in graphical format.
The School improvement Plan contains SMART Student Achievement Goals and Objectives and Activity Planning Matrices for all activities, with inputs, timelines, outputs and outcomes.
The SIP is posted in a public place and regular monitoring reports are issued to the community. Financial records for the last three years are extensive, accurate and transparent.