The Tamaqua Area High School will receive accreditation from the Middle States Association of Elementary and Secondary Schools.
Dr. Thomas Lubben, chairperson of the validation team, announced the achievement at an open meeting on Thursday, Oct. 28. The accomplishment comes after more than a year of preparation.
The Middle States Association of Elementary and Secondary Schools is a non-governmental organization that grants accreditation to schools that demonstrate adherence to 12 institutional standards and show evidence of planning for the future.
In order to receive accreditation, a school must first voluntarily apply to the program and then conduct a thorough self-study to evaluate its adherence to the standards and develop a strategic vision.
According to the Tamaqua Area School District superintendent, Mrs. Carol Makuta, "Participation in the accreditation process provided Tamaqua Area School District the opportunity to validate the integrity of our school's programs and to demonstrate that we are accountable for the education we provide for this community's children."
The process began last October when a planning team was organized. This team includes community members, parents, teachers, students, and administrators. The team met on eight separate occasions to revise the school's mission statement, develop a profile of graduates, identify improvement areas, and create action plans to correct these areas.
The culmination of this work took place during a four day visit conducted by a validation team. A combination of five teachers and administrators from other Middle States-accredited schools comprised the team.
The Tamaqua Area High School was visited from Monday, Oct. 25 through Thursday, Oct. 28.. During this time, validation team members interviewed teachers, students, administrators, parents, and community members to evaluate the effectiveness of the school. Classroom observations were also conducted.
Dr. Lubben, chairperson of the visit and former superintendent of the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts sensed great tradition during his visit.
"It quickly became apparent to this team that Tamaqua possesses a strong and powerful tradition and history. They are highly regarded in the county for academic successes and our intensive visit supported this observation," said Lubben.
While the validation team announced its recommendation to fully accredit the Tamaqua Area High School, the written report of the team will not be released until January, 2011.
As the Middle States evaluation period follows a seven-year cycle, representatives will not return until 2017.
"We return to our schools confident that Tamaqua Area High School will continue to make progress and extend exemplary services to the citizens of Tamaqua and the surrounding areas," remarked Lubben.
The Tamaqua Area High School now joins Schuylkill Haven and Blue Mountain as the only Schuylkill County public schools to hold the accreditation. The Tamaqua Area Middle School will be evaluated by a visitation team later this month.
The Tamaqua Area High School serves more than 650 students in grades 9-12. Visit www.tamaqua.k12.pa.us for links to specific documents regarding the Middle States Accreditation process.