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St. Mary School recommended for reaccreditation

The faculty, staff, parents, and children of St. Mary School are proud to announce that their school has been recommended for reaccreditation. The cycle for this process occurs every seven years. This is the third time that the school has been successfully recommended for accreditation to WRISA, Wisconsin Religious and Independent Schools Assn. The process for preparing for reaccreditation is timely and takes place over many months. It starts with the members of the school community processing a self-study, continues with a visit from a team representing WRISA, then the team presents a written report of its findings to WRISA, and concludes with the WRISA board determining the final outcome. The primary purpose of the process is to ensure that the school's mission is being carried out according to local, diocese, and state regulations and that the members of the school community are being treated in fair and just ways.

WRISA is a state organization that represents all Catholic schools of all levels in the state of Wisconsin along with all other religious schools. Its board members are comprised of representatives from a cross section of educational experiences. This organization started a few years ago and designed a process based on checks and balances. These checks and balances are called standards and include Catholic Identity, Curriculum, Governance, Early Childhood, After School Care, Technology, Instructional Supplies, Financial, Physical Accommodations, Student Services, School Improvement, Resources, and Long Range Plans. Each school presents a yearly report to enable WRISA to remain current with its school's mission. The seven year cycle enables a hands on approach and personal observations.

Last school year, St. Mary School's faculty and Ministry of Education members began the self-study process. They were responsible for reviewing each standard and providing documentation that the school was in compliance. Last week, the visiting team comprised of five educators, visited the school for three days. During their visit, the team verified the findings of the school's self-study report and made recommendations for commendations and changes. As the members visited, they observed in classrooms, reviewed textbooks for age and grade appropriateness, examined personnel files, reviewed parish, parent, and student surveys, interviewed the school community, checked safety drill records, and generally shared their opinions on whether or not the school was living out its mission. The team's visit concluded with a report of its findings to the school community which cited the commendations and recommendations.

Its commendations included a strong Catholic Identity, children who genuinely love each other and their school, cooperation among the faculty to ensure that children's learning needs are met, an appreciation of the Faith Friends Program, strong support from parents, curriculum materials that are well organized and articulate WI State teaching standards and an overwhelming presence of warmth and a caring spirit. Its recommendations included reviewing the Five Year Long Range Plan, dialoguing about the viability of the school's future with community sources, soliciting grants and donations to supplement the budget, and discerning ways to decrease expenses.

WRISA will review the team's report and offer its final decision in the months ahead. In the meantime, St. Mary School is very appreciative of the efforts of all involved and feels tremendous pride in receiving acknowledgement that it is truly worthy of being reaccredited.