The National Democratic Party announced in the most recent NDP Drive Time message that the Elmore Stoutt High School accreditation project is ongoing.
The statement announced that the accreditation, which commenced a few years ago, is being continued with the aim of better preparing students for tertiary studies:
“We are also continuing with our High School International Accreditation process so that our High School Diploma with the five CXCs will ensure that our young people matriculate into international universities, thus reducing the burden of the cost of remediation,” the Government said.
An update on the accreditation was provided by Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn during the 2012 Standing Finance Committee sitting. At the time, the Minister informed Legislators that there were standards reported to the Ministry that the Territory did not meet up to.
Hon. Walwyn explained that the biggest issue, and one of the failed standards had to do with the infrastructure of the Elmore Stoutt High School. He disclosed that there were four standards that the ESHS failed, and all had financial ramifications and thus slowed down the process.
In response to the Minister’s disclosure, Former Minister for Education and Culture, now Opposition Member, Hon. Andrew Fahie told the Sitting that, prior to election, the Ministry during Fahie’s tenure required five million dollars to begin the accreditation process in the area of repairs to the school compound.
Hon. Fahie said that when the Ministry received a portion of the money, it was used to refurbish the bathrooms at the ESHS, among repairs to other public schools. However, the former Minister noted that the refurbished high school bathrooms were messed up within four months of being refurbished.
Chief Education Officer (CEO), Jillian Douglas-Phillips told the SFC that the accreditation process was one of the Department’s highest priorities.
The CEO informed that Connie George who is a former Deputy Principal at the Elmore Stoutt High School, is now in the Department of Education and has been charged with ensuring that the process moves forward.
Meanwhile, the CEO stated that the self study in which the two high schools would assess themselves against the 12 standards given to them by the accrediting body, had begun. It was explained the the Elmore Stoutt and Bregado Flax Educational Centre’s Secondary Division were looking at where they needed to improve under the advice of a new accrediting coordinator.
In September, 2010 the Elmore Stoutt High School and Bregado Flax Educational Centre Secondary Division were identified as eligible candidates for accreditation by Commission on Secondary Schools, Middle States Association.
The 12 standards that will qualify the school for accreditation include: the school’s philosophy/mission; government and leadership; school improvement planning; finances; facilities; school climate and organisation. The other standards to be met are health and safety; educational programme; assessment and evidence of student learning; student services, life and activities; and information resources and technology.
Once successful officials from Middle States Association will return to the BVI and verify that the required standards have been met. This is the first time the Middle State Association is endeavouring to accredit public secondary schools outside of the United States.