By Tim Bishop
WHEELING—Vincent de Paul Schmidt, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, announced that the diocese was granted AdvancED School System Accreditation from the AdvancED Accreditation Commission, the national commission that confers the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) accreditation seal. This means that the diocesan school system and all of its schools are accredited, and recognized across the nation as a quality school system. The diocese was one of the first 25 dioceses in the nation to achieve this status and became the first diocese in the United States to achieve this status using the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Secondary and Elementary Schools.
Schmidt said the accreditation shows how well all of the schools within the diocese work together to further Catholic education. “It is very important,” he said, “for parents to know that they are spending money on a program that is accredited at the highest level. For our schools, it gives us a sense of ownership that our program is in fact at the leading edge of Catholic education in the country.”
The accreditation process involves three ongoing components; meeting high quality standards, implementing a continuous process of improvement and engaging in quality assurance through internal and external review. The system’s accreditation is for a five-year term with regular monitoring of progress and reporting occurring during the term.
“School System Accreditation as conferred by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission provides the diocese with a nationally recognized mark of quality for our system and all the schools within our system,” said Schmidt. “It demonstrates to our community our commitment to excellence, our openness to external review and feedback and our desire to be the best we can be on behalf of the students we serve.”
Schmidt said the accreditation would not have been possible without the hard work of Robyn Hammond, associate superintendent, and Jennifer Hornyak, director of instructional technology. “They,” he said, “were the most important components in our office. Jennifer really led the charge and was so important in getting us organized. They were both vital to the accreditation.”
Dr. Mark Elgart, president/CEO of AdvancED, stated, “AdvancED School System Accreditation is a rigorous process that focuses the entire school system on the primary goal of creating lifelong learners. The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is to be commended for engaging in this process and demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement.”
Parents and interested community members can learn more about the System Accreditation process at www.advanc-ed.org.