NEWS and EVENTSCurrently happening at Stonehill
Stonehill Accredited by NEASC
A globally recognized standard of excellence, NEASC Accreditation attests to a school’s high quality and integrity. The NEASC accreditation process encourages school improvement through a process of continuous Self-Reflection and peer review. The award of NEASC accredited status indicates that the school has achieved high standards of professional performance and is committed to continuing growth and development.
In October 2018, a NEASC Evaluation Team visited Stonehill for a 5 Year School Evaluation. During the week, they observed lessons and interviewed teachers, students, support staff, members of our PTA and the Governing Council. This week we were delighted to receive the news that the NEASC Commission for International Education has confirmed the re-accreditation of our school.
The External Review Report that we received enables us to highlight and celebrate our achievements. It also provides useful suggestions and recommendations that will help us further improve the quality of learning and teaching at our school. Below, you can read some of the highlights from the December 2018 NEASC Report.
- It is clear in conversations with students, teachers, administrators, support staff, and the governing council, that learners at Stonehill are expected to demonstrate informed perspective and empathy for the experiences of others and to learn from mistakes.
- The learning atmosphere is one of inclusiveness, openness to new ideas, and a sharing of perspectives that is welcome and appreciated. From the PYP classes through the MYP, interaction, feedback, differentiation, and inclusiveness were observed as being truly inspirational.
- The strong relationships between teachers and learners, as well as the emerging learning culture of the school, offers immense opportunity to challenge students in becoming confident leaders of their own learning. Faculty and learners are building the skills and dispositions to become self-directed learners.
- Learners were observed as researchers who were exploring materials, conducting experiments, and reflecting on their learning.
- When first visiting the school, parents were impressed with the sense of happiness, community, and belonging they sensed.
- When observing learners in class and throughout the campus, it is evident that they enjoy positive relationships with one another. Groupings seem naturally diverse in terms of gender and nationality, and learners are frequently observed helping one another.
- As supported in surveys and through conversations with students across all sections of the school, as well as in discussions with parents, Stonehill is an excellent example of an open-minded and supportive community for all its members. Service plays a significant role in all sections of the school. The owner serves as an excellent role model for the rest of the school community by placing an emphasis on service learning. As a result, many of the students’ projects have an emphasis on service. Stonehill’s commitment to inclusion is commendable.
- The Head of School, Governing Council (GC), and Owner have a positive working relationship that involves supportive and constructive discussions about the future of the school.
- The Head of School has been given autonomy to make decisions which have the learners’ best interests at heart. The Owner’s continued financial support has allowed the school to improve the quality of education offered at Stonehill.
- The Visitors were impressed with the GC representatives’ knowledge of the school, and of educational best practice during their meeting. The GC has demonstrated a generative mindset and an eagerness for a better understanding of learning by attending IB workshops, encouraging feedback via surveys to the school community, and carrying out their own research. Between these and the collaborative relationship between the current Head of School and GC, an informed and common vision for the future of Stonehill has been established.
- Respectful, healthy, ethical relationships and interactions that create a true sense of community is the description of Learning Principle 10. This description accurately describes Stonehill. The relationships and interactions observed between all learners is evident in every aspect of their ethos. An additional word to describe the learning community of Stonehill is “happy”. Happiness is evident everywhere. PYP student council members were asked: if they had a magic wand and could change anything about their school, what would they change? In unison, student council members replied, “nothing, we love our school”.
- Visiting Team members from IB, CIS, and NEASC all observed the welcoming, respectful, and happy interactions of the Stonehill community. Parents also noted, upon visiting the school and experiencing the sense of happiness, that there was no need to visit any other schools. They had found the place for their family to belong.
- Members of the community express high satisfaction with ways in which they are treated and included. They are very proud to be members of a learning community that is accepting of all learners. Some quotes to support this include: “Our whole school is working together.”, “It is a school that values people and does what it says.”, “It is a very safe and open environment.”, “It is the most honest school when it comes to reflecting on our own practices.”, and “It is transparent in the way it makes decisions”.
- It was very important for a staff member to share with the Visiting Team that there is a general sense of optimism about the growth of the school and the leadership around community-wide learning. The Visiting Team concurs that the community members and all stakeholders take an active involvement and contribute widely to learning engagements, celebrations, and community-based initiatives.
- Perhaps the most telling statement regarding the learning community came from student learners, as they described what is most important about Stonehill: “happiness and well-being”. It truly does take an entire community to create happiness and wellbeing.