Those of us who work in independent schools have chosen this path in part because we appreciate the element of independence—which allows us the opportunity to innovate, to develop best practices which reflect the changing landscape of education and the world around us, and to put our own marks on our teaching.
As different as each independent school is from the next, in California we all must meet the high accreditation standards set by the California Association of Independent Schools and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. School accreditation is a peer-review process that fosters excellence in education and encourages school improvement through discovery, dialogue, compliance, and commitment. Accreditation enables a member school to develop clearly defined goals and objectives based on its mission and philosophy.
The accreditation process includes a written self-study based on 16 standards that cover every aspect of the school. This report is followed by an on-site visit by a team of educators who delve into every facet of the school’s programs and operations to assess its effectiveness in fulfilling the school’s stated purposes.
You may recall that two years ago, Turning Point School went through our re-accreditation process and received a seven-year term (the maximum number of years awarded in an accreditation). Accreditation requires schools to reflect on their progress and the work that lies ahead, and generally leads to a new strategic plan. Recently you received Turning Point’s Strategic Priorities: A Positive Strategy, four intertwined areas of growth for our school, which will be the focus of my remarks at my State of the School Address later this month.
In the meantime, this week I am away from campus chairing a Visiting Committee at another school in Southern California that is working through the accreditation process. It is always fascinating to immerse myself in another school for a few days, to learn of their strengths and opportunities for growth, to see how they conduct teaching and learning, and to get a feel for their unique culture. Schools are human places, and therefore beautiful and messy places, and it is an honor to be invited into a peer school to be of service.
While I enjoy exploring the role of anthropologist for a few days, I am always excited to return to Turning Point. Perhaps I will have some new ideas, and certainly I will be grateful for ways in which we implement excellent teaching and learning here.
As I think ahead to our upcoming State of the School Address. I look forward to sharing with you highlights of our school’s past year and plans for the future. It is an exciting time to be part of the Turning Point community, and I am proud and honored to share this experience with you!
Dr. Laura Konigsberg
Head of School