Accreditation for private and independent schools is very important as it provides a measure of quality assurance that the public can use in deciding to send a student to a certain school since national or regional comparisons and rankings are usually not available. Accreditation is a good standard measure of overall quality and can also be utilized as a catalyst for improvements as it compels a school to be aware of anything that needs attention.
Damien Memorial School is near the end that the accreditation process and an on-site visit by an Accreditation Team has already been completed. Damien should get the official notice sometime this summer on the term of accreditation, and word is that the school community has done very well.
In a recent interview, Damien Vice-Principal Stephen Lewis explained the process and some preliminary comments on how well the school fared:
With the guidance of our Principal, Br. Daniel Casey, and under the leadership of our Self-Study Committee Chairman, Mr. John Souza, Damien spent nearly 2 years completing our Self Study. This involved looking at all school operations, openly and honestly, to determine those things that we are doing well and those areas where we need to challenge ourselves to do better. This self- evaluation was performed while keeping foremost in mind our stated mission and philosophy and how we can best serve the needs of our students. The Self-Study Committee solicited input from all stakeholders in the Damien community and put this together in the report we presented to the three accrediting organizations (WASC, WCEA, & HAIS).
A Visiting Committee was assigned to Damien and arrived on campus during the first week in March. Their job was to validate our self-study through interviews and observations. Their final report was indeed a validation of all that we are doing well and are most proud of here at Damien, as well as recognizing the need to constantly improve what we are doing. They were most impressed with the dedication of the staff and our parents and with the spirit and determination of our students.
Damien Principal Br. Daniel Casey was more detailed with comments from the Accreditation Team when he wrote in a letter to parents recently:
The hard-working team of visitors was very impressed with our school and spoke highly of their experience at Damien. The notable strengths they reported were in areas like how we align our mission with our operations, our improved financial strength, and how wonderful our student body is. Most of the significant opportunities they mentioned dealt with how we track and use assessment for both summative and formative evaluation of our students and their ongoing growth.
Bernard Ho, Damien’s President and CEO confirmed the great news when he said that "the accreditation process is valuable to continuously challenge the School to improve its academic programs and remain viable. It helps us to focus on continuous improvements and receive constructive recommendations by educational experts.” And he acknowledged the buzz around campus with, “I'm happy to report that Damien continues to thrive and our Accreditation team was very impressed with our students' display of joy and Catholic values during their visit."
Congratulations to the Damien Memorial School Community!