KING OF PRUSSIA, PA — Agora Cyber Charter School announced that it has earned accreditation by the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools, a worldwide leader in accreditation and continuous school improvement. Agora currently serves over 5,500 students from 66 counties in Pennsylvania.
“Agora is committed to its vision and wanted to prove it by embarking on a deep level of self-reflection and independent validation. Undergoing this process proves that we are dedicated to excellence and maps out exactly how we are going to continue to demonstrate it,” said Dr. Rich Jensen, CEO of Agora Cyber Charter School. “Agora joins a very select group of schools around the nation and world, and we are proud to have those accreditation initials next to our name.”
Middle States accreditation is a multifaceted evaluation process that schools and school systems voluntarily use to demonstrate they are meeting a defined set of research-based performance standards. The 12 Middle States Standards for Accreditation are: mission; governance and leadership; school improvement planning; finances; facilities; school organization and staff; health and safety; educational program; assessment and evidence of student learning; student services; student life and activities, and information resources.
Agora began the accreditation process in the spring of 2019 with the goal of completing it in one year. While most schools take at least two years to go through the process, Agora was able to meet their one-year goal. The accreditation process begins with a self-study that is conducted by the school system and requires input from school leaders, teachers, parents and students. Following the self-study, a team of volunteer educators from Middle States member schools conducts a peer review visit. Agora’s virtual visit included three days of interviews with students, employees, and families.
Dr. Anne Butler, Chief Academic Officer at Agora, said that the self-study caused Agora to “hone in on all of our core values. No stone was left unturned in the process.” Dr. Butler continued, “We don’t want to be the biggest in the state–we want to be the best. This has been our goal and mantra, and accreditation is one more way we are working towards distinguishing Agora as a leading cyber charter school.”
The peer review team makes its recommendation for accreditation or reaccreditation to the Middle States Association Commissions, which votes on the recommendations at its biannual meetings. Full accreditation was awarded to Agora, with no future monitoring needed.
“The Middle States accreditation process supports schools in developing a strategic plan for the future that is built upon continuous school improvement,” said Lisa Marie McCauley, Ed.D., president of the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. “Middle States accredited schools should be commended for their commitment to collaboration, growth and advancing student achievement.”
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