For the Auburn Reporter
Valley Christian School (VCS) has been a part of the Auburn community for more than 42 years, four of which have been spent going through accreditation with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and AdvancED for the school’s kindergarten-to-eighth grade program.
The school has been thoroughly examined on eight standards and 90 indicators within those standards, and a 60-page school report with hundreds of documents has been submitted, school officials said.
According to ACSI, school accreditation is designed around the principle that excellence grows where a commitment is made toward systematic school improvement. For Christian schools in the business of shaping hearts and minds for eternity, excellence is imperative.
Of the 24,000 Christian schools worldwide that are members of ACSI, only 1,000 are accredited. The mission of ACSI is to strengthen Christian schools and equip Christian educators worldwide to prepare students academically and inspire them to become devoted followers of Christ.
“It has been tremendous work for our school staff, but worth every moment,” said VCS Principal Joshua Snyder. “The accreditation process has propelled us to be a school of continuous improvement. Earning ACSI/AdvancEd accreditation will also allow VCS to be recognized as a trustworthy and reliable educational institution, especially to prospective families.”
Kevin Newbry, superintendent of Lighthouse Christian School, Twin Falls, Idaho, headed a visiting team of five principals and superintendents from Washington and Idaho for the accreditation review. The team reviewed the documents provided by the school and held interviews with staff, school board members, parents, teachers, and students to evaluate the school’s level of compliance with quality accreditation standards.
The ACSI visiting team presented Valley Christian School with four major commendations:
• The leadership team, faculty and staff commitment to advancing the mission and vision is strong and vibrant.
• All kindergarten-eighth grade teachers hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Nearly 70 percent have a master’s degree.
• Valley Christian School has developed an exemplary lunch program that provides highly nutritional meals served by qualified personnel who diligently and faithfully abide by food service standards.
The Administration of Valley Christian School successfully involved all stakeholder groups in the collaborative planning process of the Continuous School Improvement Plan.
VCS also received recommendations, of which the school has already been working on, such as adapting procedures for implementing security and crisis management plans. Under the school’s Keeping Campus Safe Initiative, the school has recently purchased a travel AED (automated external defibrillator) that will be available for athletic teams and school field trips. The school is also installing an electronic/video door entry system to control any visitors on campus.
The visiting team will submit the final report to the ACSI Commission on Accreditation, and the accreditation will be final in May. While some schools receive one, two, or three years before another on-site visit, because of Valley Christian School’s thoroughness and compliance with standards, the accreditation team has given the school five years before renewal – the most that a school can achieve.
This is the second accreditation that in which Valley Christian School is recognized. The Early Education Center is accredited by Washington State Department of Early Learning’s Early Achievers program. The school also meets and exceeds the standards set by the State Board of Education, and is a state-approved private school.