Delaware Valley passes peer review

| 29 Sep 2011 | 09:51

    WESTFALL - The middle states evaluation is a once-in-every-six-years happening at Delaware Valley and last week was the week. A team of nearly two dozen teachers and administrators of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, educators from up and down the East Coast, assembled last week to evaluate the school as part of the “K12 Pathways to School Improvement” initiative. The completely voluntary process resulted in a unanimous team vote to recommend the district for full accreditation. “This has been the culmination of many years of work,” said Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Candis Finan. “It has taken an enormous amount of team work.” Dr. Amy Palermo, the leader of the evaluation team, delivered an oral report following the team’s four day visit last Thursday. Palermo stated that Delaware Valley is near the “point of excellence.” “You work is to do whatever it takes to connect students to the school,” she said. Palermo spoke of “a safe and secure learning environment” and commented that, “the number of offerings and activities is impressive.” So much so, Palermo noted, that people on the evaluation team expressed a desire for their children to attend the school. “The Delaware Valley story is one to tell … you have come a long way but as always is true in education, there is much more work to do,” Palermo concluded. Dr. Finan went back up to the microphone following the oral report, teary-eyed, and said, “It all comes together because we work together for one purpose — student achievement.” Board of Education president Sue Casey said Palermo’s presentation was one of the most moving events she could recall as a board member. Based in part on Palermo’s motivation to continue the work that needs to be done, Casey announced at last Thursday’s board meeting that she was withdrawing her intention to leave the board after her current term expires, and will again be a candidate for reelection. The evaluation was conducted at every school in the district and looked at every aspect of the program, hearing from school board members, administration, faculty, and students. One of the advantages of having the accreditation is having it on the student transcripts which will be sent to prospective colleges while also providing comprehensive guidelines to improving the school. A detailed written report will follow in the coming weeks. The Middle States Association’s origins date back to the late 19th century when several Pennsylvania college administrators began working together to standardize the requirements for students entering college. The organization began evaluating member institutions in the early years of the last century. Public secondary schools were added in the 1950’s and elementary schools in 1978. Since 1998, the number of member schools and Educational Service Agencies has grown to more than 700.