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Reaccreditation at Waterford

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I gave a talk last week about the cultural influence of Waterford’s early days. It was a time of tremendous creativity, of great innovation, of deep belief and of courageous vision. In 1980, our founders Nancy and Dustin Hueston conceived a school that began as a learning laboratory and prodigiously evolved into the best college preparatory, liberal arts educational experience in Utah.

Imaginative aspiration has been part of Waterford’s DNA from the start. A driven and creative faculty built a fledgling K-5 school in Provo into the robust, dynamic and deep intellectual community we are today.

In the same spirit of growth and renewal that has fueled our meteoric development  over the last 35 years, Waterford now happily engages in our reaccreditation process. Every eight years, we partner with our regional association, the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS) to engage in a deeply introspective process of self-reflection as we measure ourselves against 14 objectives standards.  The primary purpose of accreditation is to promote school improvement, a hallmark of the Waterford ethos since our inception.

The process, which began with data collection through an all constituent survey, calls upon us to consider why, how and what we do to educate our students at Waterford. The process requires us to systematically and collaboratively assess mission congruency – do we do what we say we do? – and to evaluate the efficacy of our program across the 14 NWAIS standards. A team of experienced independent school educators will receive our written report this summer and then pay us a visit in late October to appraise the validity of our accreditation standard assertions. This peer review is critical to improvement as we open ourselves to the perspective and insight of similarly dedicated colleagues, and ultimately learn from each other and share best practices. A final report, outlining commendations and recommendations, will be mailed to us with the visiting team’s findings in early 2018. We will provide updates at each stage of our progression.

While reaccreditation empirically validates the efficacy of our program, providing tangible, evidential endorsement worthy of public confidence, it more importantly serves as a seminal call to return to our philosophical core.  As we prepare for a comprehensive strategic planning process, we work together in the same mission-driven and aspirational manner as our founders to analyze and improve all that we do at Waterford.  

We look forward to sharing the outcomes and opportunities!