Dear Harbor Families,
I’m willing to bet that one of the reasons, if not the main reason, you chose Harbor for your child is the high quality of education and research-based techniques in teaching and learning. As with any institution, our ability to keep abreast of new developments in the field of education and stay in a mode of continuous improvement comes from a strong commitment to self-reflection and goal-setting as a school. One way this commitment is supported and maintained is through the re-accreditation process.
Every ten years, the school undergoes an in-depth and thorough analysis via a self-study process, which is facilitated by our accrediting body, the Association of Independent Maryland Schools (AIMS). The self-study takes a full year and encompasses in-depth reflections from faculty, staff, and the Board of Trustees on topics that range from governance to health and safety, finance and admissions to school climate and culture, teaching and learning to student support. For us, the process began last spring with a review of school data and documentation and continued into the new school year with regular meetings, including using our professional days, for faculty/staff sub-committees to reflect on practices, analyze survey data collected each spring, and develop written responses to self-reflection questions. Whether you completed the annual survey last spring, attended a parent coffee in the fall where we discussed this process and others, or joined us for focus groups to share your experiences this February, thank you for your participation in this process.
The result is 146 pages of thoughtful reflective writing, completed just this week, which will be shared with the AIMS accreditation committee tomorrow. Our collective thinking was full and deep and will help us in strategic planning for our future. (And, although it’s not light reading, please feel free to reach out if you are interested in reading the full report.)
On May 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, we will be welcoming a visiting team of five educators from local schools who are tasked with the responsibility of assessing how our mission-informed self-study aligns with our practice. While they are on campus, the visitors will observe classroom learning and school routines and meet with groups of teachers, the Board of Trustees, and the Parents Association to understand the complex levels of our organization as they compare with our report. Following the visit, the school will receive a formal report from AIMS with commendations and recommendations which will, in turn, inform our strategic planning. We look forward to sharing more once the report is returned!
If you have ever participated in this kind of exercise in your own industries, you probably know that though intense and time-consuming, the process of self-inquiry can be deeply fulfilling, validating in many ways, and bring future planning into focus. For Harbor, it has been all of that!
Head of School