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Los Alamos Public Schools Earns Accreditation

on November 17, 2017 - 9:01am

LAPS Superintendent Dr. Kurt Steinhaus briefs the AdvancED External Review Team. Courtesy photo

LAPS News:

The Los Alamos Public School District recently underwent an extensive accreditation review through an organization called AdvancED, and the preliminary findings were positive and informative.

Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus received verbal confirmation that LAPS will indeed be accredited for the next five years.

AdvancED is an accreditation organization that conducts rigorous on-site reviews of educational systems to ensure all students realize their full potential. At LAPS, they focused on a thorough review of data about three capacities: leadership, learning and resources.

The review team visited each school site and interviewed over 120 LAPS students, parents, and staff in order to gather firsthand evidence pertinent to evaluating the school’s performance against 32 research-based AdvancED Performance Standards. Using the Standards, they assessed the quality of learning environments and provided valuable feedback that is meant to help focus and guide LAPS on its improvement journey using a systems approach.

Last week, AdvancED Team Leader George Griffin presented the review team's initial findings after the face-to-face three-day visit, and the team was pleased overall with their findings.

From their visit to the schools and classrooms, AdvancED found that students are actively engaged in essential learning, classrooms are supportive environments and students demonstrate a sense of community that is positive, cohesive and purposeful.

Points of special recognition for LAPS include: a shared sense of purpose among stakeholders, support for student and staff well-being, strong parental and community involvement, the school board is invested and focused on its Strategic Plan, and much more. AdvancED also noted that the schools’ classrooms are a safe place to take learning risks, and there is a high level of security between student and teacher.

The main theme for improvement that AdvancED suggested was for LAPS to implement a continuous improvement process that aligns K-12 curriculum vertically and horizontally, establish an evaluation process that improves professional practice and organizational effectiveness, and includes a process to continuously assess programs and organizational conditions to improve student learning.

Next steps for the district include reviewing the final report and working with school staff to actualize AdvancED’s suggestions for progress.

The full report from the accreditation engagement review will be available within 45 days.