Warning status removed from Manchester High School

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Thu., May. 23, 2013
Manchester High School Principal Matthew Geary briefs the Board of Education on the Special Progress Report he submitted to NEASC in February. File photo by Christian Mysliwiec.
Manchester High School Principal Matthew Geary briefs the Board of Education on the Special Progress Report he submitted to NEASC in February. File photo by Christian Mysliwiec.

Manchester High School has made a significant stride toward its goal of meeting the standards of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The accreditation agency announced that it has lifted a warning status from the high school, in response to a report submitted by Principal Matthew Geary, which proved that the administration is addressing concerns previously cited by NEASC.

NEASC evaluates educational institutions based on seven categories: Mission and Expectations, Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, School Resources for Learning, Community Resources for Learning and School Culture and Leadership. In May 2009, a committee from NEASC visited MHS to make its assessment. It placed the school on warning for the category School Culture and Leadership (which at the time was called Leadership and Organization). NEASC also issued 58 recommendations on how MHS could improve.

MHS worked to respond to NEASC’s actions. Reports updating NEASC on MHS’s progress were sent in 2011 and 2012. NEASC requested a Special Progress Report in which specific areas of inquiry were to be addressed. Geary submitted this report in February.

In a correspondence dated May 14, NEASC Director Janet Allison informed Geary that its Committee on Public Secondary Schools responded favorably to his report. “At its April 7-8, 2013, meeting, [the committee] reviewed the Special Progress Report of Manchester High School, continued the school’s accredidation, and removed the school from warning for the Standard of Accreditation on School Culture and Leadership,” wrote Allison.

“[This is] yet another sign that we are on the right track and that even brighter days are ahead for MHS,” Geary told the MHS community. “This is exciting and gratifying news because our faculty and staff have been working diligently over the past year to develop and expand a 21st century curriculum built around the school’s mission statement, academic expectations and Common Core State Standards.”

Allison also commended MHS on multiple areas of improvement, such as its five-year school improvement plan; the inclusion of the entire MHS community, including students and parents, in developing the plan; the multi-pronged approach used to improve issues of respect in the school; improvements in attendance, the improvements made to the school’s advisory program; academic support for freshmen; and improvements to the English Department’s curriculum. Allison also complemented the comprehensiveness of Geary’s report. NEASC also highlighted improvements to the MHS facility, such as the renovations to the weight room, the pool upgrades, furniture replacements in eight classrooms, and the slated improvements for the 2013-14 school year.

“We are appreciative of the support of the community in helping us respond to the NEASC recommendations,” said Geary. “I believe that this acknowledgement of our work by NEASC, combined with the recent awarding of the Nellie Mae Urban Systems Change grant in the amount of $450,000, reaffirms that we are making positive changes that will have important and lasting benefits.”

While the school has addressed some of the 58 recommendations issued by NEASC, many remain, and MHS will continue its goal of completing them. A Five Year Report is due to NEASC on March 1, 2014.


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