Evergreen Christian School

Commitment to Continuous School Improvement

Photo of Accreditation Team

Commitment to Continuous School Improvement
By Head of School Michael Dewey

On February 12 and 13, representatives from MSA (Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools) visited our campus and conducted a full review of our curriculum, school policies, as well as our teaching faculty. After interviewing parents, students, board members, and staff, they have recommended ECS for full accreditation without any stipulations. This is the highest recommendation that MSA awards. Their report has already been forwarded to MSA’s  Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools  which will make the official pronouncement of accreditation later this semester. Once we are notified, our MSA accreditation will be for a period of seven years. We are thankful for everyone who participated in this process and took the time to speak with the MSA representatives during their visit. Upon receiving the official word, a special email announcement will be sent to each family so that we can all celebrate. And by celebrate, we mean that something special is being planned for the entire community. Stay tuned! 

As we have stated in previous newsletters, one of the reasons for going through accreditation is it helps us find ways to improve our school. But our commitment to continuous school improvement is grounded in a much higher authority. After hearing from Timothy how well the young church in Thessalonica was progressing, Paul felt the need to encourage them to press on to even greater heights. The Apostle Paul tells the young church, “Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). Given this exhortation from Scripture, I thought it would be helpful to highlight some of the many ways we are continuously working to excel still more.   

Homework Survey 
At the conclusion of the first semester, we asked students to complete a comprehensive homework survey with the goal of helping ECS make adjustments where necessary. In addition to gauging how much time students are spending on homework nightly, the survey asked about sleep habits, extra-curricular activities, and study habits. The results of the survey clearly indicate that we need to strike a better balance when it comes to assigning homework at Evergreen. With 99 students participating in the survey, a third indicated that they are struggling to manage work at school with all of their other time commitments. The survey also revealed that students are feeling overwhelmed at the conclusion of each quarter, as tests and project deadlines tend to coincide at the same time. With this in mind, ECS staff and teachers held an in-service day dedicated to addressing the issue of homework and exploring strategies for reducing student load. As we enter the final quarter of the school year, I have asked our teachers to send out a special communication to their students documenting the plans and procedures they are implementing in our overall effort to reduce homework stress and test anxiety. Additionally, a full analysis of our homework survey data, along with the strategies and policies adopted to address concerns, will be included with our End of Year Parent Survey link going out to each family in May. The end of the school year is also when we ask our students to complete surveys for each class they have taken this year.  

Environmental Science Fellowship 
Evergreen’s AP Environmental Science teacher recently traveled to La Paz, Mexico as a part of Ecology Project International’s Teacher Fellowship program. The program is offered competitively to teachers nationwide with Mrs. Nicole Grewell being selected as part of a small group of students and educators hoping to become more environmentally aware citizens. EPI’s Mexico Teacher Fellowship concentration was Marine Science, and participants spent significant time in the water learning new science skills and tools. The Fellowship’s research goals were to contribute to the REEF citizen science project by adding data about the fish species we identified, to apply transect studies to the marine environment and examine how this affects the experimental design, and to also collect and submit data to a local researcher who is studying the locally invasive Crown of Thorns Sea Star. Mrs. Grewell plans to use this experience to make improvements to the AP Environmental Science course next year. She will be adding more fieldwork, knowing that this is a method of learning itself and is far more memorable to the students as they learn.  

This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.