The Northern Burlington County Regional School District Board of Education, administration and faculty continue to be actively involved with the accreditation process through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The Middle States Association (MSA) is a nationally recognized organization which works with school districts to prepare and implement strategic planning strategies. These strategies are designed to enhance organizational culture, strengthen organizational capacity, and improve student learning and achievement. MSA grants accreditation to school districts that have successfully designed and implemented a strategic plan that ensures all students in the school system receive a quality education.
What is Accreditation?
MSA defines accreditation as, “an external, objective validation of school quality and student achievement that fosters continuous school improvement.” Furthermore, “Accreditation fosters stakeholder involvement and commitment by providing opportunities for greater involvement in charting the direction and future of the school. Accreditation offers a mechanism to involve constituent groups in creating a vision of the future, not just allowing it to happen.” Throughout this process stakeholders are encouraged to participate on committees that meet regularly to monitor progress. In addition, the Northern Burlington County Regional School District (NB) has structured and implemented an online site that facilitates collaboration in the MSA process. Moreover, please note that this invitation extended to all stakeholders through the use of and participation in the Twitter Hashtag #NBTuestalks and the Northern Burlington Facebook site.
What is Excellence by Design (ExBD)?
Excellence By Design in a strategic planning protocol designed by MSA with the intention of improving student achievement. This is not the first time Northern Burlington has completed a strategic planning protocol like ExBD. The Northern Burlington County Regional School Board has been involved with the accreditation process through MSA s for quite some time. In fact, in 2008, Northern earned accreditation status after successfully implementing MSA’s Accreditation for Growth (AFG) process that took over seven years to complete. The AFG documents have been archived and are accessible from this site as well. For a historical review of Northern's past involvement with AFG, please visit these AFG information pages.
Currently, NB is developing a strategic plan with the guidance of the Middle States protocol entitled Excellence By Design (ExBD). As part of this protocol, the district has formed a planning committee that includes representatives from both internal and external stakeholders. Parents, community leaders, faculty, students, and administrators are just a sampling of the volunteers participating on the ExBD planning team. After input from the community, this committee is being expanded to include parents of elementary school children in the region. Starting in the summer of 2015, this committee has reviewed and revised the mission statement, beliefs, and profiles of a graduate. These documents were reviewed by internal and external stakeholders before being approved by the Board of Education in August of 2015 and can be accessed through links found on this web page. After the foundation documents were completed and approved, the committee began formulating a variety of objectives addressing academic achievement, school culture, and community engagement. Drafts of these objectives can also be accessed from a link on this page.
Why Excellence by Design?
Excellence by Design provides the framework for formally aligning all the work of the school to ensure that all of its efforts are coordinated and focused on achieving the school’s mission. This framework is designed to accomplish the following:
First, it will allow for the development of a sense of community and common purpose among the school’s students, staff, and its community of stakeholders.
Next, it will provide opportunity to present a Plan for Growth and Improvement in student performance and the school’s capacity to produce the levels of student performance expected by the school and its community of stakeholders. This plan also provides for greater cooperation between all of the school’s stakeholders in identifying and implementing practices that have been demonstrated to lead to excellence in student performance and the organization’s capacity to produce the desired levels of student performance.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, when the NB organization implements this framework, the process intends to develop in the school community of stakeholders an understanding that the school is part of a larger community of learners and that this community has agreed upon, supports, and accepts responsibility for assisting the school in achieving its Mission, Profile of Graduates, and Plan for Growth and Improvement in student performance and organizational capacity. This learning community understands that, by working together to articulate and align its efforts, it can achieve higher levels of excellence in student performance.