09 Jan A Word From Mr. Satterly—January 9, 2020
Dear WA Community,
Once upon a time when most schools like ours were getting started, achieving the status of “accredited school” was an aspirational goal. Such a stamp of approval carried great weight and served as a mark of distinction among competitors. It indicated something significant—it was a mark of excellence.
Early in my career, I was privileged to participate in a school’s initial accreditation. It was quite an accomplishment at the time. Upon receiving official notification, there was great celebration. Some years ago, Westminster Academy helped establish a new school organization, Christian Schools of Florida. We remain an accredited member of that body today. We also worked with several other organizations to carve out standing with the state Department of Education. Later those relationships blossomed into regional and national partnerships.
Today, accreditation is still important. It matters with regard to college admissions and scholarships, participation in various programs and grants, and indicates a level of institutional credibility. Accreditation remains an important marker. It provides for compliance with normative standards. However, for schools such as ours, it no longer serves as a fulcrum for improvement or a measure of excellence.
We have occasionally mentioned a new organization, CESA, or the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability. Its membership includes some of the finest schools in America. It exists to push schools toward sustained and real improvement. It drives us towards a demonstrated performance of excellence. Westminster Academy is a candidate for membership. In fact, no other south Florida school is a member (both Florida members are in Orlando). An assessment team from CESA will be on campus this spring and we are working hard to prepare for their visit.
Our journey toward this point began in May 2017 when we hosted our first visit from CESA representatives. Since that time, our team has been building toward this April’s visit. We seek membership because what CESA requires makes us better and because we desire to be counted with the top Christian schools in America.
Grace and Peace,
Joel T. Satterly