05 Nov What is CESA?
Accreditation is important. It exemplifies a commitment to excellence and brings legitimacy and credibility to Christian education. Westminster Academy has been regionally accredited since 1977 and is currently accredited by Christian Schools of Florida (CSF), Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and The National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA). Westminster Academy’s Headmaster Emeritus, Dr. Ken Wackes, was integral in establishing CSF, first as a recognized accrediting association, and then as an instrument of school improvement.
The Council on Educational Standards and Accountability (CESA) is beyond accreditation. It includes a select group of exemplary Chrisitan schools across the country. A couple of years ago, the board and administration concluded that our mission aligns best with the CESA standards of excellence.
It is with a view toward continual school improvement and a focus on the future that we seek to become a CESA Member of Council. While CSF has afforded numerous opportunities within the state of Florida, CESA will allow us to join with 40 of the top Christian schools in the nation. Westminster Academy would be one of only three schools in the state and the only one in South Florida.
Membership in CESA requires meeting rigorous standards in five standard certification categories:
- Mission Clarity
- Effective Governance
- Institutional Viability
- Academic and Programmatic Distinction
- Sense of Coherent Christian Community
“Too often a commitment to discipleship and a commitment to academic excellence have stood in opposition to one another.” ~CESA
CESA was founded on the idea that academic rigor and programmatic excellence in all areas are inherent to discipleship, not contradictory. Since 1971, that has been the mission of Westminster Academy. We have used different language throughout the decades—“a fusion of faith and intellect,” “a biblical and scholarly perspective for college and beyond,” and simply “Christian scholarship.” Perhaps the phrase that best exemplifies this is from the school’s founder, Dr. D. James Kennedy, “Excellence in All Things and All Things to God’s Glory.”
Last fall, our school began the arduous journey toward joining the ranks of CESA schools. After completing and submitting a comprehensive report, we hosted the CESA Institution Review Team at the end of August. Their initial comments about our school were encouraging, and we anticipate a final determination regarding membership before the holidays.