Many schools can view the arrival of a NYSAIS accreditation team as a three-and-a-half day event to be endured: schools worry about judgment, about feeling affirmed and about testing out our mission. But quite the opposite feeling was apparent yesterday with the arrival of our accreditation team. With the seven members of NYSAIS now ensconced in our school, our mission and our daily life, they will help us as a school community answer the important question: Are we doing what we say we do? “We’ve walked a mile in your shoes,” said Michael O’Donoghue, chair of the accreditation team, in his remarks to our assembled faculty–and we’d do well to remember that. The NYSAIS team is comprised of our colleagues from other schools, and they share our same end goal: to give our students the best education possible.
Different state and regional associations have different time frames for accreditation. When I was a part of the California Association, it was every six years. Here in New York it is every ten years. The Tuxedo Park School Community started working on a self study during the 2010-11 school year, no small feat when one realizes that the community was also involved in the search for a new head of school. The Steering Committee deserves an enormous thank you for shepherding the community through a very detail-oriented process leading up to the arrival of the team yesterday. Thank you to Lori Calderon, John Ham, Dawn Kranzo, Lynne Schroh, Diana Coyne and Caitlin Rycewicz. The countless hours and accumulation of documents and data was successfully accomplished, as was the fine tuning required of a document with no fewer than 70 contributors. Thank you!
The visit this week kicked off with a tour of the school yesterday that Andrew Monachelli and I gave the NYSAIS group, followed by a cocktail party where they could meet the teaching and non-teaching staff as well as some of our trustees. Our visitors will meet all employees, visit classes, watch our systems, and give us a full report of our adherence to our stated mission and program objectives. For me, as a newcomer to this community, this is the best feedback to create our roadmap for the school going forward. I look forward to this visit and to great conversations, some of which have already been sparked by this visit. I will report back when we have more data from the team after their report has been filed.
In the meantime, I am enclosing two links. Both of them are talks by Daniel Pink on the same subject: motivation. They are given in two different formats for different kinds of experiences. Enjoy!