November 18, 2019

Board told Dexter High School accreditation in jeopardy

DEXTER — Dexter Regional High School has been issued a warning by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges for its failure to adhere to the association’s standards for accreditation. Problem areas cited were community support and involvement, curriculum and instruction.

Failure to correct or make changes in these areas may result in the school being placed on probation by the association, Principal Bruce Ives told SAD 46 school board directors Wednesday. If the problems are not resolved in a timely matter, termination of accreditation may result.

Ives told the board that the accreditation board was to meet this weekend to discuss Dexter’s status. If the board does not grant full accreditation to the school, it either may continue to keep Dexter High on a warning status, or downgrade the school to a probation status.

Not surprisingly, Ives said, SAD 46’s budget problems during the past two years were not looked upon favorably by the association and weighed heavily in its decision to call into question Dexter’s accreditation.

“The commission expressed serious concern regarding the impact of budget cuts and the lack of community support for a budget upon the academic and co-curricular programs at Dexter Regional High School,” Ives said.

Ives told the board that he had sent the association a special progress report detailing what steps were being taken to address areas of concern.

These include a list of adjustments to funding for the 1993-1994 school year, including details of the successful Tiger Fund drive that raised money to reinstitute co-curricular activities in SAD 46, and a list of positions and programs cut in SAD 46, showing the impact on students’ educational opportunities.

Regarding deficiencies in curriculum and instruction, a report describing a plan to develop and implement an assessment process, which would supplement the Maine Educational Assessment test, will be sent to the commission. The results will be used to evaluate and revise curriculum and instructional practices, Ives said.

Ives told the board to take heart; many school districts affiliated with the accreditation organization were finding themselves in similar standing because of funding cutbacks. However, he said, the commission was not absolving schools districts of their responsibilities to provide students with well-rounded educations as evidenced by a March 5, 1993, communication from the commission.

“While fully cognizant of the state’s economic climate, the commission expressed its conviction that communities and school officials are not absolved of responsibility for striving to resolve identified concerns or from investigating alternative measures which mitigate the effects of those concerns,” Ives said.

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