This past week we had what is called our “Mid Term Accreditation Visit.” A visiting team from our accrediting agencies (WASC & ACSI) spent time at Dalat evaluating how we are doing. Let me take a little bit of time to explain further what is meant by the statement “accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) and ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International).”
When we say we are accredited, it means that these two agencies affirm that our diploma is worthy of being accepted by universities and colleges around the world. To receive accreditation, we must meet their standards in all areas of school. Once every six years, they send a team of four–five people who evaluate our school from top to bottom. Our last full accreditation visit was in 2013. That year a team came and gave us a very positive evaluation.
From that evaluation, the agencies make recommendations of how we can improve as a school. Three years later they come to visit (as happened this last week) and check up on our progress towards their recommendations. They give us feedback on our improvements and make further recommendations on what we need to do before the next full accreditation visit.
During the verbal report by the visiting team, the head member, Tim Shuman, who makes accreditation visits all over the world each year, paid Dalat a very high compliment. He stated that when he visits schools a question he always asks himself is: “Would I send my kids to this school?” His answer to this question for Dalat was a “resounding yes” with the added statement, “I really wish they could have attended Dalat when they were in school.” A couple days later, he also mentioned to me, after evaluating our boarding program, that he told his wife that he would put his boys in our dorms in a heartbeat. It is exciting to hear such positive comments coming from our evaluation agencies.
Let me also quickly take this time to let the community know that in the 2016–17 school year Dalat will be embarking on a year-long process of writing a five-year strategic plan for our school. This will involve our community and will be led by the administration in collaboration with a consultant in strategic planning. At the end of next year, we will have developed a vision of what we want Dalat to be in five years. I will write more about this in the coming months and throughout next year.