Parents could help high school staff in a self-study of the school, Principal Jim Miller said Tuesday. The self-study is an important part of the accreditation process by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Edward Little was given a 10-year accreditation in 2004.

Help is critical for a renewal, Miller said, adding that he’s not looking for a specific number of volunteers.

“The more we can get, the better,” he said. Parent input would show the community has an understanding of what the school is doing.

“Does the community know what they’re getting from their schools?” Miller said. In the self-study, educators will report what they’re doing with, for example, customized learning. The parent and community input would show “we’ve done what we say we’re doing,” Miller said.

Volunteers would serve as a focus group that will be asked to review and offer input to the final report in a number of areas, including values, learning expectations, curriculum, instruction, testing and school culture.

Volunteers would participate in two meetings in the spring and would be part of a welcoming reception when the New England Association of Schools and Colleges committee visits Edward Little on Oct. 26.

Accreditation is done by an objective group of professionals who analyze a school to make sure it’s meeting standards. “It’s like a license,” Miller said. “Would you go to a lawyer, a doctor, electrician or plumber who was not certified? No. They had to do something to get a license.”

Edward Little is one of seven high schools in New England on probation for its accreditation. EL is on probation because of the poor condition of the building.

The Auburn School Department wants to build a new school but needs money from the state because building with only local taxes would cost too much. A new high school would cost about $60 million.

Edward Little is No. 16 on the state’s construction list, and typically the top 20 projects get funding. Acting Education Commissioner Jim Rier said Jan. 22 that he would like to see Nos. 7-12 get funding this year, which could open the door for the next batch, including Edward Little. That depends on the level of money state lawmakers provide for school construction in the state budget.

Rier told Auburn officials last year that the state would keep accreditation officials informed of Auburn’s efforts in getting state construction funding.

Miller said he was not overly concerned about the probation status and pending accreditation. Auburn has kept the New England Association of Schools and Colleges up to date on what’s going on with state construction funding.

Much has been done to improve the building, he said. “We’ve added new tiles, new boilers. The building physically can be fixed,” he said, but it’s tough to add space. When the school was built in the 1960s, fine arts and technology were not required. “There was very little special ed.”

Anyone interested in serving on the focus group should contact Nancy Cyr between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at Edward Little at 333-6652, or email librarian Patricia Gautier at [email protected]

[email protected]

Anyone interested in serving on a focus group for Edward Little High School’s reaccreditation study should contact Nancy Cyr between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at Edward Little at 333-6652, or email librarian Patricia Gautier at [email protected]


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