THE AAIE NEW SCHOOL PROJECT

chapter 9

Next Steps

The AAIE board and executive committee is committed to moving forward in support of the NSP and to grow participation in further conversations, professional development, and communication around the project. Information on how to participate will be forthcoming.The Executive committee is committed to moving forward in support of the NSP and to grow participation in further conversations, professional development, and communication around the project. Information on how to participate will be forthcoming.

Hear from Tim Carr - Avenues World School

STILL BE WORKED ON

Accreditation [Bonnie will work on this]
As mentioned numerous times throughout, this Book was intended to serve as a companion guide to a school’s existing strategic agenda. Obviously, the Principles outlined in this Book are directly relevant to a school’s philosophy and approach to teaching and learning. Embracing these seven Principles will require shifts to pedagogy and these shifts may be fundamental in nature. A classroom of the future should include elements from all seven Principles, and these elements must be regularly embedded into the classroom experience, rather than existing as single, one-off practices conducted haphazardly throughout the year.

Accountability for change rests within several different venues. Primarily, an individual school must hold itself accountable through commitments to reflection and action. These Principles can and should be discussed during meetings: faculty meetings, administrative meetings, board meetings, parent association meetings, and student-led assemblies and forums. Change is possible when there is leadership and commitment at all levels and within all constituencies.

Accreditation can serve as a lever for change within schools, and therefore, accreditors have an important role to play in supporting the Principles in this Book. Accreditors should play both a supportive and a leadership role in this area. It would be an interesting task to assess the alignment between the accreditation standards of a particular association and the New School Project Principles. If gaps exist, the accreditor should consider whether existing standards could be reworded or new standards added to encapsulate the letter and the spirit of the Principles. Even a minor change to an accreditation standard would result in meaningful and specific changes within a large number of schools. That’s how change happens. 

Accreditors should also support those school’s who are on the leading edge of innovation. One of the critiques of accreditation is that the process hinders innovation, rather than encourages it. By embedding the New School Project Principles into existing accreditation standards, the accrediting agencies will position themselves as playing a major role in inspiring transformative changes within schools. This does not come at the expense of compliance; rather, supporting transformative growth coincides with an accreditor’s responsibility to ensure compliance with standards. 

By definition, accreditation is a peer review process that offers an external perspective on an internal reflection and assessment. The New School Project Principles can and should be part of this external perspective. Accreditation visiting teams should become familiar with these Principles in order to support individual schools on their unique transformation journeys, their “Pathways to Practice.” In particular, the fourth stage of the Pathways, the Transforming It stage, offers opportunities for the accreditation process to dovetail with a school’s map for how it intends to transform. The questions posed in this section (Where do we want to be? Where are we now? How will we close the gap?) offer important insights that accreditation visiting teams might incorporate into their final commendations and recommendations for the school. If the New School Project Principles are the hallmarks of our schools of the future, then the accreditor of the future would do well to align themselves accordingly.