New England Association of Schools and Colleges

New England Association of Schools and Colleges
THE REPORT • winter 2008
“Sustaining the Mission in Challenging Times”
NEASC’S 123rd Annual Meeting -December 3-5, 2008
Association president, Ruth J. Simmons, President of Brown
University, will preside over the 123rd Annual Meeting and
Conference to take place at Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza
Hotel, in December. Its theme, “Sustaining the Mission in
Challenging Times” features a powerful and varied program
involving a distinguished array of presenters including distinguished educators, policy makers and researchers. Keynote
speakers will offer reflections and inspiration as they reflect
on the challenges of this theme.
Greg Mortenson, co-founder of Central Asia institute, a
nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting communitybased education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and, more
recently, co-author of Three Cups of Tea, will deliver the
keynote address on Thursday, December 4th at 1:00 p.m.
The remarkable humanitarian campaign he began in 1993
has led to the building of over 64 schools, which provide
education for more than 25,000 children. A living hero
to rural communities, he has gained the trust of religious
leaders, government officials and tribal chiefs for his tireless effort to champion education, especially for girls. His
incredible accomplishments are, as Tom Brokaw states,
“proof that one ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, really can change the
world.” Mortenson will be awarded one of two NEASC’s
2008 Eliot Awards at the luncheon.
Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, President of Brown University, will
deliver the banquet speech Thursday evening, December
5th in the Grand Ballroom at 6:30 p.m. Dr. Simmons has
championed universities as a haven of reasoned debate with
the responsibility to challenge students intellectually and
prepare them to become informed, conscientious citizens.
She has spent her career advocating for a leadership role for
higher education in the arena of national and global affairs.
Recipient of many honors and awards, including a Fulbright
Fellowship, the 2001 President’s Award from the United
Negro College Fund, the 2002 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal and the 2004 Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal,
she is a featured speaker in many venues. This includes the
Greg Mortenson, Annual Meeting
Keynote Speaker and Charles Eliot
Award Recipient
Senator Edward M. Kennedy,
Charles Eliot Award Recipient
White House, the World Economic Forum, the National
Press Club, the American Council on Education and the
Phi Beta Kappa Lecture at Harvard University. A graduate of Dillard University, she received a Ph.D. in Romance
languages and literatures from Harvard and then served in
the administration at the University of Southern California,
Princeton University, and Spelman College before becoming
president of Smith College, the largest women’s college in
the nation. Launching the first engineering program at an
American women’s college was just one of an array of initiatives undertaken during her Smith presidency.
The meeting will conclude with an address by a representative
for U. S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy (MA) at the closing luncheon, Friday, December 5th at 12:00 noon where Senator
Kennedy will also be named a recipient of NEASC’s Charles
W. Eliot Award. Recipients, like previous awardees Dr. Linda
Darling-Hammond, U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd (CT),
David C. Berliner, Jonathan Kozol and U.S. Senator Jeffords
(VT), U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd (CT), are selected by
NEASC’s Trustees for consistently demonstrating the deepest
commitment to, and keenest insight into the improvement of
education for all students. The award is named for Charles W.
Eliot, a principal founder of our Association and longest-term
president in Harvard University’s history.
U.S. Senator M. Kennedy will be recognized for his support
for issues that benefit Massachusetts and the nation. His
work to make quality health care accessible and affordable to
every American is a battle that he has championed with vigor
since he was first elected to the Senate in 1962 to finish the
final two years of the term of his brother, U.S. Senator John
F. Kennedy. Re-elected to seven full terms, Kennedy is now
the second most senior member of the Senate.
cont. on page 2...
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
THE REPORT • winter 2008
“Sustaining the Mission
in Challenging Times”
cont. from page 1
Currently the senior Democrat on the
Health, Education and Labor and Pensions
Committee, he has led, promoted and
guided extraordinary support for resources
that modernize the nation’s public education system ‘to give every child in America
a fighting chance in today’s economy.’
Kennedy’s promise on the Harvard football
field turned successfully to ‘another contact
sport, politics,’ where he has succeeded
in the challenges of giving all children the
educational opportunities they deserve.
A notable example, of course, is the passage of the Higher Education Opportunity
Act of 2008 which Kennedy stated “sends
a clear message that improving college
opportunities for the nation’s students and
families is again a top priority for Congress.
Last year, we passed the largest increase
in college aid since the G.I. Bill. Earlier this
summer, we made sure that students can
get federal loans despite turbulence in the
credit markets.” His leadership in achieving
this landmark legislation is recognized as
one of a lengthy and formidable list of
similar successes on behalf of the future
of our nation and its citizenry. Senator
Kennedy’s work on enhancing sweeping
“higher education reform that tackles
skyrocketing costs, simplifies college aid,
reins in abuses by lenders, helps the troops
and gives intellectually disabled students a
chance,” is only the latest example of how a
policymaker can help “sustain the mission
in challenging times.”
Wednesday, December 3rd features
Assessment Forum speakers and sessions
hosted by the Commission on Institutions of
Higher Education (CIHE) beginning at 8:30
a.m. including: Jamshed Bharucha, Provost
and Senior Vice President, Tufts University
(MA), Nicholas Lemann, Dean and Henry
R. Luce Professor, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University (NY) and Terry
Hartle, Senior Vice President, Division of
Government and Public Affairs, American
Council on Education, (Washington, DC).
On-line registration materials for the
123rd Annual meeting & Conference are
found on: (under Annual
Meeting). Hotel reservations may be made
by contacting hotels directly or linking to
on-line reservations at these sites as found
on the NEASC Hotel Accommodations section for The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel,
Westin Copley Place and Sheraton Boston
(Prudential Center).
CIS Features Sustainability and
Economic Impact at Annual Meeting
A generally accepted definition of sustainability is to work to
meet the needs of the present while not compromising the
ability of future generations to meet their own needs. NAIS
has further defined this broad definition within five major
contexts: financial sustainability, environmental sustainability,
global sustainability, programmatic sustainability and demographic sustainability. Educating for sustainability has as a
goal to provide learning that will enable our students to not
only develop an understanding of the interconnectedness
of people, systems and nature but also to enable our students to understand their role and to make decisions that
will ensure that future generations will live in a world which
is “built to last.” Where does a school begin to address this
challenge? Where does a school begin to practice what it
teaches? One of the goals of the Annual Meeting this year
is to help schools to begin the conversation by seeing what
other schools are doing in some of these areas.
Our first session on Thursday afternoon will be discussing
environmental sustainability as it applies to infrastructure.
From architectural design to living off of the land, representative schools from four different Commissions will discuss
what can be done to be more green and less wasteful. CIS
will be represented by Charles Tierney from Northfield
Mount Hermon School. This school has developed numerous initiatives to inspire their students to become better
stewards of the earth.
At the nine o’clock Friday morning session various commissions will introduce different ways of bringing this concept of
sustainability into the classroom. How do schools develop
within their students the skills, attitudes, and values that will
be required both now and in the future? Torrey McMillan
from The White Mountain School will be one of a panel
who will present the school’s Sustainability Studies Program
the purpose of which is to guide and prepare students to
live as active and informed stewards of the natural world
and human communities. Through this interdisciplinary and
action orientated program, the school hopes that “students
will be empowered to enact positive change in their world,
will recognize the need for people to maintain dignity and a
sense of worth, and will work toward the long-term vitality
of the world’s natural systems and human communities.”
Immediately following that morning program there will be
a session to begin the discussion of how we gather and use
the data on a school’s economic impact in a particular community to help sustain the financial viability of that school,
and how do we demonstrate our value as a school to the
local community our value to them while maintaining our
tax exempt status? Part of this program will involve the
research done by NEASC regarding the economic impact
of K-12 schools. In addition it will provide insight into how
some schools such as Choate Rosemary Hall, represented
by Ed Griffin, have used this data to build a positive and
sustaining relationship with their local community.
While we have been able to invite only three schools to
share what they are doing, we know that many independent
schools have taken tremendous steps in this area. We invite
you to come, bring your ideas and share your materials.
By dialoging and learning from each other we can help
meet the challenge that awaits all schools- to ensure that
they prepare students, both through teaching and by
example, to build a healthy future for themselves and
for coming generations.
NEASC 1885-2010 - Celebrating 125 Years
Gregory Prince, chair of the 125th Anniversary Committee, and past president of Hampshire College, announced that students
from over 40 member institutions, k-university, plan to involve themselves in the student-led initiative, “Listening to Students.” One
of a number of events planned to build towards the 125th anniversary year celebration in 2010, students will begin a conversation
on what they think education should accomplish and how educational institutions should be assessed. Participating and interested
institutions are invited to join the committee at its reporting session, Thursday, December 4th, held at 2:15. Suggested technology
to support the varied activities named by students to date will be shared by LookInLearn, an Annual Meeting sponsor. Student-led
activities posed include: focusing on education as part of freshman seminar and/or leadership events in higher education, high
school social studies or history courses, and as part of an afternoon, semester or year-long conversation held by student council.
Plans to secure funding and identify a venue for students as early as spring, 2008 are also in progress.
Interested institutions or individuals are welcome to contact the committee via
NEASC’s webpage under [email protected] or Dr. E. Kampits ([email protected])
Dr. Prince chaired the first 2007 meeting of the 125th Anniversary Celebration Planning Committee this August. Committee
members designated by their commissions are: Carl Stasio, Headmaster, Thornton Academy (ME), Katharine Pence, Principal,
Kennebunkport Consolidated Elementary School (ME), Richard Wylie, President, Endicott College (MA), William Burke, Headmaster, St. Sebastian’s School (MA), Charlie Lyons, Superintendent, Shawsheen Valley Technical School (MA) and Katherine Costa
of Suffield, CT.
The committee is beginning its planning efforts in earnest and welcomes suggestions and other contributions from the NEASC
constituency at all stages. Attention is being given to opportunities for member institutions and in particular, their students, to
address the issues of insuring the quality of education. The anniversary celebration concluding in December, 2010 should
generate a broad based conversation about the purposes of education, whether in 1885 or in our 2nd century.
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
THE REPORT • winter 2008
CPSS Partners with Teachers21 to Provide Professional Development for Member Schools
“Exceptional! The best PD I have attended. It will
make a huge impact on learning in my school!”
In its continuing efforts to help member schools achieve
adherence to the CPSS Standards for Accreditation,
CPSS has begun a partnership with Teachers21, an organization with similar beliefs about teaching and learning.
One hundred educators from five New England states
and 22 secondary schools met in Franklin, Massachusetts
for three days of professional development in late July.
Joseph Baeta, principal, Holbrook, MA,
Junior-Senior High School; Kevin Harrington, principal, Lincoln, RI, HS; and
Patrick Larkin, principal, Burlington,
MA, High School.
“It was a whirlwind three days that re-focused my mind on
teaching and learning. I wish school started tomorrow!” said
one participant from Hopkinton High School in Massachusetts.
Three consultants from Teachers21 – Ted Hall, Elizabeth Keroack, and Anne Steele – provided three days of programming,
rooted in best practice and current research, as are the Standards for Accreditation. “Professional with passion empowering professional with passion,” said another participant.
“I think this was a powerful workshop that truly supports
the need for high schools to gather data, improve instruction,
and look at new ways to do business. To meet the needs of
our students we must be willing to embrace change. I truly
enjoyed this education experience and feel I have the support I
need to make a difference (in my community) for all learners.”
– a participant from Campbell High School, NH
Participants who attended in teams of four had significant
action planning time in addition to activities and information
sharing on professional learning communities, assessment
practices, instructional practices, issues of equity, advisory
programs, among other topics. One educator from Scituate
High School, MA, said, “It’s possibly the most enriching PD
experience I’ve ever had!”
Ted Hall, principal, Yarmouth, ME, High
School, Teachers21 consultant, member
of the CPSS Commission and presenter
at the workshop.
In addition to the first three days of presentations and team
planning, each of the 22 schools will work with a consultant
to continue its action planning in fall 2008, and will attend
the final day of the program on January 15, 2008.
Educators who are interested in learning more about
future programs should visit the CPSS website or contact associate director,
Ann Ashworth at 781.541.5441 for additional information.
Connecticut’s Public Member Brings Experience to the Board of Trustees
The Report from time to time features a brief biography of the
members of the NEASC Board of Trustees. Jennifer Smith Turner
is one of six Public Members, each representing on of the New
England states, and she represents Connecticut.
Jennifer Smith Turner is CEO of Girl Scouts of Connecticut,
the largest organization in the state serving girls with 55,000
members and 21,000 volunteers. Prior to this, she was
President/CEO of Smith & Associates LLC, a company that
specializes in assisting organizations in achieving their strategic
and operational potential by providing management consulting, strategic planning, and executive coaching. She is the
former Deputy Commissioner for the State of Connecticut’s
Department of Economic and Community Development,
an appointment made by Governor M. Jodi Rell. During
her time as Deputy Commissioner, she is credited with reenergizing the state’s industry cluster initiative to enhance the
state’s economic competitiveness and for bringing affordable
housing to the forefront of the state’s economic agenda.
Ms. Turner served as President/CEO of BerkleyCare
Network and Vice President of W. R. Berkley Corporation
(WRBC) of Greenwich, CT. In this dual capacity she was
responsible for growing the occupational managed care business of BerkleyCare and providing managed care leadership
to the WRBC property casualty operating businesses.
Previous to this role, Ms. Turner was a leading change agent
at Aetna Life & Casualty, one of the nation’s Fortune 500
companies, where for ten years she worked in a variety of
executive level positions. She was a senior executive in the
company’s asset accumulation businesses and focused on
developing enhanced services to customers who owned
multiple wealth management and retirement products. She
served as Vice President, Occupational Managed Care, a
joint venture between Aetna’s managed health care and
workers’ compensation businesses. Starting up a business
was not new to Ms. Turner. In 1993, she was selected to lead
the development of Aetna’s initial venture into the direct
delivery of health care services. As Chief Operating Officer of
HealthWays/Aetna Professional Management Corporation,
and Vice President of Aetna Health Plans, she was responsible
for all start-up and operational activities of this new, fifty million
dollar, primary care and health care subsidiary. Prior to this
assignment, she served as Chief of Staff to the CEO of Aetna
Health Plans.
Ms. Turner worked for Travelers Insurance for ten years and
held numerous management positions in their property
casualty and financial services operations in the corporate headquarters and field offices. She served as the head of marketing
for the company’s MoneyTrac business – a business designed to
bring bundled financial and insurance services to major clients
and their employees. Ms. Turner interrupted her insurance
career in the mid-1980s to serve the City of Hartford as Director of Personnel and then as Assistant City Manager.
A native of Boston Massachusetts, she is a graduate of Union
College in Schenectady, N.Y., and received her Masters degree
from Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT and Ms. Turner is
very involved in community and civic organizations. She is the
Immediate Past President of the Board of The Hartford Stage
Company and sits on the Executive Committee. She is a Regent
at the University of Hartford where she is on the Strategic Plan
and Executive Committees. Appointed by former Governor
Lowell P. Weicker, she served for six years as a Trustee of the
University of Connecticut and chaired the Health Affairs Committee during most of that tenure. Ms. Turner played a role
in crafting the UConn 2000 capital improvement strategy and
established two endowments in her name at the University,
one for scholarships for African-American students at the medical and dental school, and the other for women’s athletics.
She continues to be involved with Uconn as a member
of an international board for the University’s African
National Congress Partnership with South Africa.
She is a former board member of the University of
Connecticut Foundation, St Joseph’s College, Hartford
College for Women, Union College, Connecticut Public
Television and Radio where she chaired the finance and
audit committee, Connecticut Golf Foundation, Porrath
Cancer Foundation, the Foundation for Mental Health,
the American Heart Association, Boys and Girls Club of
Hartford, and United Way of the Capital Region.
Ms. Turner is a published poet. Her first book, Perennial
Secrets, Poetry&Prose was published in 2003 and her
most recent book, Lost and Found, Rhyming Verse Honoring African American Heroes, Connecticut River Press,
was published in 2006. She resides in Hartford, CT and
Martha’s Vineyard, MA with her husband, Eric Turner.
Jennifer Smith Turner
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
THE REPORT • winter 2008
CAISA Workshop Examines the Changing Definition of National Security
The definition of national security is changing as
globalization and the revolution in communication
technology continue to transform the international
landscape. While terrorism, energy security, and
proliferation have long been recognized as national
security issues, non-traditional challenges, such as
those arising from the changes taking place in the
earth’s climate, have not. But that distinction is
disappearing according to Dr. Jim Ludes, executive
director of the American Security Project (ASP),
who addressed participants during the CAISA
summer workshop and challenged them to reconsider how they define national security.
the force of our arms, yes, but also the strength of
our diplomacy, the might of our economy, and the
power of our ideals.”
The American Security Project is a bipartisan initiative
in Washington, DC, designed to engage thoughtleaders around the country on important national
security issues. Ludes’ presentation was based on the
work done by ASP and featured objective, data-based
assessments of U.S. efforts in the “war on terror,” as
well as an analysis of security challenges that may arise
from changes in the earth’s climate expected by the
scientific community.
According to Ludes, ASP’s mission is to raise the level
of discussion on national security around the country.
“We engage with groups like NEASC because they
are world-class educators and leaders in their communities,” continued Ludes. “They are looked to with
respect and confidence, they run the best schools in
the country, and they can have a major impact on the
way we look at these issues as a society. We have to
be talking to them.”
Dr. James Ludes
“It’s changing because we are coming to terms
with the magnitude of the challenges we face,”
said Ludes. “Gone are the days when a nation’s
strength could be measured by the number of
battleships or bombers in its arsenal,” he said during
the workshop at Endicott College. “The challenges
facing the United States today require the coordinated use of all of the elements of America’s power:
David Gowell, retired assistant
superintendent, Newington, CT,
Public Schools enjoys a laugh at
the CAISA workshop.
Mark Stapleton, Ministry of
Education consultant, UAE; Margaret
Alvarez, CIS; Malcolm Kay, American
Community Schools, England, work
together at CAISA breakout session.
ASP’s board includes prominent Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, including Senator John Kerry,
Senator Chuck Hagel, and General Anthony Zinni,
USMC (Ret.). “My bosses are not shy,” said a smiling
Ludes. “They expect us to challenge people’s assumptions, to make the public confront difficult questions
and offer some hard answers. Not everyone is going
to agree with us, but we hope that they leave with their
minds stretched a bit by the analysis we offer them.”
Ludes and the rest of the American Security Project are
available to assist NEASC member institutions with presentations to faculty, students, parents, and community
groups. For more information, contact Dr. Ludes at
[email protected]
Bill Clough is Recipient of the Jack Monbouquette Award
At the annual CAISA workshop at Endicott
College this past June, Bill Clough was the
recipient of the Jack Monbouquette Award
for service to international schools. The
announcement, made by CAISA Chairperson,
Carl Stasio, was met with warm applause and
acknowledgement by Bill Clough’s peers in the
work of international education.
Bill Clough (right) chats
with John Kosko at the
CAISA workshop at
Endicott College
William Clough III is the retired head of Gould
Academy in Bethel, Maine, and was president
of the New England Association of Schools
and Colleges in 1998-99. At the time of the
presentation, Commission Chair Carl Stasio
acknowledged Bill Clough, saying, “He has
not only served NEASC faithfully, particularly
as President of the Association, but he has also
been a mainstay of the Commission on American
and International Schools Abroad. He serves on
the Commission, has helped to write important
parts of the current accreditation protocol used
by CAISA, has undertaken several special, delicate
accreditation visits, and has been a regular Visiting
Team Chair and Visitor for CAISA. Bill has been a
wonderful ambassador for NEASC and American
education. The fact that his wife is Scandinavian
and his daughter an Assistant Director of an international school in Africa rounds out his credentials
and qualifications for this award!”
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
THE REPORT • winter 2008
Annual Summer Workshop
CPSS visiting committee chairs attended the
annual Summer Workshop held at Roger
Williams University in Bristol, RI on July
24-25. The topic of the program, The Report
as a Standards-Based Performance Assessment,
engaged participants in reviewing sample
reports and discussing processes and protocols
to ensure identified concepts in the Standards
are appropriately documented in evaluation
reports. During the four interactive sessions
the chairs focused on the inclusion of impact
Marty Gray and Dot Galo examine
samples of student work at the
CPSS Summer Workshop
statements, the importance of connecting
concepts in the Teaching and Learning Standards
and the Support Standards, increased emphasis
on information gleaned from the examination of
student work and student shadowing, the writing
of clear commendations and recommendations, and the use of the rating guides. The final
session provided each of the small groups the
opportunity to share their findings and compare
those findings which led to a lively and productive discussion.
Principal, Tourtellotte Memorial High School,
North Grosvenorsdale, CT; and Tom Moore,
Principal, Wethersfield High School, CT.
The two-day program was designed by Teaching
and Learning Solutions, an educational consulting
company, under the leadership of Duffy Miller
and Bernie Cleland with input from the Commission’s Leadership Council and Commission staff.
Programs were facilitated by Elaine Bessette,
Retired Principal,. Bloomfield, CT; Kay Costa,
Retired Principal, Suffield, CT; Joe Damplo,
Media Director, Wayland High School, MA;
Marty Gray, Principal, Central Middle School,
Corinth, ME; Lynda Green, Superintendent,
Waterboro, ME; Gary Gula, Principal, Canton
High School, CT; Scott Leslie, Principal, RHAM
High School, Hebron, CT; Steve Mitchell,
CPSS Summer Workshop Attendees:
Bob Littlefield, principal, Portsmouth,
RI, High School; Alan Bookman,
superintendent, Glastonbury, CT,
Public Schools; Elaine Bessette, retired
principal, Greenwich, CT, High School;
Don Gates, retired principal, Valley
Regional High School, Deep River, CT
Connecticut’s Michael Savage is RJB Award Winner
The 2008 Richard J. Bradley award was presented to Michael Savage, Executive Director
of the Connecticut Association of Schools
and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic
Conference. The presentation was made by
Jacob Ludes, III, Chief Executive Officer of the
New England Association of Schools and Colleges at the 10th CAS/CAPSS Convocation on
September 18, 2008. The event was held at
the Aquaturf in Southington, Connecticut.
When Richard J. Bradley retired as the Association’s CEO in 1994, his friends established
an award in his name. The award, which
consists of a monetary prize and a plaque, is
given each year to an individual who makes an
extraordinary contribution to the work of the
Association. The individual is usually selected
from the Association’s base of 14,000 trained
volunteers. The two most recent recipients
have been Francis Clivaz (one of Switzerland’s
leading educators) and Father John Brooks
(President of the College of the Holy Cross
for 24 years and an NEASC volunteer for
38 years).
The award for 2008 goes to Michael Savage,
Executive Director of the Connecticut Association
of Schools. Mike has been a strong advocate for
peer review as practiced by NEASC. He has allocated the resources of his organization to support
NEASC’s work and make CAS member schools
stronger in the process. He has been a champion
for the cause of accreditation for all schools K-12
and he upholds NEASC standards and protocols
as the “gold standard” in the field of school evaluation. NEASC has been honored by the support
of this universally respected educational leader.
At a time when schools face expanding requirements and demands for multiple assessments, Mike
Savage and CAS have made it possible for schools
to continue to focus on comprehensive assessment
and continuous improvement. Mike and CAS
contribute greatly to the success of NEASC and
the member schools we share.
NEASC recognizes that Michael Savage has made
and continues to make an important contribution
to school improvement. Under his leadership CAS
has been a beacon for Connecticut and a model
for the six-state region.
Michael Savage,
Bradley Award Winner
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
THE REPORT • winter 2008
The Commission received a letter from Secretary of Education Margaret
Spellings informing it that federal recognition has been extended for a
five-year period beginning on the date of the letter, July 1, 2008.
Commission staff conducted a series of meetings around the region this fall
to talk about several matters of interest to member and candidate institutions,
including accreditation-related changes in the re-authorized Higher Education
Act, Commission initiatives on assessment and student success, and Commis-
This fall the Commission welcomed a new staff member, Sara Hart,
Administrative Assistant to the Director; Sara will work closely with
Betsy Coldewey on matters supporting the work of the Commission.
CPEMS Annual
Sustainability a Focus at White Mountain School
CPEMS held its annual workshop for chairs and
assistant chairs in August at the Doubletree Hotel in
Waltham. Presided over by Commission Chair Celeste
Bowler, director of elementary education in West
Warwick, Rhode Island, over thirty visiting committee
leaders participated in a variety of topics focusing on
the writing of the visiting committee report.
Editor’s note: Torrey McMillan is the Chair of Sustainable Studies at The White Mountain School in Bethlehem, NH
Maryann Minard, curriculum director for the York, ME,
Public Schools presented an overview of how content
areas must be examined to determine the strengths and
needs of each of the teaching and learning standards
and how the strengths and needs of the content areas
can and should be assimilated into the final report. She
told the group that the teaching and learning standards
can best be observed and judged through the lenses of
the content areas themselves, but, at the same time,
those same content areas cannot be the single focus
of the report. The presentation was followed by small
group activities designed to assist chairs and assistant
chairs to develop protocols for use with upcoming teams.
Other topics addressed at the workshop included
evidence gathering, classroom observation, teacher
interviews, parent meetings and the introduction of
surveys to the CPEMS protocol.
Maryann Minard (Right) works with
Martha Borden (Left) on a report.
sion support and assistance to institutions in times of increased expectations
in an uncertain environment. Seven meetings were scheduled between late
September and early November, with one meeting in each state and two
in Massachusetts.
By Torrey McMillan
Sometimes, I think I am among the luckiest teachers around. Why? Because when I am asked what
I teach, my answer is complicated by the fact that I
don’t teach exclusively in any one of the traditional
disciplines. In the past year I have taught in the
English, Science, and History and Human Values
Departments. Additionally, I instructed Farm and
Forest, an alternative option in our sports program, led a community service trip working with a
refugee resettlement program, and took students
sea kayaking on the coast of Maine to study the
Atlantic fisheries. Yet, within the diversity of what
I do, there is an underlying theme and a unifying
department of study - sustainability.
The White Mountain School’s Sustainability
Studies Department was founded six years ago to
build upon and focus the school’s commitment to
environmental stewardship, community service,
and social justice. Since then we have expanded
our course offerings, redesigned some courses,
and instituted graduation requirements in the
department. The department’s design builds on
two core ideas: 1) learning both the why and the
how of active citizenship and 2) providing multiple
and diverse points of entry into the principles and
practices of sustainability.
Learning the why and
how of active citizenship
In order to graduate from White Mountain,
students are required to take both a theory based
course addressing sustainability issues and to meet
an action requirement. Building upon academic
research findings on behavior change and effective
environmental education, our department structure and requirements aim to give students foundational understanding of our economic, social,
and ecological systems and how they interact
with and depend upon each other. These discussions
include analysis of what is and what is not working
well in our current structures and engage students in
envisioning better systems. In these classes, students
are developing core understandings of current issues
and the habits of mind central to someone seeing the
world through the sustainability lens. Unfortunately,
it often seems that this is where the lesson ends
in school.
If we stopped here, however, our mission to educate
our students to be active citizens is only partially complete. At this point, students are left with the dilemmas and challenges of our world hanging over them
without being given the opportunity to develop the
tools needed to make change. One of my graduate
school professors once explained that a person might
know why she should make compost and, in fact,
want to make compost, but if she doesn’t know how
to make compost, she’s not going to make compost.
Likewise, students may learn why people in developing
countries lack clean water and feel compelled to do
something about it, but if they don’t have the tools in
their toolbox to take action, they aren’t going to do it.
This is where the action component of the Sustainability Studies Department comes in. The action
requirement can be met either through one of several
semester-long classes, through a season of work
with our Farm and Forest program, or through an
approved internship or independent study. These are
the times when students develop skills in how to make
change. Like the theory based classes, the options for
meeting the action requirement are broad, allowing students to select what kind of action skills they
want to develop – political, scientific field work and
environmental planning, hands-in-the-dirt farming and
construction, or community projects and initiatives.
cont. on page 7...
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
THE REPORT • winter 2008
Sustainability a Focus at White Mountain School
cont. from page 6
White Mountain School
Sustainability Studies Department Structure
•Habits of mind
•Process oriented
•Skills in “doing”
•Project based
•e.g. Comparative Economic
•e.g. Climate and Energy
Development, Connecting to
class, Field-based Environmental
Place literature class,
Science, Farm and Forest
While we are constantly working to improve the
teaching and learning in the Department, the basic
structure seems to be functioning well. Shortly
before graduating last year, one of our seniors,
Chelsea Heath, reflected on her experience
in the Department:
20thC Latin America
Multiple and Diverse Points of Entry
As much as I love compost, not everyone is
enthralled with the idea of turning kitchen scraps
into a rich soil amendment for our gardens.
However, the student who remains neutral
about food production on campus might get
excited about taking on the challenge of the
United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.
Or, perhaps he can relate to the teenagers in M.
T. Anderson’s Feed who have lost all connection
to place and environment and are struggling
with defining their own identities. Maybe she
gets excited by the design challenges of our
times and the idea of using nature as a source
of inspiration for time-tested solutions. Leave No
Trace principles taught on wilderness trips might
make a lot of sense to one person, whereas the
ethic of giving back to our school community
through caring for the physical place may speak
to another. There are so many ways to engage
with the big ideas of sustainability.
At White Mountain, we offer this multiplicity of entry
points. The benefits of doing so are several. First, with
so many different avenues and disciplines to explore
sustainability, there is likely to be at least one (and
likely more) to which each student can relate. Second,
by spreading sustainability across the disciplinary
spectrum (really making it trans-disciplinary), students
are more likely to understand that sustainability is not
a particular content area, but rather a lens through
which to see the world that can be applied in any field
of study or any part of life. Finally, the trans-disciplinary
approach helps students make the connections
between different elements of sustainability, and build
a broader understanding of its core ideas and applications. When they arrive in Comparative Economic
Development and can bring their experiences on
the farm or working with the refugee resettlement
program to the discussion we are having on economic
security and environmental integrity, the experience
in each setting both reinforces and adds depth and
breadth to their understanding of the issues.
The sustainability department here at school didn’t
teach me to respect the world we live in. It taught me
how to respect it. The very structure of the sustainability
department has broadened my understanding of how I
can help. The action credits allow me to directly make
and [sic] impact and see the difference that my work
has made while the theory credits allow me to see the
big picture. For example, in Environmental Science, our
group decided to test the water in the Ammonoosuc
River above and below Wal-Mart. We got to see the
direct results of our work. As a result of this project, I
went on to do water quality testing with White Mountain
Summer for the state. It was exciting to teach other students about something that I had really learned to love
and to then see the data we collected sent to the state to
be put to good use.
Imagine the potential force for positive change that
could emerge in our world if all students graduating from high school left empowered like Chelsea,
knowing something of the challenges we face, able
to envision a brighter future, and holding within
themselves the confidence and empowerment to
know that they can be the agents of change to
bring this about.
Bob Fitzgerald Honored
Bob Fitzgerald, the Commission’s longest serving chair, was honored by all at the CPSS
Summer Workshop for his extended years of service to the Commission. Bob who retired
from the Winchester Public School System after having served in a number of positions,
including several years as superintendent, was recognized for chairing a record-number thirtyfive (35) visiting committees. His years of commitment to and support of the accreditation
process has earned him the respect and admiration of educators in all six New England states
as well as current and former Commission members and the Commission staff.
Congratulations, Bob, for an honor well-deserved.
Pam Gray-Bennett, CPSS Director
and veteran chair Bob Fitzgerald
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
THE REPORT • winter 2008
Please Remember to Save The Date for the
123rd Annual Meeting & Conference
New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC)
December 3-5, 2008 at The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts
Please refer to or to NEASC mailings.
NEASC gratefully acknowledges the following sponsors for their generous support of our 123rd Annual Meeting.
Educational Records Bureau
The Report is a newsletter published by The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
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pms 187c, red / pms 431c, gray
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Phone: 781-271-0022
Fax: 781-271-0950
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