School News

ISACS Report

Dear New Indian School Parents,

We did it!

Last week we completed the year-long accreditation process with the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS). This is a 7-year cycle, our fifth since the mid-1980’s.

It is an extensive, in-depth process. This year we formed more than 30 committees covering every aspect of school life to write “self-study” reports including: Overview, Strengths, Challenges, and Plans & Priorities. Lower School Director Laura Bordow skillfully guided the overall project, with active involvement by over 100 School participants: students, parents, teachers, staff, School Board and community members.

Meanwhile the ISACS office in Chicago was assembling an 11-member team of educators from across the Midwest with expertise in the full range of areas. The Visiting Team Leader was Joe Marshall, the Head of the Orchard School in Indianapolis.

The Visiting Team arrived on Sunday afternoon, April 21, and after a reception, tour, and dinner, they rolled up their sleeves and began work. On Monday and Tuesday they visited classes, interviewed groups of School representatives, and commenced writing their reports.

By Wednesday the reports were complete and the Team had arrived at a consensus for the list of 5 Major Commendations and 5 Recommendations (below) to be shared with us by Mr. Marshall in his Exit Report. He emphasized in his remarks that our Self-Study was one of the best they had seen (“phenomenal,” “well written and candid”) and “the Team was blown away by our School.”

In his Conclusion Mr. Marshall wrote: [At New Indian School…] “There is a clear sense of purpose, familial collegiality, and a deep commitment to educating a child’s complete being—mind, character and consciousness. I was honored to lead this team and to be able to get to know you and your school better.

“Without a doubt, New Indian School should be very proud of its accomplishments and its proud legacy.”

He continues, “Like any fine school, New Indian School has many sterling attributes but also has areas that need attention.” That is really the purpose of the ISACS accreditation process: to assess how well we are meeting the standards we have set for ourselves. It is an opportunity to hold up a mirror on our strengths and to see how we can improve.

To take advantage of the feedback, we will meet again with each of the committees to review the specific ISACS reports (each also has Commendations and Recommendations) to prioritize our initiatives for the coming months and years. [The reports are being reviewed by ISACS prior to distribution.]

We are determined to maintain our momentum of progress, across all these areas of school life. We welcome your comments—and more importantly—your active involvement in the areas of greatest interest.

With this springboard to action, our New Indian School community will demonstrate our commitment to continuous improvement in 2013 and beyond.


Major Commendations

The ISACS Visiting Team commends the New Indian School for its:

  1.  Dedication and continuous commitment to the school’s founding and guiding principles of Consciousness-Based Education.
  2. Family-like community that nourishes each student within a safe, supportive, enriching, and low stress environment.
  3. Dedicated constituent groups—faculty/staff, Board of Directors, alumni, parents--who work selflessly to realize the school’s mission and to support the full development of its students.
  4. Students whose successes and achievements exemplify the effects of Consciousness-Based Education.
  5. Commitment to school improvement, growth, and independent-school best practices through the ISACS accreditation process.

Major Recommendations

The ISACS Visiting Team recommends that the New Indian School:

  1. Engage in frequent, scheduled dialogue within the school community regarding school decision-making processes, clarity of roles and responsibilities, and agreement on and consistent enforcement of school policies and procedures in order to foster greater trust, transparency, collaboration, and morale.
  2. Determine the appropriate staffing levels and structure to ensure the effective and efficient implementation of school mission, program, and operations.
  3. Implement with sustained vigilance the school’s identified plans to increase enrollment and enhance fundraising in order to ensure operational sustainability and continued growth, including long-deserved salary increases for faculty and staff.
  4. Prioritize and communicate the goals of the new strategic plan and develop specific action steps, including identification of and commitment to resources needed, so as to better ensure their full and complete implementation.
  5. Articulate and market how Consciousness-Based Education provides the foundation upon which student success and growth are built.

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