December 9, 2010

Pinkerton Makes the Grade with Evaluators

Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- Pinkerton Academy’s accreditation with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges has been extended for another 10 years, as evaluators commended the school on its Pinkerton pride and asked for a quick removal of portable classroom buildings.
The renewed NEASC accreditation came with a lengthy report written by members of a visiting committee that spent three days at the school in April.
“It’s a guiding light for us. It’s a direction, and it gives us a lot of areas to strive toward,” said Pinkerton Headmaster Mary Anderson Tuesday of the report. “I think we have a great institution here, but everybody can do better.”
In its report, the visiting committee made up of administrators and faculty from other independent NEASC schools highlighted major
 commendations for Pinkerton, including the professionalism and school pride of employees and students, and the construction of the new freshman academy building. 

Among recommendations for improvement, the visiting committee called for the removal of the numerous portable buildings, which Anderson said should all be gone by July as those classes move into the new freshman building. 
Two of the newer portables will be placed at the Haynes House to accommodate the adaptive equipment of some special education students in the ACT Program, she said. 
The report highlighted several buildings the committee said should be addressed by the school’s strategic plan, including the old fieldhouse, the CTE ground-floor rooms in the Low building and the Saltmarsh Library. 
While Anderson said that many of the group’s recommendations were expected, the request for updates to the strategic plan came as a surprise, she said. 
“We have (a strategic plan), but it just wasn’t as comprehensive as they wanted to see,” she said. 
The committee also asked that the school look into revising its faculty evaluation system, which Anderson said is about 15 years old and does need updating. 
“Our teacher evaluation forms have been around for a long time, and it’s the old pedagogical philosophy of education,” Anderson said. “The purpose of any evaluation is to improve instruction and that has never changed, but what has changed is what’s important in the classroom — the learning goals and being able to touch every type of learner in the classroom.” 
The school is currently piloting a few different teacher evaluation models before narrowing to a schoolwide solution, she said. 
And while Anderson said Pinkerton is taking on a number of new curricular initiatives, like differentiated instruction and formative and summative assessments, the committee recommended that the school put those ideas into a sequenced implementation plan. 
“They’re saying that we have to make sure that we’re not trying to do too much at once,” Anderson said. “You have things you want to change, but you have to think of the mandates of what you have to do and make sure you’re not spreading yourself too thin.” 
Pinkerton’s new NEASC accreditation extends until 2020. 

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