There are thousands of exams taken in Juneau-Douglas High School each year. This week, the school itself is being put to the test.
In one of the final steps of a three-year-long accreditation process, a team of educators is visiting JDHS today through Friday to assess the findings of the school's self-evaluation and school improvement plan.
In the past, the accreditation process looked at figures such as numbers of teachers, library books and so on, JDHS Assistant Principal Kathryn Milliron said.
This year, Milliron said, marks the first time the school is using a new results-based assessment. The school looked at student performance, identifying positive and negative areas, and proposed solutions to problems for the required school improvement plan.
The visiting team includes Vivian Dailey, principal of North Pole High School; Rich Carlson, superintendent of Klawock City Schools; Dan Langbauer, a teacher at Sitka High School; and Chris Jensen, a former Juneau resident, now an associate professor at Seattle University.
The group said the school's self-evaluation report will serve as its guide for the next three days as members look in on classrooms, roam hallways and meet with students, parents, teachers, staff and administrators.
"We'll be looking (to) validate what the school has (put in) the self-study; whether that is an accurate perception of reality," Carlson said.
This morning, the group split into pairs for a tour of JDHS led by seniors Kyle Barrill and Brenna Hall. The team members looked in on classrooms, introduced themselves to passersby in the halls and asked the guides questions about the various programs and classes they passed.
"We'll try to talk to as many people as we can ... to really get a broad view (if there is) widespread understanding of the study and is everyone equally committed to implementing it," Jensen said.
Dailey, whose school recently underwent its own accreditation review, said the team should be able to get an honest look at what is working and what needs improvement at JDHS.
"It's real hard to hide things," she said. "If the administration doesn't tell you, the kids do."
The rest of the visit will include class visits, walking the halls and meetings with groups such as the high school site council, the CHOICE program and teachers.
The visiting team will create a list of recommendations for the school. That list, along with the school's self-evaluation and school improvement plan, will be forwarded to the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, the accrediting agency.
The Juneau high school's accreditation is the oldest in the state, dating to 1927, Carlson said.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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