“How do you know it works?”
After a century of scientific inquiry, our society very much wants evidence for claims that people make whether for health recommendations, fuel-efficient vehicles or economic strategies. In public education, this desire for accountability and evidence has produced standard-based measures such as No Child Left Behind, Virginia’s Standards of Learning, and now the Common Core initiatives.
At EMS, we desire accountability for what our students learn, which comes through our partnerships with families, the churches of the families we serve and with our students. We trust our teachers to provide engaging lessons and opportunities for deep learning. The components of our mission statement—faith, academics, integrity, and service—are expressed in each classroom.
To ensure that all of our students receive appropriate and productive instruction, this year we have launched an Academic Audit process for all of our subject areas so that we systemically and regularly review the instruction received by our students. During this process, I will, as Director of Academics, evaluate two to three departments for the following:
- Alignment of course material with national curricular standards
- Coverage of materials from grades K through 12
- Effectiveness of assessment measures
- Promotion of critical thinking, information literacy and emotional intelligence.
This evaluation process includes classroom visits, review of relevant materials, textbook evaluation, student, parent and alumni surveys, and departmental meetings. The sequence for this audit is planned as follows:
- 2011-2012 Social Studies/Applied Arts
- 2012-2013 English/Modern Languages
- 2013-2014 Science/Physical Education
- 2015-2016 Math/Digital Literacy
- 2016-2017 Bible/Fine Arts
In this first year of the Academic Audit process, I welcome your comments so that this yearly process will be worthwhile. Like educators everywhere, we too want our families to know that the investment in an Eastern Mennonite School education will be valuable for students, now and for a life time. Please don't hesitate
to contact me with any curricular suggestions you may have -- I value your opinion.
Patsy Seitz, Director of Academics