John Knox Christian School in Oakville has joined a handful of schools to be accredited by the Canadian Hallmark Institute, an organization geared at establishing public standards for independent schools.
“This allows us to be able to say that we’re delivering high quality education,” says principal John Lunshof.
The Oakville school recently completed the rigorous accreditation process, which began with an in-depth review through the School Quality Assurance Program (SQAP) of the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS).
SQAP examines five domains of the school: school identity, school management, academic performance, school culture and community relations.
A committee was formed last year at John Knox to ensure policies and procedures were in place to address each of these areas appropriately.
“(The committee) also makes sure the policies and procedures are being used in practice,” says Lunshof.
Two SQAP auditors then spent two days in the spring reviewing documentation compiled by the committee on the school’s performance in the five key areas.
They interviewed a range of school community members from bus-drivers to board members about their views and experiences. The auditors also made their own observations on the school to ensure that documentation lined up with what was actually happening.
Outcomes for the SQAP process were such that the school was given the green light to apply for the CHI accreditation, which it did.
The auditors presented a series of recommendations for improving some of the school’s policies and actions in order to receive CHI accreditation.
These were completed through the summer and months of September and October.
Following another review by CHI auditors, John Knox was officially recognized as a CHI accredited school on Nov. 14. The school received a plaque to memorialize its accomplishment.
The accreditation is effective for six years with an annual review to “make sure we’re keeping our act together,” according to Lunshof.
After six years the school may go through SQAP again, which Lunshof notes makes sense as it is a “formative process and we can always improve on what we’re doing.”
Seven Ontario schools are now accredited with CHI.
The vision of the institute is to “assure clearer accountability and contribute to the enhancement of the quality of non-government education in Canada.”
For more information, visit www.hallmarksinstitute.ca.
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