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Three Schools Win Early Childhood Accreditation

June 18, 2008

By Cate Lecuyer, The Salem News, Beverly, Mass.

Jun. 18–BEVERLY — Ayers, Hannah and McKeown elementary schools have been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, making them among the first programs in the nation to receive the distinction since the agency elevated its standards in 2006.

The new system “raises the bar for preschools, child care centers and other early childhood programs,” said Mark Ginsberg, the association’s executive director.

Or, as Assistant Superintendent Marie Galinski put it, “We have a quality program, and now we have an outside organization telling us that.”

Like the more familiar New England Association of Schools and College, NAEYC is a volunteer accrediting agency that holds early childhood education programs to certain standards.

Galinski said the three schools have been conducting self-studies since September 2006. The focus is on the relationship between teachers and students in the classroom, curriculum, student progress, qualification of staff, the leadership and management of the school, and many other factors. The study includes teachers observing other teachers in the classroom, surveys of staff and parents, and a long, hard look at the organization as a whole.

The association visited the schools in March and granted accreditation at the end of May.

The recognition will not matter for McKeown, because the school will close this week and become an alternative secondary school in the fall.

Galinski said North Beverly, Cove and Centerville elementary schools are all working toward the accreditation, and hope to receive it by next year.

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