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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, March 29, 2023


The territory's three public high schools have been assured of accreditation through May 1, 2001, Government House announced Friday.
Members of the Middle States Association accreditation team told top V.I. officials that they will recommend continued accreditation because of the "real and comprehensive commitment toward positive changes" that they saw in their week-long visit to St. Thomas and St. Croix.
The team — consisting of Dr. Frank Bergman, Dr. William Biniek and Middle States Commissioner Yvonne Jones — had "high praise for the level of commitment they witnessed from the students, parents, educators and administrators" they met with, the Government House release said.
The team voiced confidence in Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's "ability to oversee completion of their recommendations and to institute full site-based management, continued improvement of the student/teacher attendance rate and creation of a viable substitute teacher pool," the release said.
Those issues had been on the top of the Middle States' list of concerns when it gave the three high schools temporary accreditation last year.
Turnbull, a former Education commissioner and Board of Education chairman, told the accreditation team Friday that he has identified $500,000 in "real money" to help the high schools — $200,000 for substitute teachers and $100,000 each for Charlotte Amalie, Eudora Kean and St. Croix Central High for the site-based management initiative that will give them more control over their own needs.
Acting Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds was elated with the accreditation decision.
"We will move forward with dispatch to assure that all of our high schools maintain the highest levels of excellence of which they are capable," she said. "The achievement and maintenance of high standards in instruction remain the centerpiece of education in our territory. Our students must and will be as competitive as students from anywhere across the globe."
In addition to noting the progress made in addressing their four earlier areas of concern, the accreditation team — and participants in Friday's meeting — agreed that the Board of Education must play a more prominent role in running the territory's schools, the release said.
Among those at Friday's meeting: Senate President Vargrave Richards; Sens. Judy Gomez, Alli-Allison Petrus, Norman Jn. Baptiste, Almando "Rocky" Liburd, Donald Cole, Gregory Bennerson, Roosevelt David and Anne Golden; district superintendents Rosalia Payne and Terrence Joseph; and Keith Richards from the Board of Education.

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