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Accreditation Likely for Central High

Oct. 26, 2005 — St Croix Central High is reaching for the brass ring of accreditation again.
The Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools is meeting this weekend to review the accomplishments of the school and determine if the strides measure up to the committee's standards.
Virgin Islands Education Commissioner Dr. Noreen Michael released a statement on Monday saying that the high school has met the final requirements necessary for an accreditation vote by the Middle States Commission.
Michael said that the issues Middle States cited during its most recent visit have been successfully addressed.
"During the visiting team’s visit in May the school received a favorable recommendation toward its accreditation, meeting all 12 national standards," Michael said.
Those national standards include all aspects of its institutional learning areas and school operations, curricular and instructional standards, as well as the strategic planning requirements applicable to all schools accredited by the Middle States Commission, she said.
But the department may be counting its chickens before they hatch.
"You can't report that it is a fait accompli," Dr. Kenneth Kastel, Middle States deputy director, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. Kastel said the 21-member committee would meet Thursday through Saturday in Philadelphia to determine the school's fate.
"They will determine if the school has met the requirements," Kastel said.
He said the team cautioned the Education Department not to disclose any information to the media before the committee made its findings.
"They are excited," Kastel said, speculating on the reason for the news release. "I don’t want to be hard on them."
Central, Charlotte Amalie and Ivanna Eudora Kean high schools had their accredited status pulled in 2001 by Middle States. CAHS and Kean were reaccredited earlier this year.
St. Croix's other high school, the Educational Complex, is completing its first accreditation process.
Central High Principal Gary Molloy said the campus has undergone many improvements. Molloy was transferred to Central in August, replacing former principal Kent Moorehead.
Molloy said he did not want to make any statements on the accreditation process, instead citing improvements to the school's parking lot and new science labs, which were opened for student use on Oct. 21. He said the future of the school looks good.
"We have to be proactive, with progressive maintenance," Molloy said. "We need to keep the environment conducive to learning."
Michael said the improvements made on Central’s parking area include handicap accessible parking area, re-paving, striping, the construction of two pavilions for bus and other transportation drop-offs and pick-ups, the construction of a security booth at the entrance to the campus and more lighting throughout the parking lot.
She said Terrence T. Joseph, St. Croix insular superintendent, has provided weekly updates on the progress and project completions to Dr. Mary Anne Keeley, associate director for Middle States.
"We are extremely hopeful that the two high schools will be voted on with positive results," Michael said in a release. "The completion of this work signifies the department’s committed effort toward the continuous improvement to ensure the best quality educational programs and services for students in the territory."
Michael concluded by commending the Central High School administration, staff, students, parents, community partners and other education personnel for their commitment to seeing this activity through.
"It is evident that the work performed throughout the course of this process was a labor of love," the commissioner said. "The passion behind every meeting and each action toward its completion spoke volumes."

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