The administration of John H. Woodson Junior High School was notified this month that the school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, making it the first public junior high school on St. Croix to be so recognized.
The official letter to Woodson Principal Vaughn Hewitt was sent May 1 by Dr. Henry G. Cram, president of the Middle States Association’s Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. Woodson has been accredited for the next seven years, until May 1, 2020.
The school has been in the accreditation process for the past six years, according to the Department of Education release announcing the news. Hewitt, who has been at Woodson since 1996, has faced a host of challenges – including mold, air conditioning and flooding. At one point in 2005 the entire school, faculty and students, had to be moved to nearby Elena Christan Junior High while the district investigated a mold problem in the Woodson buildings. The accreditation news was an exciting culmination to the six-year process.
"The whole school is excited, and just so happy that we were able to work together and accomplish this goal for the students," Hewitt said Friday. "This was a process that really included everyone and because we went through this together, we’re even more united, from our community to the parents, and that really is a wonderful feeling."
A team from Middle States visited the school in October, inspecting the facilities and meeting with faculty, studetns and parents. At the end of that visit team leader Priscilla Feir gave the school a glowing review and said the the school would be recommended for accreditation. The recommendation was officially accepted during the Spring 2013 meeting of the Middle States Association’s Commission on Elementary Schools.
"This is truly a major accomplishment for the hard-working administrators and staff at John H. Woodson Junior High School," acting Education Commissioner Donna Frett-Gregory said Friday. "It is their overwhelming committment and dedication – both to the students and to the betterment of the school – that has made this possible, and I truly congratulate them for a job well done."
St. Croix Central High School recently hosted a Middle States team and was also recommended for accreditation. According to DOE officials, Arthur A. Richards and Elena Christian Junior High Schools also are eager to begin the process, which start with a yearlong self-study process.
On St. Thomas-St. John, Addelita Cancryn Junior High is seeking accreditation, while Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School, Charlotte Amalie High School and Ivanna Eudora Kean have all be re-accredited recently.