Praise the Lord! The accreditation review team that was at BJA February 24–26 will recommend to the accrediting agency commissions that Bob Jones Academy be reaffirmed as accredited, this time with Accreditation with Distinction. If approved, BJA will be the first school in the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools with the status of Accreditation with Distinction.
During this morning’s BJA Briefing, BJA Administrator Dr. Dan Nelson explained the accreditation review process and gave a summary of what the review team said during its wrap-up meeting with BJA’s administrative team.
The review process includes BJA preparing written responses to 12 standards of accreditation as well as supporting materials for those responses. A 6-member review team is assigned particular standards to review. Ahead of the visit they review the written responses and samples related to their assigned standard(s). During the visit the team delves into details at the school—meeting with people, from administrators and faculty and staff members to parents and students, as well as reviewing actual processes and files, buildings and actual classes, and more.
Team members have an extensive meeting to compile and summarize their findings on each of the 12 standards and, to conclude the visit, meet with the school’s administrative team.
At this final meeting the review team informs the administrative team of their planned accreditation recommendation to the accrediting agency as well as any recommendations (essentially, requirements that must be completed before another accreditation review process) and suggestions (observations of ways to improve the school, but suggestive only). Eventually the team will send the school a comprehensive written report that includes, for example, the level of the team’s findings about each standard. The rubric includes absent, emerging, effective, and exemplary.
In this year’s accreditation review wrap-up meeting, BJA received no major recommendations for improvement. This is highly unusual in a review, and we thank the Lord for this.
The team gave three suggestions: to continue to study security in the high school area, to develop alumni relations, and to create a more orchestrated and comprehensive means of promoting the school.
During the BJA Briefing Dr. Nelson and secondary principal, Mr. Larry Hunt, talked about challenges related to security at the high school, current risk mitigation already in place, and possible improvements already under discussion. Dr. Nelson also mentioned tentative ideas regarding school promotion and a recent transition in responsibility for Dr. Esther Baker that will include development of alumni relations.
At the heart of accreditation is school improvement, and while we are grateful for the good initial report, we recognize our need to continue improving BJA for the benefit of the students and, most importantly, for the glory of God.