The New England Association of Schools & Colleges has removed Newtown High School from warning status and continued its accreditation, according to a letter received by the school district Friday.
The change represents a long-awaited milestone for the school, which has been plagued by concerns the school could lose its accreditation due to violations to the Standards for Accreditation on Curriculum and Community Resources for Learning identified about six years ago.
Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson said she was pleased the warning had been lifted.
“They even issued five commendations,” Robinson said of the accreditation body.
The association’s Commission on Public Secondary Schools in its letter commended the completion and occupancy of the renovation project and the “postive impact” of the addition on education programs.
It also recognized a ninth grade mentoring program and other measures to help ninth graders better transition to the school. Finally, the commission noted the implementation of the monthly half-day release schedule, and establishment of professional learning communities for teachers.
The letter comes as the district prepares for a new round of accreditation review, which the commission makes note in its letter asking the district to submit a pre-self-study report.
Robinson, who was hired after the NEASC warning was issued, said she never believed the school was at a real risk of losing its accreditation. The school had taken steps to correct the violations, and also would have had to be put on probation before the accreditation could be removed. The warning never reached that level.
At the same time, the warning was seen as a black mark on the school by many parents.
“It was really important to the parents because they felt it was diminishing the school for their kids getting into college,” Robinson said. “They were very concerned about the NEASC accreditation and if the school lost accreditation what that would mean."
The warning status was among one of the reasons that prompted parents to lobby for the expansion of the high school. The school was cited for not having enough course offerings for students due to cramped quarters, officials said.
The Bedford, MA-based commission said it voted to remove Newtown High School from warning during a Jan. 23-24 meeting.