Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SBP completes SAC review

St. Bernard Preparatory School completed the final phase of a year-long reaffirmation of accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools on Wednesday and Thursday, March 10-11. Dr. Donna Bryant, Assistant Headmaster at St. Bernard Prep, served as the project coordinator. Chairing the review team was Dr. Maurice Persall, Dean of the School of Education of Samford University. He was assisted by Dr. David Balik, the Dean of the Faculty at Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham and Dr. Lynn Kirkland, Professor of Education from the University of Alabama, Birmingham. At the end of the two-day review, St. Bernard Preparatory School was reaffirmed as an accredited school by the Southern Association (SACS).

Accredited schools are required to undergo a review every five years. In preparation for the SACS review, the faculty completed a Standards Assessment Report which is an internal analysis of the school’s current practices. “There are seven standards which are uniform and are used throughout the country,” said Dr. Bryant. “In order for a school to be accredited it must equal or exceed what every other accredited school in the country is doing.”

St. Bernard teachers served on the committees which addressed each of the seven standards. Each committee was required to submit a report which documented current practices in each of the seven standards. These seven reports were then compiled into one document called the Standards Assessment Report. This document, which was submitted to the state office of SACS in January 2010, was used by the members of the visiting team in preparation for their visit to the campus.

During their review, the SACS visitation team met with the faculty committee members, spoke with currently enrolled students and talked with their parents. They also met with several members of the St. Bernard Board of Directors as well as selected administrators. “Part of the on-site visit is to ensure that our Standards Assessment Report accurately reflects the actual practices of the school,” said Dr. Bryant.

At the end of the two-day visit, the committee reaffirmed St. Bernard Preparatory School as an accredited school and offered commendations and recommendations to the faculty, staff and administration on their work in educating today’s youth. “It was evident to us,” said Dr. Persall, “that St. Bernard Preparatory School has a committed faculty, staff and administration and holds a very distinctive place in the community.”

St. Bernard Preparatory School is a accredited, co-educational Catholic Boarding and Day School for students in grades seven through twelve. St. Bernard is operated by the Benedictine monks at St. Bernard Abbey. The 800 acre campus is home to the world famous Ave Maria Grotto, St. Bernard Abbey Retreat and Conference Center, and Alabama’s only Benedictine Abbey – St. Bernard Abbey.

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