The Webb School has earned reaccreditation for five years from the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS). Head of School Ray Broadhead was notified of the reaccreditation following a yearlong process of self-evaluation and an onsite peer review in October.
The SAIS reaccreditation self-study was led by Broadhead, Andrew McRady, dean of students, and Kelly Northrup, Latin teacher. Others contributing information were the many stakeholders of the school (students, faculty, parents, trustees, and alumni) who completed surveys over a year ago to help us identify areas that may need improvement. Ideas were further studied by the faculty, administrators, and the trustees.
SAIS is a voluntary organization of independent elementary and secondary schools throughout the Southeastern United States and the Caribbean. The organization addresses issues of importance to non-public schools such as organizational excellence, accreditation, curriculum, professional development, governance, equity and leadership.
"The most important aspect of the reaccreditation process is the self-study, as we deeply examine ourselves, reflect on where we are, and determine where we need to improve," said Broadhead. "The process also exposes us to new and higher standards demanded by SAIS. In the next few years we will work hard to achieve our goals and create a culture of learning, in a safe environment, where our standards of behavior and character remain fundamental to our mission. I am deeply grateful for all of our constituents who contributed their thoughts to help make Webb the best it can be."
To earn reaccreditation from SAIS, Webb complied with quality standards, was evaluated by an outside group of peer professionals, and implemented a school plan focused on strategic improvement and student performance in accordance with the school's mission. A team representing SAIS conducted an onsite visit to review the school's self-study and standards compliance and its adherence to its mission. The team was comprised of diverse educational leaders from institutions in the Southeast. The visiting team sought the answers to critical questions the school asked of itself.
"For me, accreditation provides the opportunity for us to more deeply reflect on who we are and why we do the things we do. Of course, it is about being accountable to ourselves and all of our stakeholders---students, parents, and alumni," said Northrup. Accreditation can become about checking boxes, and it is important to make sure those boxes are checked. However, and much more excitingly, it is also a chance to recall our dedication to our mission, remind us of our unique gifts and challenges as a school, and reignite our passion as educators to carry out our mission, maximize our gifts, and face our challenges head-on."
McRady added, "It is always exciting when a community looks at the big questions that guide a school. Accreditation talks in terms of "stakeholders" - all of those who have a stake in the school community - that includes students and parents, teachers and staff, and the governance of the school. We are all involved in this great endeavor that is The Webb School. We are part of a historical continuum of excellence in education that reaches back almost 150 years." McRady, a 1986 Webb graduate, noted, "As we moved through the accreditation process, we were able to focus on the elements of our history that have made our school great and then chart our way forward into the coming years. This is an exciting time in education and The Webb School is uniquely poised, with our depth of history and educational understanding, to move confidently forwards into the 21st Century."
Among numerous commendations, the visiting team commended Webb for:
- Talented and energetic admissions team,
- Strong alumni support in all aspects of the operations of the school,
- Strong tradition and commitment to The Honor Code,
- Successful completion of new dorms, student center, and residential village,
- Strength and dedication of the faculty and their willingness to help students outside of class time,
- The Board's active commitment to the recent capital campaign, and
- The thoroughness and quality of the school's self-study and school improvement plan.
An independent college preparatory day/boarding school for grades 6-12, The Webb School is the oldest continuously operating school of its kind in the South. The school has a dual emphasis on academic excellence and character development.
For more information about The Webb School, visit www.thewebbschool.com.