On December 2nd at noon, a few French American Academy teachers and staff members gathered in the science room to listen to the team from the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges deliver their oral report. Their assessment included this statement:
Extract of the oral report
“As we met with so many of you, your students and their parents over the past days, we heard three gifts that an education at the FAA bestows. We heard “confidence” born of the ability to speak in an atmosphere of encouragement rather than criticism. We heard about “cooperation” so necessary in building a perspective based on the good of the group rather than just the individual and we heard of “respect” for one another’s opinions and ideas. And we hear that the capacity for these three qualities carries your students beyond their years here into promising futures.
From our first evening here, in which we enjoyed the beautiful voices of 4th & 5th graders and were presented with their thoughtful cards, we began to see harmony and creativity come through all your hard work. We applaud you for the synergies you have encouraged among wll who work here.
As we have heard from parents, students and staff, this school evokes the best in everyone on campus and students blossom in the process.
We are impressed with the enthusiasm with which you have undertaken the growth of the schools and the way in which you welcome and mentor new students and teachers.…
We concluded that the FAA meets all 12 standards for accreditation.”
This oral report was the conclusion of 18 months of comprehensive self-study on all aspects of the school programs and operations. This full self-study occurs once every 7 years, but the process also requires periodic annual and mid-term reviews.
A comprehensive process
Back in September 2021, we gathered a 12-person Steering Committee composed of managers, teachers, and parents. In October 2021, we asked each stakeholder (team, parents and students to participate in a survey. From there, we analyzed the 12 standards of accreditation, ensuring that our curriculum, assessments, services, and policies reflected best practices, and we updated our long-term strategic plan.
A mark of excellence
Requesting and maintaining an accreditation is a mark of excellence and openness to feedback and input. Accreditation is an optional process—it is not mandated by the government. Our school has made the deliberate decision to seek accreditation and has committed to meeting the standards and expectations of the Middle States Association because we want our families to be sure that they have chosen the best environment for their children.
An international recognition
Additionally, MSA accreditation validates that a school meets internationally recognized standards of quality. MSA accreditation is recognized across the U.S. and around the world. The accreditation status of a school can also be a requirement for eligibility for some visas, grants and scholarships, as well as university admissions.
A bright future for our three campuses
The MSA visiting team spent 4 days at the French American Academy, alternating visits in Jersey City, Englewood, and Hoboken, to confirm in person all the evidence and written reports previously submitted. Committed to transparency, the FAA opened its doors to a team of peer-educators from other accredited schools to conduct an on-site review of all aspects of our school program including our mission, teaching and learning, and student well-being.
We are now waiting for the official confirmation from the National Commission of Middle States Association, and look forward to receiving our updated certificate.
“It is the most exhausting process,” says Anne-Sophie Gueguen, FAA’s Founder and Head of School, “but also the most rewarding experience, as it ensures that our practices are based on high quality standards and the excellence we want to provide to our team, families and children.”
For information on the accreditation, watch this video.