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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • St. John school earns accreditation

  • “Accreditation gives us credibility and shows the Redwood Falls area we are dedicated to offering a quality, Christ-centered education,” said Dave Gartner, school principal.
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  • As a non-public education program, St. John School in Redwood Falls belongs to an organization known as the Minnesota Non-Public Accrediting Association (MNSAA) and it is through this organization that the school receives its accreditation.
    That accreditation offers credibility to the local program, and is renewed every seven years. MNSAA just recently announced it has officially renewed the St. John School program through 2020.
    “Accreditation gives us credibility and shows the Redwood Falls area we are dedicated to offering a quality, Christ-centered education,” said Dave Gartner, school principal.
    Accreditation is a voluntary method of quality assurance for a school, with the goal to evaluate, validate and improve the quality of each school.
    “MNSAA comes in to evaluate what we know to be true about here at St. John’s,” Gartner said, adding the school is dedicated to making sure its students have the best possible education available to them as students in the preschool through eighth grade program.
    MNSAA is a federally recognized and state sanctioned non-profit association for accrediting schools in the State of Minnesota.
    Its mission is to be a catalyst for enhancing the quality of K-12 non-public education in the state through a comprehensive process of accreditation. MNSAA helps schools provide quality non-public education for the children of the state for its member schools.
    MNSAA is governed by a member elected board of directors that bases its accreditation on a school’s evaluation through a self-study process.
    Schools are accredited based on their compliance with a set of rigorous standards which identify essential curriculum, instruction, personnel, governance, facility and marketing policies and practices considered necessary for an effective school.
    The accreditation process includes the creation of a visionary and focused strategic plan for improvement and an onsite visit by a team of educators from member schools.
    Accreditation with MNSAA relies heavily on how the individual school defines its mission and the way it seeks to accomplish that mission.
    MNSAA is pleased to have St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran School join some of the more than 170 accredited schools that make up the association.
    MNSAA salutes St. John’s commitment to providing outstanding education to the students of this community, and MNSAA has committed to providing ongoing guidance to the school through an annual review of its strategic plan.
    According to Gart-ner, an eight-member team visited the school district over a two-day period to evaluate.
    The accreditation is not about evaluating teachers, added Gartner, but is about how the school as a whole does everything from select its curriculum to fulfill its mission.
    The school has been accredited since 1992, and Gartner said this most recent accreditation evaluation was the fourth he has been involved with over the years. He also said this was the first evaluation that did not include a “to do” list of improvements for the school.
    Page 2 of 2 - There are eight standards the school is evaluated on from learner development to curriculum and instruction, and Gartner said the district has committees set up that evaluate within the school ot make sure it is meeting the standards.
    While the accreditation is essentially in place through 2020, Gartner said the school is constantly going through evaluation from MNSAA, with information required from the school each year. The information is used to determine where the school needs to make improvements.
    Gartner St. John’s is always looking for ways it can do things better, and he said that is why the school is seeing growth.
    The school, emphasized Gartner, is open to anyone who would like to attend, adding the desire of the school is to offer the best program it can for the community.
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