Earlier this summer, Eden Autism was pleased to announce that we were reaccredited by the National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES) and remain part of the elite group of fewer than 30 schools across the country that have earned NCASES certification.
What is the National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES) and why is it important to receive their accreditation?
Established in 1992 by the National Association of Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC), NCASES is the country’s leading accreditation program for private special education services. The organization was established in response for a need for private special education providers to have an accreditation process that uniquely addresses the programs and the populations they serve.
In early May, Eden underwent our fifth quadrennial comprehensive review by NCASES. The process systematically evaluated the private special education programs on the basis of The Eden School’s educational practices, creative innovation, faculty credentials, diversity and the means to which we ensure a healthy and safe environment that is conductive to special learning.
The site review conducted by a team of three NCASES members, took place over the course of three days. Review results were based off of documents, interviews and programs all related to The Eden School. Interviews were conducted with teaching staff, management, parents, Board members and local education agencies. After a comprehensive tour of the facility, the NCASES team engaged in an extensive review of relevant documentation which included licenses, certifications, program descriptions, performance evaluations, curriculum, orientation materials, operating procedures, marketing materials, financial statements and job descriptions.
At their final wrap-up meeting with Eden’s management team and a group of lead teachers from The Eden School, the NCASES team reported on their observations which took place during their tours and interviews with staff, parents, sending school districts and board members. Speaking on behalf of the team, one remarked, “Eden staff members have taken their organization to a different level.”
The team was most impressed with the success of Eden’s students and the comprehensiveness of classroom programing including classroom goals, transition to employment, speech and clinical skills. They also commended that the amount of time Eden works on functional skills, such as desensitization programs to assist students in being able to get their haircut, go for a checkup and dentist visits. The NCASES team remarked that the programs are not only impressive, but that the data supports the curriculum decisions that have been made proving functionality. Another commented, “The way you work here is seamless! You do it so well, that other people should see the way you do it. ” With regard to Eden’s connection to the community, the team commented on our strong community presence where we are well known and deeply established.
In response to evaluating the school, the NCASES team reported a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The team climate showed a dedication by staff members to both students and one another. They noted that classrooms observed were well structured with lots of individual instruction where students are constantly engaged. Goals are clearly identified through policy and procedures along with a strong curriculum geared toward the population while allowing for creativity. They were equally impressed with the transition process The Eden School has built for graduating seniors commenting that it is “strong, smooth and effective.”
In their interview with parent groups, the NCASES team reported that families expressed their appreciation for the incredible support and quality of the staff they have found at Eden. One parent commented, “When we joined Eden, we thought we were joining a school, instead we found a community.”
The NCASES team gave their final, thoughts as they closed the meeting saying that they were impressed with the sense of family, pride and community among all of the staff. They noted that this sense of accomplishment was evident among students as they seem to truly enjoy their environment and commented, “You are a great organization and you are what you are setting out to be. This has been a wonderful experience for all of us!”
Based on the criteria set forth by the NCASES commission, The Eden School was lauded for its efforts and teaching methods. We received our final accreditation letter last month.
The review is based on 345 standards, which out of the 293 standards that were applicable to us, Eden met or exceeded 292! Most importantly, the reviewers stated in their exit remarks that many of our programs are highly innovative and represent some of the most promising practices they have seen. This new accreditation period will last for a period of four years.