Your children probably told you that this past week there were some visitors in their classrooms. The members of our distinguished SACS/SAIS Accreditation Committee toured the Lower School on Monday afternoon for a facilities visit. (This was the first step of their evaluation process.) They spent through Wednesday afternoon at the Middle and Upper Schools.
The visiting team included Barbara Egan, vice president of Woodward Academy in Atlanta; Byron Hulsey, head of the Randolph School in Huntsville, Ala.; Vicki Ball, Lower School Director at Annie Wright School in Tacoma, Wash.; Karl Sjolund, head of school at Salem Academy at Salem, N.C.; Dan Sturdevant, humanties and social science teacher and residential faculty member at St. Mary’s School in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; and Brooke Hummel, director of auxiliary, lower school admissions and varsity girls’ lacrosse coach at Cape Henry Collegiate School in Norfolk, Va. There was also an observer on hand from SAIS: Damian Kavanage, vice president for accreditation and school services.
Both Vicki Ball and Brooke Hummel spent their time at the Lower School visiting classrooms and talking with teachers and students. They were very complimentary of what they observed and were particularly interested in our Darlington Writes Program, asking for copies to take back to their home schools.
They had lunch with six of our fourth-grade students and were impressed with their courtesy and knowledge. At the end of their conversation, one of our students went to empty his tray. He returned to the table to thank them for their visit and told them he enjoyed speaking with them. (No one told him to make that comment!) We are proud of our students who know how to act and respond in an appropriate way.
Our self-study included improvements that have been made since the last accreditation visit in 2007. Darlington received a special accolade this year because our self-study was presented as an eBook. Thanks to the work of Academic Dean David Powell and his committee; I.T. staffers Stefan Eady and Audra Babb; and graphic designer Doug Hamil, Darlington is a trendsetter for future evaluations.
The visiting accreditation team is charged with two duties: to validate that the past recommendations have been completed and that the self-study reflects continuous improvements, and to ensure that Darlington has met all requirements of SACS/SAIS Accreditation Process. The final report will be sent to the school in the spring.
At an afternoon meeting with all faculty and staff on Wednesday afternoon, Barbara Egan, chairwoman of the Accreditation Committee, informed us that Darlington School is being unanimously recommended for re-accreditation.
Headmaster Tom Whitworth thanked the faculty for the wonderful job they are doing to move Darlington forward. He asked Board Chairman Frank Stegall ('62) to comment on the process. Dr. Stegall said he was very moved by how far our school has come over the years. He shared that the accreditation team mentioned that some schools are what they call "diamonds in the rough," but that Darlington is a "well-polished jewel."