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May 30. 2014 7:30PM

Central High principal: Accreditation report to be released in mid-June

MANCHESTER — The organization that accredits high schools in New England has written a preliminary report about Central High School, but Principal John Rist and Mayor Ted Gatsas said Friday that it won’t be released until the second week of June.

Rist said Central has had the report since May 5, and it has been reviewed by school faculty.

But he would not provide it to a reporter. The Manchester Board of School Committee should see the report first, and the New England Assocation of Schools and Colleges gives a school up to 60 days to release the document, Rist said.

Rist said plans are to present the accreditation report to the school board on June 9, and he would provide a copy to a reporter the following day. June 10 is the deadline for Manchester city officials to adopt a budget that covers city and school spending.

The New Hampshire Union Leader on Friday filed a Right to Know request with school Superintendent Debra Livingston for the report.

“I’m not hiding anything. We’re not unhappy with the report,” Rist said on Friday. He said it includes both commendations and recommendations about how to improve the school.

Mayor Ted Gatsas, the chairman of the school board, said he has not seen the report, and Livingtson has made it clear she will distribute the report at the next school board meeting. He said it is not a public document until the school board receives it.

“Until the folks on the school board get it,” Gatsas told a reporter, “I don’t know why you should get it.”

An accreditation is a lengthy process that involves outside evaluators who look at a school to determine that it meets benchmarks set by professionals, according to the website of the New England Assocation of Schools and Colleges, which handles accreditation in all New England states.

“The goal of accreditation is to maintain a quality education for the entire student population. Accreditation ensures that through a mutually agreed-upon process there has been a third-party examination and evaluation by peers of the extent to which a school meets the Commission’s standards for accreditation,” the website reads. The results of that scrutiny are publically available, the website reads.

Only one New Hampshire high school, Stevens High School in Claremont, is on probation.

Rist said Central’s accreditation isn’t at the point where NEASC decides the final accreditation status of the school. Once Central responds to the findings of the accreditation team, NEASC will decide the status.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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