Tag Archives: academic

ACSI accreditation

November 2012

ACSI-logo

Under the supervision of Stephen Meier, Brazosport Christian School (BCS) recently accomplished something that no other Christian school in the United States has yet to achieve.

Under the supervision of Stephen Meier, Brazosport Christian School (BCS) recently accomplished something that no other Christian school in the United States has yet to achieve.

The school was due to go through the normal accreditation process.  However, Stephen introduced a new concept to be added to the accreditation process.  Instead of striving for simply renewing their current accreditation with ACSI (Association of Christian Schools), they also wanted to become accredited with SACS (also known as Advanced Ed) which is an accreditation program used more often by secular private schools.  Although many Christian schools have achieved accreditation with both ACSI and SACS, this is first time that a Christian school has requested to process both accreditations at the same time with the help of a team from ACSI.

This became possible only recently, because ACSI has partnered with SACS in order to send a team of administrators to process both accreditations at the same time. Stephen’s first few months of the school year were focused on that goal of helping the school complete this dual accreditation process with success.  For several weeks, I would see stacks of binders being brought home as Stephen filled out all the proper paperwork that was needed. He supervised his principals and teachers as they created standards, collected evidence and created master binders that would reflect all the important curriculum and activities of the school.

The accreditation team from ACSI arrived on the afternoon of October 14 and visited the school from October 15-17.  After interviewing teachers, visiting classrooms and looking through countless binders, the team decided that the school was approved to be accredited by both ACSI and SACS.  It is such a new process that no other school has yet attempted to do the same thing.  Stephen was able to become part of a trail blazing effort that produced successful results.

The school was due to go through the normal accreditation process.  However, Stephen introduced a new concept to be added to the accreditation process.  Instead of striving for simply renewing their current accreditation with ACSI (Association of Christian Schools), they also wanted to become accredited with SACS (also known as Advanced Ed) which is an accreditation program used more often by secular private schools.  Although many Christian schools have achieved accreditation with both ACSI and SACS, this is first time that a Christian school has requested to process both accreditations at the same time with the help of a team from ACSI.

This became possible only recently, because ACSI has partnered with SACS in order to send a team of administrators to process both accreditations at the same time. Stephen’s first few months of the school year were focused on that goal of helping the school complete this dual accreditation process with success.  For several weeks, I would see stacks of binders being brought home as Stephen filled out all the proper paperwork that was needed. He supervised his principals and teachers as they created standards, collected evidence and created master binders that would reflect all the important curriculum and activities of the school.

The accreditation team from ACSI arrived on the afternoon of October 14 and visited the school from October 15-17.  After interviewing teachers, visiting classrooms and looking through countless binders, the team decided that the school was approved to be accredited by both ACSI and SACS.  It is such a new process that no other school has yet attempted to do the same thing.  Stephen was able to become part of a trail blazing effort that produced successful results.

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Nearing “Half-Time”

For many students, the Christmas break was not to be spent entirely on relaxing and enjoying the time away from school.  In fact, several of my students mentioned that they would be busy with homework, projects and study to be prepared for those first few weeks of January. 

Now that the school year begins in September, the end of the first quarter has been pushed to the last week of January.  Therefore, the four weeks in January are the last four weeks of the first semester. 

For Cristina Meier, this means getting final project guidelines prepared for her students and getting ready to grade them all when they are finished. 

Her Journalism class of twelve students has written articles for four “issues” of their on-line newspaper known as the AAI Witness.

Link here: http://208.110.83.190/~aainews/

They will be writing articles for one more issue before they focus on completing their final project, which is a portfolio of their work and what they’ve learned.  It has been a tough semester for this class, because English is a second or third language for most of these students and writing does not come easy.  Spiritually, it has also been a difficult class for Cristina, because the students are either nominal Christians or do not believe Jesus is anything besides a religious tradition.  Still, she begins each class with a moment of prayer and tries to integrate her faith into journalism as much as she can.

Cristina’s computer classes are winding down to their final tasks and projects.  Her eighth grade students will soon be learning how to use Power Point and will create a presentation to share with the class during the final days of the semester.  Her high school keyboarding class will get a chance to test their keyboarding skills to see if they’ve improved in their typing speed over the semester.  They will also do a small project to prove their skills at word processing.

January is a busy month for everyone at AAI.   In the middle of this month, Stephen will actually leave for a week to attend a conference in Miami, Florida to learn how to be a better curriculum director.  He will be flying to Miami on January 11 to attend the conference from January 12 to January 14 and then return to Quito on the evening of January 15.  Unfortunately, the rest of the family has to stay in Quito.  So, Cristina will have to take care of two energetic, little boys on her own for about five days.

In the midst of all this activity, Cristina is also trying to pull off a political cartoon contest among the high school and middle school students.  She is hoping that there will be enough entries to make the contest valid.  So far only three high school students and two middle school students have submitted artwork.

An 80th Anniversary Event

If I could find a time machine, I might be tempted to travel back to November 3, 1929, when the doors opened for the first day of school at the fledgling missionary school that would come to be known all over South America as “La Academia Alianza.” 

The Alliance Academy International (http://www.alliance.k12.ec) has seen many changes take place its eighty years of existence.  We are excited to be a part of this ministry during this time in which we have the opportunity to commemorate the past 80 years of academic school years that have taken place within the school. 

The school began as many missionary schools do.  A group of missionaries with the mission known as “Christian and Missionary Alliance” (CMA) were concerned about the quality of education that their children were receiving and wanted to start a school where their children could get the education they needed to attend a college of their choice.  The couples organized a classroom atmosphere in one of the rooms of the Alliance Mission House on Cuenca street in downtown Quito, and that is how eight students became the first alumni of the Alliance Academy.

One of the interesting ways in which history comes full circle is that I (Cristina Meier) am currently teaching the great-grandson of the one of those first students.  I taught him last year as an eighth grader in Computer 8 and now he is also in my High School keyboarding class as a freshman.

The school was known simply as the Alliance Academy back then.  They occupied the Mission House classroom for 10 years until they were able to afford property across the street from another strong mission in Quito known as HCJB radio.  For the next 60 years, they have been building, expanding and finding new ways to use the property. 

One of the biggest changes the school faced was in the past 10 years.  CMA decided to pull its foreign missionaries out of Quito and leave their projects primarily to their national staff.  What this meant for the school was a huge turn over in faculty and staff.  Those CMA missionaries who wished to stay on were required to find a new mission to support them.  Some of those missionaries did that, while others decided to go home or another country to continue their ministry elsewhere.

The school itself was turned over to the Ecuadorian ministry of Education.  This meant that the school was no longer exempt from Ecuadorian national laws and had to comply to their standards of education.  The school also began to see a change in its student body. It is slowly becoming less of a missionary school and more of an international school with a strong Christian influence within its curriculum.  More Ecuadorian students are now attending the school than ever before.  More than 50% of the student body in the secondary school is from some Latin American origin. 

The school also modified its name to be called “Alliance Academy International,” in order to move away from the mission name of Christian and Missionary Alliance.

Although many big changes have taken place, this is still the school that I remember attending from eight grade to my senior year.  Some of the same lockers, furniture and equipment is still being used.  Last year, I taught Journalism using the same textbooks I had used as a student.  I was shocked to find the book with my own name still in it! 

I was excited when we were finally able to purchase new Journalism text books this year that better reflect Journalism of the 21st century.

As the month of October draws to an end, I am looking forward to the special days of celebration to take place in mid-November.  There will be a special chapel for all the secondary students on Friday, November 13.  One of the former principals of the high school, Dan Egler, will be the guest speaker.  He has a special place in my heart, because he was my principal during the years that I was a high school student at AAI.  This will be followed by a weekend of alumni events.  We are all hoping that many alumni will come back and reconnect with the school of their past. 

And we are looking forward to many more years of academic success at the Alliance Academy International.