During the 2020-2021 academic year, the faculty and staff is completing a comprehensive self-study process that will culminate in the design of a document followed by a multi-day visit by a team of educators who will observe the school and provide both commendations and recommendations for future growth. This process of reaccreditation takes place every six years.
Accreditation Model: Design for Excellence
In 1984, the State Department of Education challenged the private education sector to find an alternative method of accreditation other than through the state. The Design for Excellence accreditation process was developed as a response to this challenge.
The Virginia Catholic Education Association (VCEA) was formed with the primary responsibility of overseeing the formulation of the self-study process of the schools of the Dioceses of Arlington and Richmond. In 1993, the VCEA accepted the task of developing the Design for Excellence. The first year was spent in st udy, dialogue and composition.
In 1994, the first draft of the Design for Excellence instrument was written. The format reflected a shifting paradigm of learning which demanded an integrated approach to the formation of a Christ-centered learning environment in a rapidly changing technological society. The transition of society into an era of interdependency challenged schools to recognize unique learning styles which necessitated the creation of environments that foster creative, challenging, and ever-changing responses to the ultimate goal of academic excellence in a distinctively Catholic environment.
During 1995-96, the Design for Excellence self-study was piloted by Holy Spirit School in the Diocese of Arlington and St. Edward-Epiphany School in the Diocese of Richmond. As a result of recommendations from the pilot schools and the visiting committees, revisions to the process were made in 1996-97.
The Design for Excellence instrument was updated in 2000 and again in 2016, demonstrating VCEA’s commitment to promoting excellence in education.