March 2, 2022
Dear Riverbend Community,
It is with great pride that we announce that Riverbend has received its first ever ten-year accreditation by the Association of Independent Schools of New England (AISNE). This process began in 2018, was postponed due to the pandemic, and restarted with the visiting team on campus for four days this past November 14-17. The AISNE Board then voted in January to award the ten-year accreditation.
During their visit, the visiting team reviewed the School’s two hundred-page self-study document, visited every classroom, and also touched base with every member of our staff, members of the Board of Directors, students, and some families. The result of the visit was a fifty-page report highlighting their interactions. While the report went into great detail, the most important piece was a set of major commendations and recommendations. Here is a flavor of their findings.
Some brief highlights on how the School was commended:
Other areas noted in the report were the “culture of gratitude and giving,” “building intentional events that foster a sense of connection,” “rebuilding the governance model according to best practice,” and “deeply engaging with the local community and participating in meaningful service efforts.”
One important aspect of the self-study process is for the School to identify areas that need our attention and opportunities for growth. The visiting report noted that the School was successful at identifying these areas and was already engaging in that process of self-improvement. As a result of our self-reflection we are taking steps to implement the visiting team’s recommendations. One area of note was our staffing model. The School has embarked on changing its administrative structure from an assistant head to a two director model, one for Children’s House and one for Upper School (grades 1-8). This will provide “consistent leadership, support, and oversight of the academic and co-curricular program.”
This fall we hired a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator (Shaplaie Brooks). AISNE noted that this addition will help the School “consider ways to embed equity, inclusion, and social justice into the culture of the School so that all members of the community have a shared understanding of their role in promoting it.”
While the accreditation process was arduous and longer than normal, the results were uplifting and affirming. We are a school that has grown significantly in the past decade, managed this change well, and we are well positioned for continued growth and success. As Head of School I cannot say enough about the dedication of our faculty, staff, and administration to making Riverbend an outstanding Monstessori school. And perhaps the best part of this process was an acknowledgement of the students for their joy and purpose by the visiting team.