Accreditation for Growth
High School

On May 1, 2003, following an extensive review by a Middle States evaluation team, Deer Lakes High School received its validation for "Accreditation for Growth" (AFG).

Two AFG objectives of Cross Curricular Writing and Computer Technology Usage and Application will be the focus of achievement over the next four years. Both objectives are student performance based and are securely supported by valid assessments and action-implementation.

Focusing on these two important areas will enable our students to greatly improve their communication and computer skills by the year 2006.

The advantages of being recognized as an accredited high school is vital because it is a validation from outside sources and gives the students more respected profiles in their future endeavors - college, employment, or the military - when they are graduates from an accredited high school.

Deer Lakes Middle School...Our "Mission Possible, is Mission Completed!"

Deer Lakes Middle School received its status as an officially accredited middle school at a ceremony at the December 3, 2007 meeting of the Deer Lakes Board of School Directors. Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools Associate Director for Western Regions, John Plesha, Ph.D., made the presentation to Dr. Thomas Lesniewski Deer Lakes Middle School principal and internal coordinators Ms. Jackie Jaros and Ms. Lisa Provenzano.

All accreditation decisions are made by the Commission on Secondary Schools. Those decisions are based on input from the visiting team, recommendations by the staff, and recommendations of the various advisory committees. The Commission meets twice a year to vote on all accreditation matters.

Principal Dr. Thomas Lesniewski announced on April 20 that Deer Lakes Middle School has received its validation for "Accreditation for Growth" (AFG) from the Middle States Association following an extensive review by a Middle States review and evaluation team comprised of Sam Bidleman from Bloomsburg High School, Diane Mayberry from the State College Area, Judy Millar from Titusville Senior High School, Tim Petro from Indiana Area Senior High School and Ken Vinton from Indiana Area Junior High.

A brief summary of the Deer Lakes review was presented by Sam Bidleman chairman of the visiting Validation Team, on the closing day of the visitation on April 20.

"Deer Lakes Middle School more than passed," Bidleman emphasized. "I'm going to deviate from what I wrote to say how extremely pleased we are with the program and assessment. Our visiting team became part of your school while we were here. Your administrative leaders collaborate and work well with the entire staff. The faculty is marvelous. It was obvious that they enhance each other and work for the kids. You can sense the pulse of the school. I visit many schools, and I don't know when I've come across a school community like this one. I've never been to a school with as much heart as this one. You carry out so many extra efforts for the kids. It is a pleasure to see such a school in operation."

During its 4-day visit, the evaluation team met with internal coordinators Ms. Jackie Jaros and Ms. Lisa Provenzano, who organized, planned and finalize the AFG process. Additional direct contact and reviews were made with school staff, administrators, teachers, students, parents, community representatives, including tours of classrooms and observations of actual classes in session and after school activities. Discussions were held with both pre-selected and randomly selected students.

The AFG goals for the Middle School are:

  1. That every Deer Lakes Middle School student is achieving at the highest levels of performance.
  2. That Deer Lakes Middle School is functioning under standards that are the most respected standards of educational quality in the world.
  3. That every Deer Lakes Middle School student is effectively motivated to attain the highest levels of educational performance,

The goals set by the Middle School for the students are:

  1. Students at Deer Lakes Middle School will demonstrate improved academic performance.
  2. The Deer Lakes Middle School Student body will be competent in utilizing one of the following programs: PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, or Microsoft Excel.
  3. The Deer Lakes Middle School Student body will demonstrate an increased interest in and motivation in learning measured by the decrease in student absences, a decrease in violations against the school code of conduct, and the increase in student participation in activities and clubs.

Bidleman explained that the school has successfully achieved in the twelve standards of accreditation, involving the educational program, objectives, governance and leadership, student services, facilities, finance, staff and administration, student activities and student life, student government, assessment of learning, health and safety, planning, and learning media service.

The AFG process will continue over a seven-year period with updated information. At the end of that time period, the process will begin again with updated information and new objectives.