This fall, during the last week of September, Tabor will welcome a team of evaluators to campus. Our re-accreditation process with the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC), ongoing for over a year now, will culminate with a three-day visit by educators from 10-12 schools similar to Tabor. The Visiting Team arrives Sunday evening, September 29, has a welcome dinner before retreating to organize their effort, and will hit the ground running on Monday.
The team’s goal is to interview as many members of the Tabor community as they can to get a good sense of our school today and the opportunities we see ahead. They will be guided by our Self-Study, which outlines every aspect of Tabor from academics, residential life, and athletics to health and safety, governance and finances, right down to how our records are stored. It is an extensive and thorough review of school operations and outcomes and provides a terrific process for uncovering areas for improvement, as well as areas we feel enormously proud of and might build upon.
Over the course of last year, a Steering Committee, chaired by faculty member Frank Townsend, worked with faculty, staff, parents, and alumni to help pull together our 2019 Self-Study Report. All constituents were surveyed to provide their perspective on Tabor and the work we do. Suggested improvements range from specific to very broad. Some have been implemented even while the Self-Study was underway, while others will begin multi-year projects.
In anticipation of the Visiting Team’s time at Tabor, there is a lot of logistical planning going on such as securing hotel rooms and nice break out spaces for them to work in, providing plenty of snacks and drinks to keep them fortified, and arranging meeting times for various groups to meet with the team. It is a whirlwind visit and it is important that we facilitate an efficient experience for the team so they can do their best work for us. In the end, their job is to verify our report and listen to the community to see if our recommendations for the school’s next 10 years of focus and growth are resonant. They finish their work on Wednesday, after compiling a written report on all aspects of their visit, sharing the committee's joint recommendations based on what they heard and saw during the visit.
It is an exciting time for Tabor and we welcome this evaluation. There is so much to be proud of in our Self-Study Report, and we look forward to a great response from NEASC. Tabor’s growth over the last ten years is remarkable. We have moved up in comparison to our peer schools in many areas that we specifically targeted for growth: transformative areas such as financial aid, faculty salaries, and the impact of our annual giving program, The Fund for Tabor.
As we look ahead, we see plenty of opportunities to continue to improve our efforts to strengthen our community, our programs, and our relationships with all those who can support our continued growth. The work of improving the Tabor experience is never done; on behalf of our students and families, we must always be striving to move closer to our mission, toward a more perfect Tabor Academy.