March 9, 2003 – A major deadline in the territory's high school reaccreditation process was missed on Feb. 28, when inspectors from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools postponed scheduled walk-through tours of Charlotte Amalie and Ivanna Eudora Kean High Schools on St. Thomas and Central High School on St. Croix.
Middle States made the postponement decision because its accreditation team had not yet completed its review of a mandatory self-evaluation carried out by the V.I. Accreditation Territorial Task Force.
"The timetable for visits, etc., was revised," Mary Ann Keeley of Middle States' Region 6 in Puerto Rico said. "Middle States is in the process of organizing a team visit for the commissioner's and district offices in response to their self-study," she said.
Juel Anderson, Education Department public information officer, said a two-day work session in January produced the self-study evaluations of 29 members of the V.I. task force. "There were specific things they asked us for," Anderson, a member of the task force, said.
Anderson said she could not discuss the contents of the self-evaluations. She said the evaluators were told not to keep copies of their responses for their records.
Officials involved with the accreditation process, meeting last fall at Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort on St. Thomas, explained that accreditation is not so much an evaluation by outside authorities as it is a goal-setting process by those who are considered stakeholders in their local education system. The task of the accreditation team is to observe as those stakeholders meet the goals they have set for themselves.
Anderson and Keeley both said that evaluation of the self-study reports is an important first step in the process, but neither would give a timeline for its completion.
"At this time, dates for this visit and the candidacy visits to each of the four schools have not been confirmed," Keeley said.
Middle States withdrew the previous accreditation of the three schools in November of 2001, citing various shortcomings that had not been addressed despite years of warnings.
Anderson said the territory's fourth public high school, St. Croix Educational Complex, which has never been accredited, is not going through the process at this time. But she said representatives of the school were invited to the self-study work session so they could observe the process.
Education Commissioner Noreen Michael heads the task force. The other members include: Superintendents William Frett for St. Thomas-St. John and Terrence T. Joseph for St. Croix; the principals of the four schools — Jeanette Smith-Barry at CAHS, Lydia Lettsome at Eudora Kean, Kurt Vialet at Educational Complex and Kent Moorehead at Central High; Jorge Galiber, Board of Education chair; Vernelle de Lagarde and Tyrone Molyneaux, American Federation of Teachers local presidents; Rosa White and Carver Farrow of the Educational Administrators Association; Alscess Lewis-Brown, Education human resources director; Margarita Benjamin, territorial Parent-Teacher-Student Association president; Ronald E. Harrigan, University of the Virgin Islands; Lorna Sutton, assistant to Michael; and Leroy Trotman, an assistant principal.
Board of Education representatives taking part in the process are executive director Evadney Hodge, Malik Sekou, Linda Thomas, Yvonne W. Henry, Harry Daniel, Gerald Hodge and Keith Richards.
Education Department support staff on the task force are Louis Hughes, school plant and maintenance; Joann Meyers-Rhymer, budget control; Cecelia Knowles, Lauren Larsen, Patricia Nathan and Joann Meyers-Rhymer, superintendents' offices.

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