This week, SMUS went through a BC Ministry of Education external evaluation. This is one of three major reviews that periodically assesses our policies, procedures, practices and how we deliver teaching and learning. Like academic feedback and coaching received by our students, external reviews provide fuel for our school’s growth-minded approach to institutional change, while helping to ensure the best possible learning environment for our students.
During the Ministry evaluation, there are compliance reviews that allow SMUS to continue operating as a Kindergarten to Grade 12, credit-granting school. At the same time, we also receive exceptional feedback from veteran Ministry inspectors, who offer commendations, suggestions and typically a handful of recommendations in areas that address the ever-changing BC education landscape.
We are delighted to report that SMUS was given a clean bill of health, with accolades for our faculty, curriculum delivery, student reporting, pastoral care and our operational policies and procedures that keep us safe, healthy, running smoothly and with a strategic eye to the future. One of the inspectors said after day one, “There is no question that this school is focused on helping students become wonderful people.” Once we hear more evaluation specifics regarding suggestions and recommendations, we will be sure to update you through our regular communications.
The other two external evaluations come via memberships with the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) and the Canadian Accredited Independent School (CAIS). SMUS’s new membership with HMC was announced earlier this school year, where the visiting inspectors highlighted our outstanding community of teaching professionals and highly engaged students, worthy of this international membership standing.
The CAIS accreditation process, coming up for SMUS in 2024-25, takes place every seven years and is by far the school’s most comprehensive external evaluation process. This is the national association of the top independent schools in Canada, of which being an accredited member is a stamp of excellence in the field of education and an endorsement of exceptional delivery of teaching and learning; two leading elements of SMUS’s Mission, Vision and value proposition. SMUS was one of the first accredited schools in Canada, under CESI (Canadian Educational Standards Institute), the predecessor of CAIS, and has been a leader in providing Senior Leadership Team members to accreditation teams.
This evaluation process requires a full-year commitment by the whole community (students, staff, parents, governors and alumni), to produce a comprehensive self-evaluation in the following focus areas:
- school purpose
- school leadership
- education program foundation
- learning and teaching
- student well-being and support
- essential concepts
- custodial care: boarding
- recruitment and community engagement
- human resources
- facilities and infrastructure
During the 2024-25 school year, SMUS will welcome a team of approximately 15 educational professionals from CAIS schools across Canada, for four days of a comprehensive peer review of our internal reflection document, to confirm that what we say we do, is actually what we deliver. The results of this external review have always been the most productive feedback for our school, leading to many immediate operational and program improvements, while also adding significantly to the development of strategic plans, like was the case with Floreat.
SMUS must constantly be growing, improving, and preparing for the future, just like we expect our students to learn, lead and serve, in preparation for life. Sustainability, or the ‘strength and permanence’ of our school depends on external feedback like SMUS experienced this week, along with an institutional growth mindset. With that said, our community and the school’s future is bright, of which we thank you for being a part.