This year, Bowman County School District and Rhame Elementary School were recognized for maintaining 100 years of continuous accreditation from Cognia and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement.
By Frank Turner
According to Mitch Strand, the elementary principal for both the Bowman County School District and Rhame Elementary School, the accreditation process is aimed at improving student performance.
To earn accreditation, schools have to be evaluated by a team of professionals from outside the school and meet certain standards.
Last year, four educators visited both the Bowman and Rhame schools to observe classes and interview school faculty and parents. After their evaluation, they gave specific feedback to the schools on what they were doing well and what they could be improve upon.
“Last year we passed,” said Strand. “One of the things they said was outstanding was our ability to develop positive relationship with our students.”
In their assessment, educators also acknowledged a positive student and teacher culture at the school.
On the other hand, professional development and technology integration were labeled as opportunities to improve on.
“They helped steer our professional development plan for our teacher, so when we have early dismissals, we have profession development for our staff,” he said. “Otherwise, two of our focuses this year include focusing on technology use and active learning.”
In response to the assessment, the Bowman High School added science technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classes this year and STEM days in the elementary.
Strand said that in 1918 when both schools were accredited, schools were not required to go through the accreditation process. Instead, the schools volunteered for the accreditation process to create better learning atmosphere willingly.
“It showed that the administration, the school board, and staff back then were really dedicated to offering the best education for our students,” said Strand. “Today we still have that same mission: To give every student the best education to succeed in a changing world.”
He continued, “This recognition really represents not just the current staff, but everyone that has worked at the Rhame and Bowman schools over the years. It shows the excellence that both those school have offered over the past 100 years and will hopefully continue to offer in years to come.”