Evelyn Wray Smith School wants to earn accreditation

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

The Evelyn Smith Wray Village School is on its way to earning its accreditation.

Dayna Ramsey-Sanders, the school’s director, said although the process could take two years to complete, she hopes to finish it within one year.

The accreditation process requires teachers to participate in different trainings, meetings with parents, students, and the board of directors, and overlooks standard reports. The school will also spend several days being observed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement.

According to The U.S. Department of Education, “The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.”

Ramsey-Sanders said being an accredited school is important for the community and its students.

“It definitely makes us accountable, and we want to be the very best we can be for our students,” she said.

All teachers at the school are already certified, but continual education is required for accredited schools, and teachers and administrators will have regular staff development seminars, Ramsey-Sanders said.

In addition to earning its accreditation, the Evelyn Smith Wray Village School is also becoming a nonprofit organization.

Karen Hutchinson, chairwoman of the board of directors, said there are more opportunities for grants and funding for nonprofit schools. Hutchinson says she hopes by becoming a nonprofit school the village school can build more relationships with the local public schools and community.

With the possibility for more funding as a nonprofit, Hutchinson said she hopes it will help their growth issues.

“We never want to turn anybody away,” she said.

As a nonprofit, all the funds will go back into the school fund for resources, growth issues and possible new buildings. Hutchinson said the tuition currently covers operations.

To combat the growing student population, the school is making changes starting next year. Instead of having combined K-1 and 2-3 classes, there will be separate kindergarten, first, second and third-grade classes. The school will make sure the student to teacher ration stays around 15:1.

“Each child is treated as an individual here,” said administrative assistant Christle Hicks Baxley. “They learn academics and friendship. They’re building life lessons.”

Baxley said the small ratio gives students the opportunity for more personalized instructions and helps them catch up on problem areas.

Students and parents should see the changes as early as the next school year, and Ramsey-Sanders said the improvements will never stop.

“We want our children to be the very best,” she said.

Kathryn Jacewicz is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at kjacewicz@brunswickbeacon.com

The Evelyn Smith Wray Village School is on its way to earning its accreditation.