First distance school accredited in NEASC history
CONTACT: Deborah Holman, Oak Meadow Director of
Brattleboro, VT (December 8, 2015)—Oak Meadow, a progressive homeschool curriculum publisher and distance learning school for kindergarten to grade 12, is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a significant distinction: It is the first distance learning school ever to receive accreditation from the 130-year-old New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). NEASC is a voluntary membership organization of public and private schools that promotes high-quality education and provides a process for school improvement while honoring the unique mission of each institution it supports.
“We conducted a rigorous self-study for a year and a half and welcomed the NEASC visiting committee for nearly a week of focused review last spring,” said Oak Meadow Executive Director Michelle Simpson-Siegel. “We learned much about ourselves, our strengths as well as areas that need improvement, and we are grateful that the committee recognized our thought leadership regarding how to develop the right relationship between children living and learning with technology and nature in today’s world.”
In its report to the school, the NEASC visiting committee stated it “commends the faculty, staff, and administrative team for their commitment to building authentic student relationships across distance, their passion for teaching, their belief in Oak Meadow’s unique model of education, and for their dedication to the students and families they serve.” Director of the Commission on Independent Schools William M. Bennett said the commission was grateful to Oak Meadow “for working with CIS to consider how the accreditation process can support a non-traditional school model.”
Oak Meadow enrolls 600 students in its distance learning school annually, serves thousands of families internationally who use the curriculum independently, and has shared its personalized learning resources with over 120 public, independent, and charter schools worldwide.
Oak Meadow was founded in 1975 by Dr. Lawrence Williams, a pioneer in the modern homeschooling movement. Dissatisfied with their own children’s public school experience, Williams and his late wife, Bonnie, designed a Waldorf-inspired homeschooling curriculum based on a simple philosophy: Children are sensitive and intelligent, and learning should be enjoyable. Williams wrote The Heart of Learning, a classic guide to home learning, and he participated in the battle to legalize homeschooling in the U.S. in the 70s and 80s. Homeschooling is now legal in every state, and the U.S. Department of Education reports that 3.4 percent of U.S. students (nearly 2 million) are homeschooled, with the trend growing as families seek educational options for their children.
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