Four Thumbs Up
Four thumbs up? How is that possible? We all recognize that a single thumbs up, whether as a hand gesture or text emoji, is a rather universal gesture of affirmation, conveying both approval and excellence. When someone affixes one to an email or social media post, we smile. When someone in an audience or passing on the street looks our way and gives us a thumbs up, we can’t help but feel that we’re okay.
We at Ascension know what this feels like, as we have been given a thumbs up on three different occasions, and this week we are poised to get our fourth. For what?
Shortly after Ascension opened in 2000 we realized that our credibility as a college prep school would depend on how soon we could gain the stamp of approval from the colleges and universities who would be looking at our graduating seniors. The organization we chose to validate the excellence of our program was the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), one of several large regional accrediting bodies who stand behind and confirm a school’s legitimacy. Thanks to the strength of our faculty and the performance of our students, Ascension received its first SAIS accreditation in 2003, beginning a tradition of “thumbs up” ratings that will be up for review once again this weekend.
Being accredited tells our Board and faculty that we meet the high expectations of our accreditors in terms of how our school is run, what we teach, the quality of instruction and our school’s impact on the community we serve. But more than this, an accreditation tells students and their families that Ascension is a valid and recognized institution of learning. And perhaps most importantly, being accredited is a seal of approval that lets colleges and universities around the world know that an Ascension diploma is worth far more than the paper it is printed on. It confirms that every student who earns an Ascension diploma has the credentials to move into adulthood well qualified to pursue a college degree or enter a profession.
Ascension has earned a thumbs up from SAIS and its affiliated agency, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) on each of its three previous five-year inspection visits. I am confident that we will get our fourth thumbs up this week, the announcement of which will be made official in early January. I couldn’t be prouder of our school, or more satisfied by the synergy of efforts from our faculty, our students, our parent volunteers and our board that make us so distinctive in the Panhandle and so exceptional among schools. Thumbs up, Ascension!