SALINA, Kan., April 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- St. John's Military School, a private military school for young men in grades 6 to 12, has been recognized by AdvancED for its high academic honors and demonstration of powerful practices. AdvancED is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts rigorous on-site external reviews of PreK-12 schools and school systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential. As part of the on-site review process, a team of external reviewers spent three days meeting with faculty, administrative and support staff, students, and parents from St. John's Military School. The external review team examined student academic performance results, analyzed instruction and curriculum quality and efficacy, observed learner and family engagement levels, reviewed available support services, and college and career readiness data. Led by Dr. Kristin Sherwood of Wichita State University, the goal of the AdvancED external review team was to analyze St. John's Military School's strengths as an academic institution and identify opportunities for further improvements.
The final report identified two areas deemed as "powerful practices" at St. John's Military School: A strong emphasis on engaging families in their child's education and social development, and the school's commitment to ensuring each cadet is supported by at least one adult advocate.
"AdvancED typically identifies one powerful practice area in each of its assessments," said Ginger Wooten, academic dean at St. John's Military School. "The fact that the external review team identified two powerful practices at St. John's reaffirms to us that we are excelling in our commitment to offer our cadets the highest academic and personal support systems."
St. John's Military School earned recognition from AdvancED in the categories of support and communications due to its establishment of several formal programs aimed at ensuring advancement and achievement. One of the most impactful support systems noted in the review is St. John's Military School's adult on-campus mentorship program known as the Moms and Mr. Moms Club.
Established in 1972, the Moms and Mr. Moms Club encourages faculty and staff to serve as mentors and local resources to enrolled cadets. Understanding that many of the cadets are miles away from their families, the members of the Moms and Mr. Moms Club volunteer to serve as "adoptive" mothers and fathers, helping to act as parental figures in meaningful ways. Moms and Mr. Moms offer cadets emotional support, academic assistance, counseling, and personal attention.
According to Brenda McCoy, school secretary at St. John's Military School and current president of the Moms and Mr. Moms Club, the bonds formed between cadets and club members are some of the most memorable and meaningful relationships the cadets experience during their time at St. John's Military School.
"We truly form personal relationships with the cadets we adopt," said McCoy. "I still keep in touch with the very first cadet I ever adopted back in 1993."
Where the Moms and Mr. Moms club offers a foundation of personal support, the faculty and staff at St. John's Military School offer the additional academic support and internal resources that cadets need to achieve their educational goals.
"Each one of our teachers serves as a dedicated academic advisor to a small group of cadets," said Wooten. "At least once per week, every teacher holds an individual academic counseling session with each of their assigned cadets. They use the time to review with each young man his latest academic report, identify courses where he may need further assistance, and if necessary develop a plan to help him improve his grades."
This level of individualized attention has proven successful in helping St. John's Military School's cadets improve their grade point averages during their enrollment. The school reports that 95 percent of new cadets increase their grade point average in their first semester.
For older cadets, St. John's Military School also offers dual credit courses with Kansas State Polytechnic, and partnerships that allow cadets to take on-campus classes at Kansas Wesleyan University and Salina Area Technical College. Access to such resources enables cadets to focus on their academic success and identify future career paths.
For St. John's Military School, the process of working with AdvancED to identify powerful practices and areas for opportunity has proved to be invaluable from an academic and developmental leadership perspective. Given the natural alignment between AdvancED's systems and St. John's Military School's goals, St. John's Military School has chosen AdvancED exclusively as its global accreditation partner, and will not pursue further accreditation by the Kansas State Department of Education. According to Wooten, the AdvancED accreditation partnership continues to offer St. John's Military School the resources and guidance necessary to strengthen its existing powerful practices and focus on continuous improvement.
"Over approximately two years, we have gathered information through research and conversations with professionals, which lead us to the conclusion that AdvancED provides us with the guidance and structure we need to continue to improve, while allowing the flexibility we need to provide opportunities for the finest education possible for our students."
At the conclusion of its external review, the AdvancED team recommended that St. John's Military School earn the distinction of accreditation by AdvancED for a five-year term that expires on June 30, 2020.
"We are pleased to be recognized by AdvancED for our commitment to academic excellence," said Wooten. "Our faculty and staff come to school every day with a focus on doing what is best for our cadets. AdvancED's accreditation validates that we are achieving our goal of offering the highest quality individualized and cadet-focused learning environment for young men."
For more information regarding St. John's Military School, please visit: www.sjms.org.