KA Receives 5-Year Accreditation
Kemper Academy, as a member of the Mid-South Association of Independent Schools, is required to go through an accreditation process every five years, and week before last the school completed the process and received their accreditation. Headmistress, Mary Ellen Waters, stated that six years had passed since the last accreditation, due to the COVID outbreak.
The accreditation is done through an international organization known as COGNIA. Waters said that representatives from the organization came and became a part of the school for two days, and during that time interviewed constituents, board members, 10 to 12 faculty and parents, and some students in the sixth to eighth grade, and ninth to twelfth grade range, asking all sorts of questions.
She added that they did actually ask a million-dollar question, “If you had a million dollars what for at Kemper Academy?” The answers were wide-ranging: a paved parking lot, better landscaping, replacing Dell computers with MacBooks, better athletic facilities, a better library, and more. Waters stated, “It is about as full of a three-sixty evaluation as you can have.”
At the end of the two-day assessment, Waters was told what the representatives were pleased with and the things that needed improvement during the next five years. She added that the hard work of improving never ends, there is always work to do.
Waters said that the COGNIA representatives commended their teachers, adding that they have assembled a great staff. One of the recommendations was to look at the Mission Statement, which reads in part “We believe in and are committed to the concept that schools are for children; therefore, every decision concerning this organization is made with the intent of helping our students realize their full potential,” and be sure it is being fulfilled.
She added that the school has come a long way, especially in the past two years which were uncharted waters for all schools. Technologically, KA has gone from a computer lab with 15 computers, to one-to-one devices for students in seventh through twelfth grades, and one to one I-Pads in third through sixth.
Waters said that COVID has exposed weaknesses in all schools, and Kemper Academy has used much of the COVID funds to upgrade their technology.
The accreditation is vital for Kemper Academy to continue to provide a quality education for its students who come from Kemper, Neshoba, Noxubee, and Lauderdale Counties in Mississippi, and Sumter County, Alabama.
Waters said that without accreditation Kemper Academy could probably still award diplomas, but they wouldn’t mean much. She added that they breathed a sigh of relief in receiving the accreditation, and now it is time to begin working toward the improvements and preparing for the next one.