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.

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