Achievement House Blog

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Achievement House Cyber Charter School Receives Middle States Accreditation

Jen Vargas

Since its inception in 2004, Achievement House Cyber Charter School (AHCCS) has taken every step to provide students with a high quality online public education. Don Asplen, CEO of AHCCS is pleased to announce the next step in the school’s future – a full accreditation by the Middle States Association from the Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools.

“We constantly encourage our students at Achievement House to take their own path to get to the next level,” said Asplen. “Applying for this accreditation has been an extensive path for AHCCS, and this certainly elevates us in the cyber charter community.”

The accreditation process began in November of 2013, where the school initiated a Self Study process. The Self Study asks applicants to take a look at every aspect of the school – from the mission statement, to the facilities, to detailed financial statements. The process was led by three internal coordinators including Victoria Nesti, David Braskey and Paige Morabito. Various committees of teachers, administrators, stakeholders, students and parents were formed to review the current processes and offerings of Achievement House.

After compiling a 350+ page document, the team responsible for the application established three goals and objectives for the school to accomplish with subsequent action plans over the next 7 years – the term of the accreditation.

Once the Self Study was complete, an accreditation team from the Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (CESS) visited the school to review the application in November of 2014.

Dr. Jane Pruitt is the Associate Director for Middle States Association. She led the accreditation team who visited the school and served as a coach to the internal coordinators through the application process. The accreditation team also consisted of representatives from two other accredited Pennsylvania schools: Dennis Bloh, teacher from La Salle College High School, and John Rison, Director of Technology from Abington Friends School. Pruitt, Bloh and Rison spent two days in the Exton home office, and also at the satellite office in Reading.

As a result of the approval, Achievement House will now appoint one of its own staff members to assist MSA in the accreditation process for other applicants.

Achievement House now joins a list of about 700 schools in PA that have received this honor; however it is only the second cyber charter institution in Pennsylvania to become fully accredited by MSA. The official accreditation will enable Achievement House to improve upon the educational experience each student receives in an online setting and last until May 2022.

During the accreditation process, Achievement House demonstrated that the school already does; and has plans to continue to adhere to the Middle States Standards for Accreditation which are as follows:

  • Uses its mission, beliefs, and goals as the basis for daily decision-making
  • Operates in the public interest and in accordance with ethical practices
  • Accepts responsibility for the level of performance of its students
  • Remains committed to continuous improvement in student learning and to its capacity to produce the levels of learning desired and expected by its community
  • Operates in a collegial and collaborative way with all of its stakeholders
  • Sustains its focus on implementing recommendations, addressing monitoring issues and correcting stipulations that may be part of its notification of accreditation
  • Fulfills its maintenance requirements to the Commission

About MSA - CESS: The Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (CESS) accredit early-childhood through post-secondary, non-degree granting public, private, faith-based educational institutions including special purpose schools, supplementary education centers, learning services providers, and distance education institutions. Historically, MSA-CESS has operated in the mid-Atlantic region. With its cooperative partners, it has expanded its scope to include schools and institutions seeking accreditation throughout the United States and member institutions in more than 85 countries around the world.

About Achievement House Cyber Charter School: Achievement House Cyber Charter School is an independently-operated online public school authorized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to serve Pennsylvania students in Grades 7-12. Achievement House Cyber Charter School is based in Exton, Chester County. Nearly 850 students are reaching their full potential through a custom- designed, web-based computer platform, which provides students access from their homes to live virtual classrooms and interactive online coursework. The Technology and Engineering Department is a certified Microsoft® IT Academy.