Clovis Christian School gains accreditation

By Darrell Todd Maurina

Clovis Christian School reached a long-sought prize this month: accreditation.
“It gives us more legitimacy in our community because now we are accredited,” said Superintendent Steve Medeiros. “People who may have hesitated to send their children to our school because of this no longer have that stumbling block. We felt that was our only stumbling block left.”
The school’s accreditation is through the Association of Christian Schools International, one of a number of agencies recognized by New Mexico to evaluate the academic standards of non-public schools, and makes Clovis Christian eligible to receive state accreditation. According to the New Mexico Public Education Department officials, each of 11 non-public school accrediting agencies submits a summary report and recommendation to the state’s Non-Public Schools Commission regarding accreditation for schools under consideration. The NSC then reviews all the reports and makes a recommendation in June to the Secretary of Education regarding state accreditation.
ACSI, a conservative evangelical organization with about 5,000 member schools, conducted a review of educational and other standards at Clovis Christian School earlier this year and on Dec. 5 granted accreditation to the programs for grades 7 to 12. Medeiros said the school won’t apply for accreditaton of the K-6 program until its five-year accreditation review in 2008.
Medeiros said the accreditation review included an extensive self-study in 16 major content areas ranging from traditional academic categories such as library facilities, technology utilization, school board operations, administrative effectiveness and job descriptions to ACSI-specific categories such as commitment to Christian principles of education. Once the school did its own self-evaluation, ACSI staff visited the school to do their own investigation.
“The accreditation team comes in to verify your self-study. They look at test results, they go in and witness actual instruction taking place,” Medeiros said. “We were not surprised by any of the results; we have 13 areas of major commendation where they feel we are going above and beyond what is required.”
Among the areas in which Clovis Christian School received recognition were its art program, 8,000-volume school library, and on-site school nurse.
However, Medeiros said school staff members are working to improve even those areas.
“I don’t have a reputation for being easily satisfied,” Medeiros said. “We have a desire to be the very best Christian school, not only locally but statewide and even nationally. There is no reason we can’t continue to excel.”
Future plans down the road include possible construction of a brand-new facility to replace the 1950s-era building bought from Central Baptist Church in 1994. Part of the facility dates back to the Santa Fe Railroad Hospital, built in 1914. While the buildings are structurally sound, Medeiros said lack of space limits the school’s potential growth.
While most of Clovis Christian School’s 230 students would otherwise be attending Clovis public schools, Medeiros said his school has worked hard to stay on good terms with the local public school officials.
“We have an excellent relationship with the Clovis Municipal Schools,” Medeiros said. “We are very, very fortunate that we have had such a good relationship.”