ESPERANZA ACADEMY is a tuition-free, independent middle school in the Episcopal tradition welcoming girls of diverse faiths, races and cultures from Lawrence, Massachusetts. The school is 100% privately funded and relies on the generosity of its donors.
Esperanza's mission is to inspire its students to become active learners and responsible global citizens. We empower and prepare our girls to meet challenges with courage, integrity, and respect.
Esperanza Academy Earns Accreditation from the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE)
Head of School Chris Wilson announced that Esperanza Academy has earned full accreditation from the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE), a nationally recognized accreditation program. Entering its ninth year of providing middle school girls in Lawrence with a rigorous and holistic independent-school education, Esperanza Academy completed the in-depth accreditation process this May.
The accreditation process began in the fall of 2012 with a thorough self-study, generated by the faculty, Trustees, and other members of the Esperanza community, and which extensively documented the school’s practices and philosophy in defined AISNE standards.
This May, an AISNE visiting team, comprised of teachers and administrators from peer schools, conducted a multi-day site visit that involved observations and conversations with administrators, staff, faculty, parents, students, and board members, and included a thorough examination of all areas of a school’s operations including admission, financial management, communications, governance, facilities, and health and safety. The team presented its findings and recommendations to the AISNE Board of Directors, which unanimously granted accreditation to Esperanza Academy.
Wilson says that while accreditation is powerful endorsement of the school and an exciting and historic milestone as the school readies to celebrate its 10th anniversary, “the accreditation process provided our faculty with an invaluable opportunity for self-evaluation, reflection, and institutional dialogue that helped us affirm our strengths, identify areas of improvement, and strengthen and reaffirm our commitment to our mission.”
According to the companion letter to the visiting team report, “Esperanza Academy is a very special place…Our time on campus confirmed that you do truly live your mission. We witnessed students’ dedication to the core values, engagement in active learning, exploration of global issues, and a sense of responsibility as members of the Academy and their local community…In each moment we saw strong and healthy partnership among members of the Esperanza community, and a dedication to working together as you enter the next chapter in the Academy’s growth.”
The accreditation cycle of AISNE schools spans ten years. Within one year, Esperanza Academy must respond to report recommendations with an action plan. In three years, an AISNE team will conduct a follow-up visit to verify the school’s progress. In nine years, Esperanza Academy will conduct another self-study in order to renew accreditation.
The AISNE accreditation program is recognized and approved by the National Association of Independent Schools through its Commission on Accreditation. The Commission’s work is intended to assure the quality of independent school accrediting programs. In order to achieve and maintain AISNE accreditation, schools must engage in ongoing school improvement to enhance student learning and growth.
Esperanza Academy is a transformative, independent, all-girls middle school. We provide an exceptional education and supportive community that unlocks the potential in every student. We empower our girls to face the world with courage, integrity and respect.
Esperanza Academy Implements iPads in the Classroom Program
Esperanza Academy rolled out an ambitious new program to integrate iPads into the classroom. The 1:1 iPad classroom program, which supplies iPads for all Esperanza students, will modernize and enhance the classroom experience for students, providing one-point access to textbooks, research and information resources, assignments, note taking, and new and engaging learning opportunities.
“Our iPad program provides a valuable teaching and learning tool to support our students’ critical thinking and creativity in and out of the classroom,” said Esperanza Academy Head of School Christopher H. Wilson. “ More critically, we are helping bridge the digital divide that puts our low-income students at a disadvantage. Many of our students, who do not have Internet access at home, will now be able to conduct research for a paper or look up information on their iPads during their homework hour at school. We are proud to empower our students with this access.”
While some may fear that adding tablets to the classroom will add yet another source of distraction for students, studies have found that iPad and tablet integration improves classroom learning, especially in the sciences. The Esperanza iPads are managed through a mobile device manager (MDM), a control center that administers users’ profiles, controls distribution of applications and books, restricts access to inappropriate content, and tracks the iPads’ whereabouts. The iPads are equipped with “Evergreen” applications, which are neither content nor grade-level specific, that allow students to create and demonstrate their understanding of ideas.
“We are thrilled to have access to technology that will help us better engage and motive students,” said Principal Sandi Pilt. “Some of the programs we will utilize transform the classroom into a multi-dimensional learning experience. As an educator, it’s exciting to help create a 21st-century learning environment at Esperanza Academy and help prepare and propel our students for success in the digital age.”
The iPad program is made possible through a generous grant from the Van Otterloo Family Foundation, a nonprofit trust that benefits educational institutions and related activities.