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The Siena School in Silver Spring, MD Earns Top Recognition From Middle States Association

By October 31, 2016December 30th, 2021No Comments

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — The Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS) announced today that The Siena School in Silver Spring, Md. has earned reaccreditation, the gold standard for measuring and advancing school improvement.

The Siena School achieved reaccreditation through the Middle States Association’s new Sustaining Excellence protocol, which helps high performing schools continue to excel.

“The hallmark of the best schools around the world is that no matter how well they may be doing, their goal is to outperform their previous best,” said Henry G. Cram, Ed.D., president of the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. “I congratulate The Sienna School on its reaccreditation, and for striving each and every day to raise the bar for their students and the entire school community.”

MSA-CESS accredits preK-12 public, private, parochial, and charter schools. In addition, MSA-CESS accredits non-degree granting career and technical post-secondary institutions, special purpose schools, supplementary education centers, learning services providers, and distance education institutions.

Under the Sustaining Excellence protocol, high achieving schools are required to identify an aspect of their program they would like to improve in order to realize even greater levels of student performance. Schools must develop and implement an action research plan for achieving their goals, and are required to hold a colloquium to share the results with the broader education community with the goal of improving education on a wider scale.

The Siena School is focusing its action research initiative on creating authentic assessments that truly allow students to show what they have learned. These real-world evaluations can better measure a student’s ability to think critically, work cooperatively, find creative approaches to solve problems and incorporate technology appropriately to demonstrate mastery.

“Traditional forms of assessment – multiple choice tests, long repetitive lists of math problems, an in-class essay – do not always reflect the way students’ knowledge will be evaluated in the real world,” said Head of School Jilly Darefsky. “Through our action research, we will build on and expand our array of assessments to truly measure the skills that students will need in college and in life.”

The Siena School is private school that provides students with learning differences, such as dyslexia, a rich and meaningful education that prepares them for college and success in life.

MSA-CESS voted earlier this month to accredit or reaccredit 152 schools and school systems, including The Siena School, in 14 states as well as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and 19 other countries. A full list of schools and school systems that earned accreditation or reaccreditation is available here.

About Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS)
Based in Philadelphia, the Middle States Association is the worldwide leader in accreditation and school improvement. For over 125 years, Middle States has been helping school leaders establish and reach their goals, develop strategic plans, promote staff development and advance student achievement. With more than 2,700 accredited schools and school systems in 34 states and nearly 100 countries, MSA-CESS is proud of its continuing legacy and its ongoing innovations to meet the challenges of improving education in the 21st century. For more information visit

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