“You took a big risk,” said the association’s Pamela Gray-Bennett at a Boston ceremony on Dec. 6. “You are such an exceptional, but unusual school that no one was sure you could do it. We are very pleased that you did.”

The association is the oldest of six regional accrediting agencies in the United States. North Haven Community School is one of a handful of K-12 schools to gain accreditation, and is the smallest K-12 school in Maine to do so. To gain accreditation, a school must conduct an extensive self-evaluation based on seven standards of excellence set forth by the association. The school then undergoes a four-day examination of the self-evaluation report and the school site itself by a visiting team.

Wayne Ogden, principal of Duxbury, MA, High School and chair of the visiting committee, commented that within the North Haven Community School “there exists a spirit of cooperation, dedication, resourcefulness, and instructional focus that rivals the best schools in New England … NHCS is a tiny school with a huge heart … you are a unique place – a school in equilibrium.”

NHCS principal Barney Hallowell, Superintendent Tom Marx and school board chair Nancy Hopkins-Davisson accepted the certificate of accreditation in Boston on Dec. 6, and the North Haven community celebrated the event on Jan. 15 with a dinner and dessert.