CAIS Gives Foote Thumbs Up!

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CAIS Gives Foote Thumbs Up!

After a nearly two-year self-study process — conducted by Foote faculty and staff, board members, and parents/guardians — followed by a three-day on-campus evaluation by the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), Foote’s accreditation was renewed for another 10 years. 

The CAIS visiting team reported: “[We] commend the school for the evidence of its mission in action, notably in the student-centered approach that permeates the school.” 

In reporting the news to the community, Head of School Aléwa Cooper acknowledged that the re-accreditation is not merely an official stamp of approval, it is an acknowledgment of Foote’s commitment to providing an exceptional educational experience. 

“It is a testament to the quality and integrity of our institution,” she continued. “Together, we scrutinized every aspect of our school's operations, from academic excellence to administrative efficacy, ensuring that we meet, and where possible, exceed the benchmarks set by CAIS.” 

Each of the 14 standards set by CAIS received both commendations and recommendations. In its report, CAIS commended the school for: 

  • staying true to its mission, which results in “independent, authentic, respectful, and joyful students who consistently demonstrate agency, voice, and commitment to their work”; 

  • fostering an inclusive environment; 

  • the vibrancy of the campus; 

  • the school’s commitment to maintaining its unique culture; 

  • its success in adopting the Strategic Plan, including re-articulating the mission, the new logo, and the new board structure; 

  • a connected, committed, and aligned leadership team, “led by a Head of School who has successfully tackled a dizzying array of initiatives and challenges with passion and humanity, ‘superbly’; and 

  • for its “cheerfully hardworking, dedicated, and talented faculty and staff who demonstrate their commitment to supporting all students, to helping one another and the School, and to communicating regularly and effectively.”

While the achievement is a cause for celebration and acknowledges the school’s strengths, it also provides the school with opportunities for growth. The school must address any major recommendations within two years, and three years to implement all recommendations. Among the recommendations are that the school: 

  • “continue to work toward its stated goals to institute more processes, procedures, and systems to various aspects of school operations while simultaneously nurturing and furthering the unique spirit and culture of the School”;

  • pursue its stated goal to establish the “right size” and configuration of student enrollment;

  • develop additional fiscal management strategies;

  • consider the impact of the daily academic schedule;

  • support increased campus safety and security “while maintaining the existing strong sense of student agency and independence; and

  • review its Board-nominating processes.

Aléwa confirmed: “Our roadmap for the future is clear. Our Strategic Plan and our CAIS recommendations align. This is not just a mandate from CAIS; it is an opportunity for us to evolve, to enhance, and to excel.”

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    Since 1916, The Foote School has provided child-centered education that nurtures creativity, excellence and joy in learning.