SECRETARY — Dorchester County Public Schools announced Thursday, Aug. 1, its Warwick Elementary pre-kindergarten program received Decision 1 Accreditation, meaning it’s among the highest quality of its kind.

Maryland Accreditation is a voluntary process through which programs can pursue self-appraisal, improvement and public quality acknowledgment of state-met standards.

The Warwick PreK program joined five others in Dorchester County that have received the status rating from the Maryland State Department of Education Early Childhood Division, including Choptank, Hurlock, Sandy Hill, Vienna and Maple.

The accreditation decision is based on a measure of research-based program standards for early childhood environments that spans every aspect of all eligible programs.

These standards include program administration, operation, and home and community partnerships.

To receive accreditation, a program is subject to internal and external review, requiring staff and parent participation, and several MSDE site visits.

On the receiving end of this status rating is the Warwick PreK team, which comprises teacher Melissa Elzey, instructional assistant Tonya Thompson and principal Marybeth Blake.

DCPS also credited the entire school team, students and families, who work collectively toward bettering students’ youth programs.

Interim Superintendent Dave Bromwell said, “Anytime a program is evaluated, it’s evaluated to make sure it’s meeting its goals.”

“It’s evaluated pretty much from top to bottom on not only what’s provided to the students, but the staff and the community,” Bromwell said. “So, anytime you have any agreed-upon accreditation, it’s really a big deal, not only to the school system, but it’s a big deal to the community, as well.”

The Warwick Elementary Decision 1 Accreditation is valid for the next three years.

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