Partners in Learning earns reaccreditation

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 22, 2018

SALISBURY — After an intensive six-month process, Partners in Learning has secured national reaccreditation.

Norma Honeycutt, executive director of the agency, said she and other administrators found out on Feb. 14.

“So it was our Valentine’s Day gift,” she said.

Partners in Learning receives its national accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which has steep standards. To be accredited, child care facilities must undergo a yearlong process.

To earn a five-year reaccreditation, the Partners in Learning facility at Catawba College was observed for six months and judged on more than 400 standards.

“Which basically means there’s 400 descriptions of what quality would like. And we have to meet them at 85 percent,” Honeycutt said.

Only 112 North Carolina child care centers have achieved national accreditation through the association. Partners in Learning’s site at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center is working on the first-time accreditation process.

While facilities must meet 85 percent of the association’s criteria to be reaccredited, Honeycutt said that for the first time Partners in Learning met 95 percent of criteria — it’s highest score to date. The facility also scored high in relationship measures among teachers, parents and students.

“That’s one of our strengths; that’s what we’re known for,” Honeycutt said.

Honeycutt, center director Deborah Howell and assistant director Ashlee Hawkins threw an early-morning celebration for staff and parents.

“It was killing us to not tell them,” Honeycutt said.

When parents arrived Tuesday morning, the building was decorated and a free breakfast was ready. Staff members also received gift bags and an invitation to a celebration at Dilly Dally.

“Our staff were over the moon,” Honeycutt said.

The reaccreditation means that parents know the Partners in Learning center at Catawba meets high standards of quality, including on student evaluations, organization policies and staff morale, she said.

“It’s a self-reflection,” Honeycutt said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.