PAIS Awards Reaccreditation to The Miquon School

By Kristin Sanderson

My first year back at Miquon is drawing to a close – and what a wonderful experience it has been! I am grateful for all the many ways in which all of you have helped to make me feel at home, extended yourselves on my behalf, and engaged in lively conversation about our school and it’s future. It has been a busy and productive year, and our collective effort advancing Miquon as a Progressive school leader is both gratifying and, at the same time, a great testament to the idea that we are just getting started.

As principal, one of my biggest goals for the school involves tapping a variety of external perspectives and using feedback to help strengthen Miquon going forward.  I am thrilled to report news on one of the biggest efforts in this area this year — our regular self-assessment and corresponding review by the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools (PAIS). Just last week, Miquon received word that the school has been reaccredited for another 10 years. This process involved the entire community’s assessment about how we are doing in the areas of program, administration, health and safety, maintenance and physical plant, and more. This work, along with the school’s existing strategic plan, helped identify our focal areas and will guide our work in the years ahead.

This year we pursued growth in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The staff participated in sessions with outside experts like school diversity trainer Rosetta Lee and Mazzoni Center representative Jayme Campbell. Two student groups — an African American girls affinity group and students self-identifying as having experienced learning challenges with reading and writing — gathered for lunch meetings to share experiences and find strength in one another. In addition, a newly formed Board Steering Committee on Equity and Diversity is surveying the community to better understand perspectives on diversity, equity, and inclusion at Miquon in preparation for a specialized strategic plan addressing these issues.

With the retirement of longtime Miquon art teacher Anne Brady at the end of this school year and after a thorough hiring process that drew over 100 applicants, we have hired the very talented Nicole Batchelor, known to our community for her work filling in for Anne when she was on sabbatical in 2011-2012 and of course as parent of Jonah and Caleb (along with Maintenance Director Mike Batchelor). With nearly 20 years experience teaching art in many venues, including at Oak Lane’s school and camp, Nicole stood out in her ability to connect with students and help them find their way into making and understanding art. A practicing artist herself, Nicole sees making art as a means of self expression, and is eager to work to bring the artist inherent in each child forward. I hope you will join me in extending a warm welcome to Nicole, a community member who is deeply passionate about all things Miquon, as she takes on her new role here. We are so pleased to have her join us.

Lastly, an important focus for us this year has been the work to bring the creek restoration project to fruition. It represents many elements of what makes Miquon so magical — the project drew us into the multifaceted learning opportunity for us all, with specialist classes and classroom groups studying the art, science, and poetry of the creek. This project was driven and funded in large part by our community, and we are grateful for the work of all who contributed. (Learn more about the creek project.)

I have spent a lot of time getting to know many members of the Miquon community during my time here so far. I have loved each of these meetings as an opportunity to understand what draws each person to Miquon. There are still many more of you I’d like to get to know better — I am eager to continue these conversations and welcome all of you to seek me out as well. This summer, I invite you to drop me a line or set up a time to visit together.


Pictured above: Principal Susannah Wolf ’81 spends lunchtime with fourth graders, hearing their solutions to the math puzzles she’s presented them