HULL — Mission accomplished for Trinity Christian High School.
A dream of the school ever since it started in the fall of 2008 was to become accredited with the Iowa Department of Education.
It turned into a reality earlier this spring when the state awarded Trinity Christian with full accreditation.
“Accreditation has been a goal of this school since this school started,” said Trinity Christian principal Jim Regearus. “(The state) recognizes our curriculum as meeting all of the state requirements in our staff and building and that our students will be receiving an accredited education.”
By receiving full accreditation, Trinity Christian no longer operates under the state’s private education guidelines.
While the school started in 2008, it could not apply for full accreditation until it became a 4-year institution.
Trinity Christian graduated its first class last year and will graduate its second one later this month.
“Initially we couldn’t apply for accreditation because we were not a 4-year institution,” Regnarus said. “Our goal was that as soon as we were, we would become accredited with the state of Iowa.”
Trinity Christian had to meet four specific guidelines to become fully accredited:
For the staff, teaching at a fully accredited school it had to: have an adequate building that met handicap accessibility codes, fire drills and tornado safety drills; document teachers are competent and healthy; demonstrate that it met state requirements for curriculum; and that 80 percent of graduates are accepted into a 4-year liberal arts college.
“It was a lot of work,” Regnarus said.
Trinity Christian applied for accreditation in November of 2012 and it was granted on March 28 and was aided in the process by Department of Education liaison Beth Happe.
Regnarus credited Happe’s hard work in making the accreditation process a reality.
“Beth worked very well to keep us informed with how things were progressing,” Regnarus said.
Trinity Christian received a special type of accreditation thanks in part to some of the educational standards the school has.
“One of the standards is that 80 percent of our graduates will be accepted into a 4-year liberal arts college,” Regnarus said. “We feel we will not have difficulty meeting that standard.”
Regnarus added, however, he does not expect 80 percent of Trinity Christian graduates to attend a 4-year liberal arts college.
During the process, Trinity Christian faculty met with other schools, such as Unity Christian in Orange City and Pella Christian about what they had to do during the accreditation process.
“Having talked to some other schools who had been through the accreditation process was helpful,” Regnarus said.
Along with Happe and the other schools, Regnarus credited Sen. Randy Feenstra with providing support.
“He was very encouraging and kept an interest in us as it worked through the different levels of buracracy in Des Moines,” Regnarus said.
While receiving the notice was never in doubt, Regnarus noted there were some jitters along the way.
“On the one hand, you always think we should be accredited. We’ve met every requirement that’s expected of us,” Regnarus said. “Still, there’s a certain amount of nervousness as you go through the application process, what could possibly go wrong? But nothing went wrong. It went straight through.”
Now that Trinity Christian has received accreditation from the Department of Education, the school can now become part of the National Honor Society among other activities.
So far, Trinity Christian students have done quite well in the classroom. The first graduating class had an average ACT score of 26 and this class has a score of 26.1
“We hope it’s not a fluke that we’re starting off with two very smart classes, but we hope we can keep maintaining that ACT level right there,” Regnarus said.
Regnarus credits families of Trinity Christian students with providing the needed support outside of the classroom.
“We do have students who come from very strong family backgrounds,” Regnarus said. “We feel that’s a blessing that our students come from supportive homes where they have things in place to support them in an environment to excel.”