When the all-important accreditation team comes to Revere High School (RHS) early next month, their first impression of the place will come from a delightful music video put together by the entire high school community – a video that has already taken the city by storm via the Internet this week.
Set to the 1981 rock song ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey, virtually every student, teacher, and administrator participated in making the lip-synced video.
The action is fast, and aside from the students lip-syncing the song at the center of the production, there are also students in the background and on the sidelines showcasing all sorts of talents and messages.
Some are seen breakdancing.
Others are seen reading.
Some are seen holding up signs that have positive messages on them.
Even RHS Principal Lourenco Garcia catches the camera with a short guitar solo during the video.
“It was an idea that came from the students, the teachers and the administrators,” said Garcia. “We put this committee together and they came out with this beautiful idea and we all came together to make it happen last week.”
The school filmed the video last Friday, Feb. 17th, but already it has found a very receptive audience throughout the community, with many saying they are very impressed at the production and the presentation.
However, the video isn’t all fun and games.
In fact, it will serve a purpose in what is a very critical evaluation process for RHS that will begin on March 5th and finish up with a team of evaluators visiting from March 25-28th. Those evaluators are from the New England Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges (NEASC), and they visit every 10 years to turn the school upside down and see what’s going on inside every corner of it. After their thorough evaluation, which includes everything from looking at teacher qualifications to looking at dietary guidelines of the school food, they make a decision on whether or not the school is meeting standards. If the school does not meet those standards, it can lose its accreditation and it’s license to operate.
It’s a visit that RHS has been working on for at least three years.
“The video is a celebration,” said Principal Garcia. “It celebrates what we do and that Revere High School has come a long way. It was done as a day to celebrate what the entire learning community can do…That video is going to be shown on the day we have our visit with the NEASC team, during their reception. We have a lot of people with a lot of talent at this school, students and teachers, and we wanted to showcase that for the team.”
Superintendent Paul Dakin said the NEASC review preparation started about three years ago under former Principal David DeRuosi. Last year and this year, Garcia picked up that head of steam and did some real tough work, implementing changes that were quite unpopular at first but that will make quite a difference with evaluators.
“It’s the end-all and be-all for your existence,” said Dakin of the review. “You can be written up, put on probation, granted a 5-year license or granted a 10-year license. It’s a complicated thing. We are a whole different school than we were 10 years ago when they last came. We hope that we can show them how we’ve adjusted to those changes to teach our kids and to provide them with a nurturing environment and the necessary social skills to succeed.”
Dakin also said he thought the short video was a great idea to give the review team another view of what it’s like to be part of the RHS community.
“I think it’s a great idea and it shows the committee that it’s actually a community of people at RHS,” he said. “The teachers and kids do the work they have to do in the academic world and they’ve also built relationships outside of that world that allows them to do this kind of thing and also allows the teachers to be accessible to the students. We’d like to think it’s those relationships that would allow kids to go to a teacher or staff member when they need to talk or need to report something.
“Really, this shows the committee how life is like outside the classroom here,” he continued. “They are looking at academics and a lot of written presentations and things that are going on inside the classroom. They don’t necessarily see outside the classroom unless you show them. That’s what the school has done here.”
Garcia said he believes that the school has fully prepared, both with fun things like the video and with the serious things like school restructuring and academic programming.
“This review is a huge event at RHS because that’s the organization that’s going to accredit us and they are in charge of accrediting every school in New England,” he said. “Because of the things we’ve done here, like the block scheduling, the Freshman Academy and the things we did last year, I think Revere High School is going to get a great review and will do really well.”
Dakin said a lot of credit goes to Garcia for not only pushing fun things like the welcome video, but also for spearheading tough changes last year that will reflect well on the school during the review.
“There were a lot of things that we were working on that were critical, but were still in development and needed to be pushed,” he said. “He was brave enough to come in here his first year without knowing too many people and push those things into place. His initiative and insight to making those difficult things happen before the review rather than during the review is going to play more favorably than if we hadn’t done it. He deserves a lot of credit.”
But one thing Garcia said he wouldn’t do is take credit for anything in the video, even his own brief guitar solo.
“That was everybody,” he said. “We have so many students and teachers with incredible talents.”