EDINBURG – After a four year process, St. Matthews Episcopal School has received accreditation through the Southwest Association of Episcopal Schools.
Principal Mayani Ballesteros said that accreditation will benefit the faculty, students and administration of St. Matthews, which enrolls children from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade.
"Children who graduate from St. Matthews and then go on to public or charter schools, or later, college, maybe even some who want to go to these Ivy League schools, knowing that they came from an accredited institution they may be accepted easier," Ballesteros said.
"And we are also able to say that we maintain academic excellence. Because we are accredited, it shows that we have quality in the teachers and the curriculum," she added.
Interim Rector Robert Soper said that Ballesteros was instrumental in following the recommendations of SAES to gain accreditation for the school.
"She has worked very hard," he said. "We've had a lot of struggles to get here, but she has a vision for the school and she's going to carry it out. She is a hard worker and very organized."
One of the struggles facing the 35-year-old school recently is a drop in enrollment for the regular school year and the summer.
"(During the school year) we like to be up to 150 or 160 kids but this year it was about 135, which made things a little bit tighter than we like to have them," Soper said.
And for the first time in several years, St. Matthews is quiet in the summer this year as the numbers dropped too low to hold a summer camp.
"We've had a summer camp in the past, but this year because of the economy we took a hit to enrollment and couldn't have summer camp" Ballesteros said.
But the unexpected peace has given the school administrators a chance to set a course for the year to come.
"It's given us quiet time to focus, especially now that we're accredited," Ballesteros added.
"It goes hand in hand, accreditation and updates. The noise that we usually had around with the families coming in is nice, but on the other hand it has given us a lot of time to plan for some good years to come, and some good changes."