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Middle States Association Recognizes FCAHS for Programs of Distinction

The Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS) recently recognized Fox Chapel Area High School for its Programs of Distinction in Music, School Counseling, and the Visual Arts.
The Middle States Programs of Distinction initiative provides external validation of an accredited school’s accomplishments in specific areas of expertise and enables schools to take accreditation to the next level.
“Earning a Program of Distinction is an important accomplishment for any school,” said Lisa Marie McCauley, president of MSA-CESS. “Successfully pursuing three Programs of Distinction in diverse fields is an especially impressive feat. We commend Fox Chapel Area and its faculty and staff for their perseverance and commitment to excellence.”
The Programs of Distinction review process helps already accredited schools identify strengths and areas for growth and provides inspiration and recommendations for maintaining a high-quality program.

MSA accredited schools are eligible to apply for Program of Distinction recognition for outstanding programs in Global Literacies, World Languages, Visual Arts, Music, Early Childhood Education, Service Learning, School Counseling, and STEM.

Fox Chapel Area High School first received Programs of Distinction in Music and School Counseling in 2012, and in the Visual Arts in 2015. Of note, in 2012, Fox Chapel Area’s school counseling department was the first ever in the history of Middle States to receive Program of Distinction status, and the music department was the first public school to receive the award. Additionally, back in 2015, Fox Chapel Area High School was the first school – nationally and internationally – to receive Program of Distinction status in Visual Arts. Now, all three departments have received Program of Distinction status once again.

“Fox Chapel Area High School is committed to setting high standards for our students, providing them with a robust and well-rounded curriculum, and doing all that we can to help them achieve,” said Lead Principal Michael Hower. “This is an important honor for us and we are grateful to Middle States for supporting our work in these areas.”  
Schools attaining the Music Program of Distinction foster within students a deep appreciation for music as an expressive, creative art form. Music education is recognized as an essential component of the social and cultural fiber of society and the school.
The School Counseling Program of Distinction recognizes schools with a comprehensive and coherent school counseling program, which features counselors who advocate for equity in student access to all of the school’s educational opportunities.

The Visual Arts Program of Distinction identifies programs of superior quality, clearly articulated and comprehensive, led by qualified and talented instructors using research-based instructional techniques and strategies, and allows all students to develop an appreciation for and an understanding of the visual arts as a valuable and expressive fine art form.