Childhood program accredited

First Posted: 11/1/2013

Recently the Early Childhood program at Robeson Community College added to the school’s stack of credentials when it earned accreditation from the National Association of Education of Young Children. Gwen Chavis, Melissa Oxendine, Phoebe Chavis-Harris, Debra Lowery and Deborah Graff spent two years working towards this accreditation.

“The NAEYC Accreditation Process was a very daunting task but one that will be extremely rewarding for our students and the children that they teach,” said Chavis, RCC Early Childhood Program director. “There was a lot of strategic planning that went into developing and tweaking assignments that aligned with the NAEYC Standards. It was a very reflective process that will make us a stronger, more accountable early childhood program.”

The National Association of Education of Young Children examines program design, organization and resources, and instructor qualifications, responsibilities, and professional development. Emphasis is placed on the quality of teaching to insure that the learning experiences of students meet acceptable standards.

Programs seeking accreditation are expected to collect information about the program, institute policies and procedures to deliver quality instruction, and measure outcomes of the program. The outcomes are then analyzed for the purpose of fine tuning policies and procedures. As policies and procedures are modified, new outcome data is gathered for evaluation. The association’s expects this cycle to continue as the program works towards continuous incremental improvement.

Once a program has gone through the accrediting process, the accrediting agency will issue a report with one of three findings. The program is accredited with standards substantially met, or the program is accredited with conditions, meaning the standards are substantially met, but conditions must be met in first two subsequent annual reports, or the program is not accredited as the standards are not met and concerns cannot be addressed within 18 months.

The association’s Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation found that the following programs at Robeson Community College substantially met their standards for Initial and Advanced Early Childhood Professional Preparation Programs: A.A.S. Early Childhood: Generalist Track, A.A.S. Early Childhood: Administration Track and A.A. S. Early Childhood: Articulation Track.

“This accreditation is an acknowledgement of the program’s total commitment to the college, students, children and the Early Childhood profession,” said Debbie Lowry, RCC Early Childhood instructor Debbie Lowry.

About 100 people, including several Robeson Community College board members, Sen. Michael Walters, Rep. Charles Graham and Rep. Ken Waddell attended a press conference on Oct. 23 announcing the accreditation.

“The process was definitely a learning experience for me as an instructor and facilitator of the self-study,” explained Early Childhood Instructor Phoebe Chavis-Harris.

It challenged me to look at how I developed, presented and evaluated my instructional practices as they related to and supported the national standards set by the National Association of Education of Young Children.

It served as a means of validating my pedagogical practices in the field and helped to uncover areas that needed to be tweaked, revamped or in some cases, discarded.

For our school, this is truly an honor to be celebrated and recognized as the commitment it is to providing our students, community and the early childhood profession with quality educational experiences.

The experiences that we are able to provide for our students will produce, not just an effective and efficient early childhood workforce for our county and surrounding counties, but professionals that have met the highest of standards in their course work and in their practicum experiences.”

For information about Robeson Community College’s Early Childhood Education program, contact Program Director Gwen Chavis at 910-272-3440 or

Dennis Watts is the Public Information officer at Robeson Community College. If you have questions about RCC or suggestions for future articles, he can be reached at