Watson Institute Achieves National Special Education Accreditation

The Watson Institute is committed to providing exceptional special education programs and services to children with special needs in Western Pennsylvania. To demonstrate our commitment to excellence, Watson voluntarily seeks accreditation from NCASES (National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services) every five years. 

The Watson Institute Education Center program encompasses our special education approved private schools for children ages 3 to 21 in Sewickley and Bridgeville, as well as our LEAP Preschool program for children with autism spectrum disorder in Sharpsburg. 

The Watson Institute is pleased to announce that we have been granted accreditation through 2022. Watson is one of only 24 programs in the United States that maintains NCASES accreditation. 

As part of the accreditation process, Watson welcomed three reviewers from the Commission to tour our facilities in which the Education Center programs are offered: Sewickley, Sharpsburg, and Bridgeville. 

During the accreditation closure conference, the reviewers shared feedback about the Watson Institute, including: 

  • It is evident that Watson’s commitment is to our students, quality, and to each other. 
  • Mutual respect was always given and shown to each other and to our students. 
  • The Watsons would be proud of the work we are doing in their name and in their legacy. 
  • Everyone works together – it is truly a supportive, family atmosphere. 
  • The length of employment at Watson in very impressive. It shows the quality of the programs we offer and the culture that has been created and nurtured. 
  • Our attention and commitment to safety is impressive. It’s evident that safety is a priority at the Watson Institute.  

Watson Staff Inspired to Certify as NCASES Site Reviewers

Michele Trettel, Program Director of the Watson Institute Education Centers, and Rayna Knox, Team Coordinator at the Education Center South, were recently approved to be NCASES Site Reviewers.

Ms. Trettel and Ms. Knox were inspired by the visit from Watson’s Site Reviewers and wanted to learn how they could participate in the accreditation process with other organizations.

Ms. Trettel says it’s her love of learning that led her to train as a Site Reviewer. “It provides me with opportunities to see other programs, meet other professionals, and gain new perspectives.”

Ms. Knox said that “being on the receiving end of the NCASES accreditation taught me so many things about our programs at Watson.” The process moved her to become a site reviewer so she could give professionals in other programs that same learning experience.