On Wednesday, December 15, 2021, Smith-Cotton JROTC participated in their JROTC Program for Accreditation (JPA) inspection, which occurs every three years. The JPA inspection consists of multiple phases that are judged by a series of inspectors.
The first event from the JPA inspection is the in-ranks inspection of the cadets. All cadets are required to answer a series of questions asked by inspectors that are coming from the UCM ROTC, Missouri Army National Guard and a few active duty recruiters for the area. Each cadet is expected to stand at attention and answer questions about the curriculum. Along with being inspected on military bearing and knowledge, cadets’ uniforms are being critiqued and judged, as well as the overall attendance of the battalion. Following the overall battalion inspection, an inspector from the federal level coming from headquarters in Chicago, inspects the Battalion Staff’s Continuous Improvement Project Briefing. The Smith-Cotton JROTC’s Continuous Improvement Project is to increase the ACT scores within the battalion from a 19.35 to a 21. Each position within the battalion staff briefs Mr. Middleton, the Brigade inspector, over how they contribute to improving the scores of cadets. Cadet Colonel Skylar Brines, the Battalion Commander, explains that her primary goal is to introduce the ACT and its importance to the freshman cadets within the battalion.
The third phase of the JPA inspection is the Service Learning Briefing, which is also presented to Mr. Middleton. Cadets Leia Goodwin and Karmya Bronson explained how the Smith-Cotton Veterans Day ceremony and parade were planned and executed, as well as their personal experiences and some of the history behind the event. After the Service Learning Briefing, cadets’ portfolios are inspected as part of a cadet interview. A cadets portfolio consists of, their resume, SMART Goals, JROTC Essay, Service Learning Project reflection, as well as school work from other classes and their awards.Their portfolio must be flawless, and is inspected by the instructors beforehand to make sure the portfolio’s are amazing. Along with the cadets’ portfolio inspections, the instructors’ portfolios are also inspected. The final part of the inspection is the Color Guard and unarmed regulation inspection. The armed team’s Color Guard performed in front of the inspectors and was judged for every detail. Cadet Command Sergeant Major Veronica Morelos, did amazing in leading the Color Guard throughout the movements and staying confident throughout the inspection. Along with the Color Guard performance, specifically chosen cadets, commanded by the Battalion Deputy Commanding Officer (DCO) Luisa Cinta, were inspected as a team in the unarmed regulation routine in the inspection.
JROTC programs that have successfully completed a JPA inspection receive accreditation from the Advanced national accrediting agency, which reviews the quality of JROTC programs. Accredited programs must continuously meet set standards within their program and continue to improve and stay relevant. Those programs receiving 95% and above are designated as JROTC Honor Unit with Distinction and are awarded the Gold Star to wear on their uniforms. Programs receiving 70-94% are designated as proficient, while units receiving any score below a 70% is designated as unsatisfactory and results in the program being placed on suspension for a year and reinspected within 12 months to determine if they are still eligible for accreditation or whether the program will be shut down. Smith-Cotton JROTC was last inspected in December 2018 and received a score of 98%. In this year's inspection the Tiger Battalion performed greatly, they received a score of 98% and will be keeping their gold star.