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Accrediting Comission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges

WASC 101

What is WASC?

WASC, which stands for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, is responsible for accrediting schools in the western coast of the United States. This non-profit association works closely with the California Department of Education to ensure that schools are following their written curriculum and that they have the means to do so with a sufficient number of teachers and the correct organization. WASC even works alongside the University of California to make sure high schools allow students to fulfill the A-G requirements

Why be Accredited?

WASC’s philosophy stands on three beliefs:

  1. A school strives for successful student learning
  2. Schools have a clear purpose and schoolwide student goals
  3. A school uses internal and external evaluations to improve their support for student learning.
Thus accreditation is meant to assure the community that the school is a “trustworthy institution for student learning”, allowing the school to gain world-wide acceptance.

Process of Accreditation

Accreditation Diagram

Initial Visit Process

  • A two-member team visits for one or two days to understand the school’s purpose and operations after school application has been submitted
  • Initial accreditation or candidacy is given to the school, addressing recommendations and from the visit and starting the first full self-study by the end of three years after candidacy

Self-Study Process

  • All members of the school involve themselves in a self-study process
  • Clarification of the school’s purpose and learning outcomes
  • Assessment of student programs and impact on students
  • Developing a schoolwide plan to address areas of improvement

Full Visit

A visiting committee visits the school for 3.5 days to validate school based on accreditation criteria, state standards, and self-study

  • Other forms of evaluation include looking at what students are doing and producing, student interviews and observations, hard data, and teacher interviews and teaching observation

Follow-Up Process

  • School revises action plan including recommendations from visitors, resubmits to WASC
  • Completion of annual progress reports and reviews, until next visit

Types of Accreditation

Six Year Accreditation Status with a Mid-Cycle Progress Report

  • The school needs little, if any, additional support for high quality and appropriate learning
  • Schoolwide action plan is implemented and accomplished
  • School must send an annual progress report to governing body, stakeholders and ensure to update community and students
  • School is required to send a mid-cycle progress report to WASC to affirm accreditation status

Six Year Accreditation Status with a Mid-Cycle Progress Report AND One Day visit

  • School needs additional support in strengthening student achievement and implementing school wide action plan
  • A one-day visit to ensure that any issues seen were followed-up and improved

Six Year Accreditation Status with a Mid-Cycle Progress Report AND Two Day visit

  • School needs to spend more time on the mid-cycle in reviewing the schoolwide action plan progress in student achievement, and leadership and staff improvement
  • A two-day visit is recommended based on seriousness of issue

One or Two Year Probationary Accreditation Status with an In-Depth Progress Report and a Two Day Visit

  • The school deviates from WASC criteria in 1+ critical areas that need serous support and improvement requiring a follow-up in the visiting committee report
  • A one-year probation means there is an immediate attention and support
  • A two year probation means there is issues need prompt attention and support, but more time can be used to identify and fix issues
  • A visit and in-depth progress report will be needed by the end of their probation where WASC will determine their new accreditation

Accreditation Status Withheld

  • Schools can appeal the accreditation or request a Reinstatement Visit where they must report improvements in critical issues or school must begin the whole accreditation process again

Life After WASC

Once schools recieve a six year accreditation, they must conduct a continual self study that displays their school-wide action plan and student learning objectives.

Simple Cycle

For more information please visit the WASC website

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Sat, 04/14/2018 - 20:46

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