Mira Costa High School
Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accreditation Process
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges, each year, helps schools take part in community-wide self-study reflections with the intent of celebrating the achievement of learner-driven goals, as well as revising or creating new ones for continued improvement. The process is meant to be a collaborative effort, allowing all stakeholders to have a voice in the overall vision (in theory) and implementation (in practice) of programs which address specified learner outcomes aligned to community-identified learning needs. Schools participate holistically in this process--including members of the district, administration, faculty and staff, parent and community organizations, and students--which includes honest reflection on the school and community profile, prior goals and implementation strategies, focused educational practices, and a school-wide adopted action plan. This process is also used as a method for continued accreditation, which suggests that schools provide an educational experience that is aligned to certain standards of practice.
While the accreditation of a school is of obvious importance, the WASC self-study process should not be viewed as an evaluation of programs which must meet specific benchmarks. Rather, the WASC self-study report provides schools a way to consciously and explicitly reflect on the alignment of the school's overall mission to department-wide practices and even individual curriculum choices and instruction in the classroom. As such, the report should be honest, specifically-organized, and goal-oriented, and should drive major school-wide choices for the next few years of the cycle in ways that are consistent with the identified action plan of the report. The WASC process simply provides a means for open communication across the educational community.
Generally, year five of the six-year cycle begins the reflection process, through which the visiting committee validates the school's finding in the subsequent year. The visiting committee--prior to visit--reads the school's completed report, and then provides an objective and unbiased observation of the school's identified programs, practices, and needs. They may also recommend revisions to the action plan, which would then become central for the next six year's of action, and/or revisited during the three-year mid-cycle follow-up visit.
Note from the Coordinators:
Our goal is to provide an honest and transparent process in the creation of this report, with full inclusion of all stakeholders. Thank you for taking the time to be part of this very important process, and for providing evidence of practice and voicing areas of critical need as we look to guide our school through this evaluation process. We hope to do our school proud, and do this process justice. Looking forward to working alongside all of you.