by Anthony Ngov
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) representatives will be arriving on campus March 18 to ensure we have accurately identified our areas of strength and growth based on the “self-study process,” and will be reporting their findings March 21.
Public schools that are a part of WASC must be able to answer the two questions that are part of the “self-study process”: “How does the school know that all students are achieving based on schoolwide student goals and academic standards,” and “Is the school doing everything possible to support high school achievement for all its students?”
High schools and colleges generally perform well enough to get accredited for a six-year term with a three-year mid-report, although they may be accredited for a shorter time, or not at all if they perform poorly.
The WASC representatives will meet with many different faculty groups in the school, and will observe learning inside classrooms to ensure the school’s reports are accurate.
It is important because if a school is not accredited, it may invalidate students’ transcripts, which can lead to complications with students’ acceptances into universities and other future endeavors.
Students can help this process by welcoming the WASC visitors and answering any of their questions to the best of their ability, while also being active participants in the classroom. Committee members may occasionally ask students questions during class time about what they are learning or currently working on in class.
“There is an initial fear of wondering if we will make it or not, but then we are reminded of it in class often, so there is not much of a reason for us not to pass the inspection,” said senior USB Vice President Benjamin Manuel. “ USB has been tidying up the MPR, and I hope we can make our school shine its brightest the Sunday morning we give the tour.”
The Visiting Committee includes faculty members from other high schools and are led by Visiting Committee Chair Katherine Harrison, the assistant principal of Jefferson High School in Los Angeles.
Faculty members have been preparing for this visit by focusing on the two self-study questions by having various meetings and analyzing data about how students perform in the classroom. These preparations are led by teacher Ami Szerencse, the self-study coordinator, and the Focus on Learning Leadership Team, which consists of 12 teachers and four administrators.
“We have been working hard for the last two years to prepare,” said Szerencse. “It is like preparing for a test; there is always more that you can do to prepare, but I feel we have put in a good effort.”