WASC Words International

Fall 2021

President's Update

Barry R. Groves | President

Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Welcome back to those schools that are returning after a seasonal break. WASC is keenly aware that for many of our schools the continuing pandemic and other challenges have resulted in additional pressures to school communities. Please reach out to us if you have questions about your school’s accreditation process. We will do our best to help.

As the field of education continues to evolve and challenge us all, we will continue to recognize these challenges as opportunities, and a chance to make a profound impact on our future leaders. We value our work together and look forward to collaborating, supporting, and navigating the 2021-2022 school year together.


Barry R. Groves

Focusing on Learning and Well-being for All Students

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Ongoing Refinements in the WASC Focus on Learning Process

The ACS WASC Commission, composed of thirty-five members representing the various constituencies of WASC, adopted an Equity Statement in Spring 2021. The WASC protocols, materials and process have already included a strong emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). However, there will be additional review and refinements of the protocols, materials, and trainings guided by this Equity Statement. WASC recognizes that as we work collaboratively with international educators and various associations and task forces, strengthening DEI work is indeed unending — the journey never ends.

The recent review of the Focus on Learning International 2020 (FOL) and supporting materials and training confirmed what currently is integral to the ongoing WASC school improvement process.

These include:

  1. A clear statement on Why WASC Accreditation? Addressing DEI
  2. Clear definitions for all students and equity in the FOL process
  3. The overarching FOL concept questions
  4. Strong emphases on all students and analysis of multiple types of data for all students
  5. Strong emphasis on all students throughout criteria, indicators, and supporting resources
  6. Emphasis at the trainings on engaging stakeholders in analysis and dialogue and identified actions during a school’s self-study and visit process on the criteria and indicators
  7. The WASC Accreditation Status Determination Worksheet guides the school and visiting committee in assessment of the degree of effectiveness (highly effective, effective, somewhat effective, and ineffective) in meeting each of the WASC criteria, indicators, and other key factors in relation to the learning of all students, the school’s program and the school’s operation
  8. The WASC International Criteria and Indicators and Framing Questions reflect DEI and all students

To view more in-depth examples of these items - click here.

Strengthening and Building our Community — Connect with Us!

One of the areas our WASC Communications Team is focused on is strengthening connectivity between WASC schools and developing opportunities for sharing best practice in school improvement.

Over the last few weeks we have been testing out a platform to support this goal. The platform is called Basecamp and will be used as networking tool for WASC international schools. We will be launching it in the Fall so make sure to be on the lookout for an email invitation to join.

You may also stay connected with WASC on social media by following, liking, or connecting to our accounts by clicking on the links below. If you're already on social media, don't forget to tag WASC in your posts!





2021 International Training Schedule

To see a full list of our 2021-2022 training sessions, visit our website at https://www.acswasc.org/events/month

All times listed below are California (Pacific Daylight Saving Time through November 7 and then Pacific Standard Time)

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Meet our 2021-2022 WASC Commissioners

Welcome back to school! As a new school year begins, we wanted to introduce you to the 2021-2022 WASC Commission.

Get to know our Commissioners here:


The Commission is comprised of thirty-five persons, representing various constituencies of WASC, selected by the Commission’s Nomination Review Committee from candidates nominated by member organizations or the Commission.

Our International Team is Growing!

Please join us in welcoming the following members to our international team! Photos and bios are provided below.

  • Dr. Margaret Alvarez, Director of International Accreditation Services
  • Natalie Abad Merritt, International Consultant
  • Dawn Rock, International Consultant

Dr. Margaret Alvarez, Director of International Accreditation Services

We welcome Dr Margaret Alvarez as the Director of International Accreditation Services. Dr. Alvarez is currently based in Singapore. Prior to joining WASC, she served as the Head of School of ISS International School, Singapore. Dr. Alvarez has extensive experience in accreditation, having worked in the field for nine years. During this time she engaged in research in school improvement processes, worked with government agencies, contributed to the development of accreditation protocols, trained educators and administrators in successful accreditation practices, managed processes, and supported numerous schools around the world.

Natalie Abad Merritt, International Consultant

Natalie Abad Merritt began her teaching career as a Primary School teacher working in South Wales, U.K. She then spent 16 years working for the largest K-12 international school in Singapore, gaining experience as head of department, a member of leadership, and living within the residential community. In 2018, she relocated with her family and served as a learning coach. In March 2020, she joined the newly formed crisis management team supporting the strategic developments of operations and practices in response to COVID-19, and a country at war. For a number of years, Mrs. Abad Merritt has volunteered her time to support accreditation organizations in the evaluation of international schools, sharing her expertise in matters relating to safeguarding and child protection, and residential services.

Dawn Rock, International Consultant

Dawn Rock joined WASC after 23 years in international education as an elementary teacher, a middle and high school math teacher, and, mostly recently, as a high school principal for twelve years. She has extensive experience as a team member and as chair for school visits, testament to her commitment to the development and growth of all schools. In addition, she served as WASC school site coordinator, leading her most recent school through ongoing improvement and the accreditation cycle for the past 13 years. Ms. Rock has a BA in Literature from the University of California, San Diego, and an MA in Educational Administration from Michigan State University.

International Staff and Consultants

International WASC staff and consultants are available to provide accreditation coaching and training.

Stephen Massiah, International Consultant

Stephen Massiah works with schools throughout Asia. He is based out of Bangkok, Thailand. Steve comes to WASC after successful positions in international schools in Doha, Qatar; Seoul, South Korea; Bangkok, Thailand; and Hong Kong. Prior to this he was a principal in Toronto, Canada; an adjunct instructor at the Faculty of Education, University of Toronto; and an interim position (secondment) with the Ontario College of Teachers.

Barbara Parker, International Consultant

Barbara Parker has worked in international schools in Southeast Asia, Pakistan, Africa, and the Mediterranean for almost 30 years. She was formerly the director of the International School of Beihai. She recently designed and developed curriculum for several new international schools in China and the Asia-Pacific region, some of which were designed particularly for English language learners.

Alana Steward, International Consultant

Alana Steward has served WASC for several years as an international consultant.After beginning her teaching career in her native Canada, Alana has been teaching and leading in schools in various countries for the past 19 years. She has traveled extensively with her family and has worked in countries including Macau, Kyrgyzstan, Singapore, Austria, and Japan.

Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Dr. Marilyn S. George, Executive Vice President
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Our Mission

ACS WASC advances and validates quality ongoing school improvement by supporting its private and public elementary, secondary, and postsecondary member institutions to engage in a rigorous and relevant self-evaluation and peer review process that focuses on student learning.