WASC Words International

Fall 2022

In this Issue

  • Chairperson's Update

  • President's Update
  • International Director's Update
  • Connecting the Dots of Accreditation: Leadership, Coherence, and Continuous Improvement
  • WASC's Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

  • 2022 International Training Schedule
  • International Applicant School Toolkit
  • Basecamp for International Member Schools
  • WASC 60 Year Anniversary Celebration Stories
  • Join the WASC Book Club
  • Get to Know Our Team

Chairperson's Update

R. David Gaudi Jr., Ed.D. | Chairperson

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Welcome to the 2022-23 school year! I hope you found some time to relax and recharge over the summer months. As we settle in on what we hope to be a fantastic school year, please allow me to remind our long-time partners (and inform our new friends) that ACS WASC is a collaborative and inclusive organization that is here to help.

WASC currently partners with 20 educational affiliates and serves over 5,200 schools worldwide, including schools in California, Hawaii and other US states; the Pacific Islands; Asia; the Middle East; Australia; New Zealand; Europe; and Africa. But despite WASC’s increasing size and global reach, the entire WASC team works hard to provide personalized support that is tailored to the diverse needs of our individual institutions and affiliates. WASC values its relationships with all its stakeholders and prides itself on supporting high-quality learning through ongoing school improvement.

Some of these efforts include a thoughtful and purposeful approach to our diversity, equity and inclusion work. This DEI work aims to honor and protect the individuality of every student while respecting the sundry values and missions of our various schools. Meaningful work is also being done to refine the WASC process. This includes streamlining the documentation, materials, procedures, and trainings to increase the overall efficacy and efficiency.

So as we continue to transition out of what has certainly been a challenging few years and into hopefully a more traditional reality, please know that President Dr. Barry Groves and Executive Vice President Dr. Marilyn George, along with the entire WASC team, are committed to your success. Please look to WASC to continue their creative, collaborative, flexible, and supportive ways while adhering to our hallmark standard of excellence in education.

Wishing you a wonderful 2022–2023 school year!

Aloha and Mahalo,

R. David Gaudi Jr.

President's Update

Barry R. Groves, Ed.D. | President

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Welcome back to those schools that are returning after a seasonal break. We understand that for many of our schools the ongoing pandemic and other challenges have resulted in additional pressures to your school communities. Please let our team know if you have questions or need support regarding your school’s accreditation process.

We have recently coauthored a new book, Connecting the Dots of Accreditation: Leadership, Coherence, and Continuous Improvement, that should interest everyone involved in school accreditation. We have written this guidebook as a support to your accreditation efforts. All proceeds from the book will benefit WASC and its accreditation efforts. You can order the hardback, paperback, or eBook directly through the publisher, Rowman & Littlefield, at rowman.com or call 800 462-6420 and use promo code RLEGEN20 to receive a 20 percent discount. The book is also available to order online on Amazon, Kindle, or Barnes & Noble.

We value our work together and look forward to collaborating, supporting, and navigating the 2022-2023 school year together.


Barry R. Groves

International Director's Update

Margaret Alvarez, Ed.D. | Director of International Accreditation

Dear Colleagues,

For those of you starting a new year, all of us at WASC send you every best wish for a wonderful year of learning. To our schools entering the latter part of their school year, we wish you an excellent completion of the school year.

At WASC we have been busy over the northern hemisphere summer months reflecting on the year that had passed, identifying our ongoing developmental priorities for the coming 12 months and analyzing this data to revise our strategic plan. As a result of our work, we look forward to bringing you a revamped training program for schools (self-study, mid-cycle, special visit, and probationary) and visiting committee member and chair training that aims to enhance our members’ efforts to embed continuous school improvement into the fabric of a school. These training sessions will be available online as well as face to face. Our first face-to-face sessions will be held on October 26 prior to the EARCOS Leadership Conference, October 27-29, in Bangkok, Thailand. We look forward to meeting you there at one of the sessions or at the WASC table throughout the conference. For those unable to attend, please see the WASC International Calendar on the WASC website: www.acswasc.org/international-training-calendar/. All of our training programs remain free of charge as we believe in providing equitable access to our members.

As part of our developmental foci, we have also just rolled out a special training program for schools working towards accreditation. This program provides schools with a toolkit and coaching services as they embark on their school improvement journey and prepare for their initial visit.

To support our accredited schools we have enhanced our interim progress reporting process. Starting from September, schools that were required to submit an interim progress report at the end of June 2022 will have the added benefit of engaging in a two-hour conversation with one of our international consultants. The aim of these conversations is to support your continuous school improvement efforts and in particular your action planning, implementation, and monitoring processes. Further details will be sent in a separate communication to schools that submitted reports in June.

Our commitment to DEI continues and we will shortly be publishing ideas on how to ‘unpack’ our criteria to support your school’s efforts in this area. We will also continue developing our use of Basecamp. Please make sure you have access to this important communication and resource hub. Contact Cynthia Newton cnewton@acswasc.org if you need access.

Very excitingly, over the summer months, Barry Groves, WASC President, and Marilyn George WASC Executive Vice President, published a seminal book on accreditation Connecting the Dots of Accreditation: Leadership, Coherence, and Continuous Improvement (ISBN 9781475862218 or 9781475862232). We are very proud of this accomplishment and this important contribution to the accreditation knowledge base. Barry and Marilyn are very generously donating any proceeds made from the sale of the book to WASC. Money earned will go towards further development of our member services. Thank you both! Please congratulate them when you have a chance — they are true pioneers in the field.

In closing, I would like to thank all of our member schools for their ongoing support. A big shout out to all our visiting committee members and chairs who have risen so admirably to the challenge of conducting visits during the pandemic. Although COVID has not gone away, we look forward to reintroducing face-to-face visits when possible. Moving forward, our mid-cycle visits will be mostly online. We hope this will support schools as they recover from the financial impact of COVID.

I am blessed with wonderful colleagues that share a genuine passion for continuous school improvement. We look forward to a productive year ahead and one that will allow us to reconnect at events around the world. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of help.

Best wishes,

Margaret Alvarez

Connecting the Dots of Accreditation: Leadership, Coherence, and Continuous Improvement

WASC President Dr. Barry Groves and Executive Vice President Dr. Marilyn George have recently coauthored a new book that should interest everyone involved in school accreditation. They have written this guidebook as a support to your accreditation efforts. All proceeds from the book will benefit WASC and its accreditation efforts.

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WASC's Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

As a worldwide accrediting agency, WASC is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access to high-level, rigorous learning opportunities for all students. In addition to the actions WASC has taken that include adopting an equity statement and ensuring that our self-study and visiting committee protocols, materials, and training support DEI, the WASC Commissioners have continued their conversations regarding DEI.

At the Summer WASC Commission Meeting, discussion centered upon the recently released book entitled: Connecting the Dots of Accreditation: Leadership, Coherence, and Continuous Improvement, by Dr. Barry Groves and Dr. Marilyn George. After reading the chapter on DEI, through small group dialogue, WASC Commissioners shared thinking and ideas on ways to strengthen DEI within the WASC accreditation process. Some of the questions and ideas discussed included:

  • Key points highlighted in the quotes within the chapter to assist schools to further promote equity, access, and social justice for each student
  • The role of the visiting committee in obtaining information/resources about the school’s DEI efforts.

WASC is committed to ensure that these ideas are addressed and embedded throughout the WASC accreditation process.

2022 International Training Schedule

To see a full list of our training sessions, visit our website at https://www.acswasc.org/international-training-calendar/ or log into the Member Portal. You can register for training sessions by sending an email to training@acswasc.org or staylor@acswasc.org. Contact Dr. Marilyn George at mgeorge@acswasc.org with any questions.

International Applicant School Toolkit

We have compiled a toolkit for applicant international schools going through the WASC process. The toolkit comprises sample templates, informative videos and various resources to support applicant schools starting on their WASC journey. The toolkit is available in the WASC School Portal.

Basecamp for Member Schools

Basecamp is the communication tool available to WASC’s entire international member school community. This platform provides an added benefit to our international member institutions with resources that encourage networking, collaboration, and sharing of best practices with colleagues in the virtual space.

Access Basecamp by logging in here: https://3.basecamp.com/5127485/. Please contact Dr. Margaret Alvarez at malvarez@acswasc.org with questions or to sign up.

WASC 60 Year Anniversary Celebration Stories

WASC is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Throughout the year, WASC has highlighted the last 60 years with social media posts (#WASC60); a "Celebrating 60 Years" page on our website that highlights current and past employees, Commissioners, and visiting committee members. We also have published shared stories of schools and their accreditation journey as well as a timeline of educational milestones over the last 60 years on the webpage.

Some of the early international schools are featured on our "Celebrating 60 Years" webpage. Read their WASC stories here: acswasc.org/celebrating-60-years.

If you would like to share your school’s story with WASC, please send the text and a photograph of your school to Cynthia Newton. cnewton@acswasc.org.

Join the WASC Book Club

You are invited to join the WASC Book Club led by Dr. Margaret Alvarez and Barbara Parker! If you are interested in joining, please contact Barbara Parker (bparker@acswasc.org) or Margaret Alvarez (malvarez@acswasc.org) to sign up.

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Dr. Margaret Alvarez, Director of International Accreditation

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 12 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.

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.