WASC Words International

— Spring 2019 —

Welcome to the first edition of our new international newsletter, WASC Words International. We will be publishing the newsletter electronically on a biannual basis and the newsletter will include accreditation news and information for our international schools. Please feel free to share it with your staff.

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Inside this Issue

  • In Memoriam: Dick Krajczar
  • Student Learning and Well-Being: The End Result of School Improvement
  • ACS WASC Technology Upgrade
  • New Logo
  • 2019-2020 International School Membership Fees
  • International Training Sessions
  • International Staff and International Consultants

In Memoriam: Dick Krajczar

Richard T. Krajczar (Dr. K) held the position of executive director of the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) for over 22 years. We so valued his service as executive director of EARCOS for more than two decades to the international education community that also included a dual role for four years of being the executive director of the Association for the Advancement of International Education.

In 1968 when EARCOS was formed, WASC began its journey working with international schools, which was a new area for WASC as we began collaborating and working with the Office of Overseas School and EARCOS. Under Dick’s 22 years of EARCOS leadership WASC has grown in our understanding of international schools and our outreach.

Dick supported external review of schools to support student learning and well-being and ongoing improvement. He enabled and encouraged the WASC presence in the region to be available to school leaders and staff. As EARCOS developed over the years, we owe Dick for helping us understand the needs of international schools; he facilitated that work through providing EARCOS and ETC conference time for our self-study, chair and visiting committee trainings, additional meetings and dialogue with schools and their leaders, including our WASC breakfast meetings and the WASC table for dialogue. These meetings and brain-storming sessions have led to continual refinement of the international accreditation process and the assurance of the integration of key international concepts.

Dick was so sensitive and empathetic to concerns and issues and would keep WASC updated. One example was the idea that WASC use international educators to chair visits rather than educators from other parts of the region or have them serve as co-chairs to ensure the international perspective was understood. This we have done. Again Dick facilitated providing time for the training and dialogue with the EARCOS leaders that have become chairs and members.

As Dick worked with WASC to ensure understanding of international schools and supporting quality student learning, what emerged was an EARCOS representative on the WASC Commission. This started years ago with Dave Rittmann serving as the first EARCOS Commissioner followed by others such as Eleanor Jones, D.J. Condon and Harlan Lyso, who served as the WASC Commission chair and now Steve Cathers, the current WASC Commission chair.

Dick saw connections and facilitated time and support for our collaboration with other accrediting bodies such as CIS and IB in our synchronized visit process. He also modeled building the collaborative relationships with other groups through his participating in association meetings such as AAIE and ACAMIS.

Dick was a friend and mentor of WASC. As so many have shared, all of us felt special around Dick, who always had time to talk with each of us and see how we were doing.

We recognize Dick as the man he was and his extraordinary care for all of the members of the EARCOS community. We would like to use EARCOS as an acrostic to summarize all the ways Dick has impacted the footprint on WASC and all of us in the region.

E nthusiastic, contagious Energy, Empathetic

A lways there in the present focusing on each and everyone

R elationship building and Reaching out

C aring, Collaborative, and Committed to building a family Culture

O verwhelmingly positive and Optimistic

S ensitive and Supportive to all — the ultimate goal focusing on Serving all so we can truly be Student-centered

Thank you, Dick, for all you have done and the legacy you have left.

Student Learning and Well-Being: The End Result of School Improvement

WASC has been emphasizing that accreditation is NOT:

  • Inspection
  • Teacher-focused
  • A report
  • Individual/small group work only.

INSTEAD, WASC accreditation is:

  • Self-renewal and reflection
  • Student-focused
  • Self-evaluation of programs: effective structures and habits/impact on students
  • Schoolwide collaborative work.

Over the past 30 years WASC has been continually refining its Focus on Learning process and what has evolved are WASC guiding principles that address what accreditation is as an ongoing school improvement/change process. These guiding principles provide the structure for a school’s improvement and the evaluation of the results.

The WASC accreditation process empowers schools to:

  • Ensure that there is a culture of involvement and collaboration of leadership, staff, students, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders
  • Ensure there is a culture that nurtures and supports the well-being of all students
  • Demonstrate through its program there is evidence that its vision, mission and schoolwide learner outcomes are accomplished by students
  • Evaluate students’ achievement of the schoolwide learner outcomes and the academic standards
  • Use multiple ways to analyze data to demonstrate student achievement, including student and staff perceptions/interviews, examining student work, and observing students engaged in learning
  • Evaluate its program effectiveness in relation to 1) its impact on student learning based on schoolwide learner outcomes, student learner needs, and academic standards; and 2) meeting an acceptable level of quality in accordance with the WASC criteria
  • Align its prior and current prioritized findings to the schoolwide action focusing on areas of greatest student and therefore teacher/school needs
  • Implement and monitor the ongoing improvement results and the impact on student learning.

Through the communication with schools through workshops, conversations in person and virtually, we have encouraged schools to reflect upon these guiding principles as they evaluate the effectiveness of the school’s ongoing improvement process.

  • Which of these guiding principles connect with what is happening at our school?
  • How might we extend our thinking about practices at our school based on these guiding principles?
  • What challenges might we consider as we evaluate our schools and its identified needs and actions according to these principles?

A Student-Centered School: What Does Learning and Well-Being Look Like?

In the fall WASC Words International newsletter, the WASC international consultants will share their thoughts as they reflect on the WASC guiding principles as drivers of increased student learning and ongoing school improvement and transformation. Furthermore, they will share their experiences that demonstrate that when the WASC accreditation process is integral to a school’s culture of learning, evaluation, and assessment, then the foundation is laid for the analysis and action to increase student learning. They will also invite you to share your stories on how analysis and dialogue within the FOL process builds capacity and coherence and provides support to schools by helping identify what needs to be done and the resulting actions.

ACS WASC Technology Upgrade

ACS WASC has contracted with Presence, a local San Francisco company that creates innovative digital products for business, to create a new accreditation information management system. Presence has worked with a number of accreditation agencies so they are familiar with technology issues from the accreditation perspective. Presence completed its initial three-day discovery visit in early December. Since then staff has been busy answering requests for additional detailed information as Presence works to finish the design phase and build the new system. The new system will allow school leadership to access their accreditation information and history and give them the ability to keep their contact information current. Staff will begin testing the database during summer 2019 and the live version for staff, schools, and members is anticipated to be in place by winter 2020.

New Logo

ACS WASC is sporting a new look! For many years the logo of the Commission depicted the mountains and trees of California. Dr. Barry Groves and the Commission adopted the new logo to more accurately capture the essence of the organization today and to develop a logo to create a brand that appropriately symbolizes WASC. The laurel wreath evokes a sense of “achievement” and “award” that has a history going back thousands of years and classic, serif fonts have long been associated with institutions of education and higher learning. We strived to create something that is simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, and appropriate — we hope you like the new logo.

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2019-2020 International School Membership Fees

ACS WASC has had a jump in the number of international school accreditation requests in the past few years. As a result of this increased interest the ACS WASC Commission has been expanding its training and consulting services internationally. While these international schools have primarily been in Asia, there have been requests for ACS WASC accreditation and consultation around the world and the ACS WASC protocol is now in use in more than 40 countries. To continue this expansion of consultation and accreditation services the Commission announced it would be implementing a fee increase for the 2019-2020 school year for the first time since 2014. Dr. Groves, ACS WASC president, stated that the Commission's intention for the fee increase was to maximize service and customer satisfaction and is not focused on profit.

The annual membership fee for international K-12 schools will increase to $1,750.00. This remains substantially lower than most accrediting agency annual fees. There will also be some increases to the other fees which mainly affect new school applications. These increases will keep the international division “expense neutral” while continuing to provide training and accreditation services needed by our constituent schools. The full listing of fees can be found on the ASC WASC website in the drop-down menu under “About ACS WASC Accreditation.”

International Training Sessions

Please see the current list below for upcoming training sessions during the latter half of 2019. The training sessions for the first half of 2020 will be posted in our fall newsletter:
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International Staff and Consultants

We have a number of ACS WASC staff and consultants who work with international schools:

David Ottaviano, Director of International Accreditation Services

David Ottaviano joined ACS WASC in July 2017 as the director of international accreditation services. Dr. Ottaviano most recently served as the head of GEMS International School – Al Khail in Dubai. He has extensive experience in school administration and ACS WASC. His tenure as a school head includes ten years as a public school superintendent in New Jersey and 21 years as the head of private, international schools in Serbia, Italy, Japan, Romania, and the UAE. Dr. Ottaviano has served as president of IB North Asia, vice president of East Asia Region Council of International Schools (EARCOS), and chairman of Central and Eastern Schools Association (CEESA). Dr. Ottaviano received a B.A. from Grove City College in Psychology, an M.A. in School Psychology from Montclair State University, and an Ed.D. from Fairleigh Dickinson University in
Educational Leadership and Psychology.

Stephen Massiah, International Consultant

Stephen (Steve) Massiah joined ACS WASC in July 2017 as an international consultant working with schools throughout Asia. He is based out of Bangkok, Thailand. Steve comes to ACS 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 joined the ACS WASC team as a part-time international consultant in July 2017. 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.

What's on the horizon for the fall newsletter?

In our next newsletter we will include the following:

  • Information about the network being created for self-study coordinators facilitated by our consultants.

  • Refinement of some of the WASC criteria areas such as digital citizenship, social-emotional concepts, and boarding.

  • Updates on the initial visit and the substantive change processes.

Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Dr. Marilyn S. George, Executive Vice President
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