WASC Words

— Fall 2019 —

Welcome to the First Digital Edition of WASC Words

Welcome to the first publication of our new electronic newsletter, WASC Words. We hope you find the digital format to be as useful and interesting as our print version. Now that we have gone digital -- what was once an annual hard copy newsletter will become a biannual digital production. Enjoy!

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In this Issue

  • Thoughts from the Chair
  • President's Update
  • Streamline! Streamline! Streamline!
  • California's CDE System of Support
  • Measuring Schoolwide Learner Outcomes
  • Supporting Schools through our Coordinators and Directors
  • Professional Development in the Age of Social Media
  • 2018-2019 WASC Membership, Accreditation Actions, and Visiting Committee Statistics
  • ACS WASC Commission
  • WASC Staff

Thoughts from the Chair

Gregory Franklin | Chairperson, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

We are a diverse group. We teach students from age three to adult. We work in public, charter, private, and religious schools. We serve throughout California, Hawaii, and Asia and implement a wide range of programs. Yet, we are unified through our commitment to high standards, continuous growth, and a peer-review accountability process. We are unified through WASC. I am proud to be affiliated with all of you through this important process of reflection, review and action. Serving on visiting committees has been a tremendous source of growth as I learn from school teams and visiting committee members alike. I have seen schools transform through the rigorous application of the WASC process and better serve their students as a result. I am honored to be a Commissioner and humbled to serve as the Commission's Chair.

I want to recognize the outstanding staff that serve our membership from the WASC office in Burlingame and throughout the world. They are educational leaders and widely recognized as experts in accreditation and school improvement. Together — member schools, visiting committee members, and the WASC staff — will maintain our focus on serving the students in our schools to improve their lives and our communities. Go WASC!

President's Update

Barry R. Groves | President, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

Thank you to the almost 4,000 members who served on visiting teams during the 2018–19 school year. The core of our WASC process is the peer review and we rely on visiting commitee members to serve on our teams. As I hear over and over again, “Serving on a WASC visiting committee is excellent professional development.” To make serving on a committee easier, we are working to make visit information and materials more accessible to team members.

Right now, our website and information portal contain a plethora of information, actually too much information and it can be difficult to find required items. So, this spring we are rolling out a new technology platform with a cleaner more easily navigable website and school and member portals. This new platform, website, and portals should make all of our lives easier.

Again, thank you all for being part of the WASC team. Without the support of our members we could not provide our quality accreditation services.

Streamline! Streamline! Streamline!

Marilyn S. George | Executive Vice President, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

The overarching basic concepts that drive the WASC Focus on Learning accreditation process support the needed refinements in the WASC self-study and visiting committee report process. Questions such as the following have arisen: What are the most important points that need to be addressed based on the research-based criteria? How can this be accomplished by the schools and visiting committees?

One of the areas of challenge has been the writing of a quality, analytical, succinct visiting committee report. This year WASC is piloting streamlined approaches for self-study visits that include the integration of the documentation/justification ratings with the visiting committee report. The purpose of this is to ensure transparency and allow greater alignment with findings and the overall rating and rationale.

WASC is also working to refine its self-study protocols to examine indicators more holistically with one overarching prompt: Evaluate the school’s effectiveness in addressing the criterion and each of the indicators; include supporting evidence. WASC found that there needs to be a different approach to ensure that the indicators support the key ideas inherent in the criterion rather than treat each indicator separately.

Look for further refinements throughout processes that will also be supported by our new technology platform and school and member portals set to be released at the end of the current school year.

California's CDE System of Support

Nancy Brownell | Director, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

California's system of support is one of the central components of California’s public schools accountability and continuous improvement system. The overarching goal of the system is to help local districts and their schools meet the needs of each student they serve, with a focus on building local capacity to sustain improvement over time and to effectively address disparities in opportunities and outcomes for students. The developing system of support is intended to reduce redundancy and integrate guidance and resources across state and federal programs, and to support districts to meet identified student needs through the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) process. Similar to multi-tiered systems of support for students, California’s system provides differentiated support to districts and schools depending on their results on the CA School Dashboard. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires state educational agencies to determine school eligibility for comprehensive support and improvement (CSI). Districts with schools that meet the criteria for CSI must partner with stakeholders to locally develop and implement a plan to improve student outcomes. Schools and districts identified for CSI under ESSA may work with ACS WASC to align their cycle of accreditation with additional support for the identified areas of need such as high school graduation rate and other Dashboard indicators.

The ACS WASC Support Process is integral to a school’s perpetual cycle of assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring, and reassessment based upon student needs, progress and outcomes. This cyclical process is intended to help educators and staff in the system — from a class to a school district or even a network of districts — to set goals, identify ways to improve, and evaluate changes and results. The goal of ACS WASC support is to help school and district teams identify and focus on what matters most for improvement.

Measuring Schoolwide Learner Outcomes

Nadine Elwood | Coordinator, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

Does your school need to measure their Schoolwide Learner Outcomes?

Of course, Schoolwide Learner Outcomes occur throughout the day, in all of our classrooms. An idea for your school is to have a “SLO Day.” Let’s choose a day in two weeks. Ask the teachers to jot down their ideas every time they address one of the Schoolwide Learner Outcomes in their classroom. Other staff members can participate too. These can be moments for the staff member or moments observed in which our students address a Schoolwide Learner Outcome.

At the end of the day, the staff members compile their “findings” and put them down on a Google form that has been sent out. All the data comes back in one document…ready for evaluation as to the accomplishment of your Schoolwide Learner Outcomes.

A great colleague of mine also suggested that the students could “tweet” back to a number (that is not used for responding) when the student thought they were addressing a Schoolwide Learner Outcome. I saw this method used in Sweetwater Union High School District for school activities. The principal would tweet out to parents and students… “I’m here at the basketball game, come and join us!”

Supporting Schools through our Coordinators and Directors

Elizabeth Oberreiter | Director, Southern California Office, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

If each of us were to look at how educators supported schools, we often think of bringing in speakers, adding Professional Development to our calendars, and or sending school staff to conferences. As these may add benefit to individuals, it may not add schoolwide support. ACS WASC has created a new way of supporting schools within our organization. Our coordinators and directors are now a direct link to schools. We are available to assist schools throughout the WASC process and beyond. If a school is in need of assistance while they are preparing for a WASC visit, our team is available to guide them and answer any questions as they come up. Our team is also available to assist new and seasoned chairs while they prepare for a visit.

Supporting schools is at the heart of WASC accreditation and as we support schools we are supporting every student in their academic journey and beyond. Our team would like to support all of you in your efforts and please feel free to reach out. If you have any questions please contact ACS WASC and our two Directors, Nancy Brownell and Elizabeth Oberreiter.

Professional Development in the Age of Social Media

Wendy Parcel | Coordinator, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

When visiting and talking to schools, one subject brought up often is the limited budget and time that schools have for professional development. Schools want to make the most of the time they have together as a faculty, and helping teachers see they can grow professionally in their field using social media apps is one way to find additional time for PD. Coupled with the fact that in small schools often there are few faculty members, the one English or math teacher on the campus also likely has no one to discuss subject matter with on a regular basis. In the last several years many school staff members have turned to social media tools to help stay current in their field and to build a network of educators all across the world. Reading educational blogs using a feed reader such as Feedly lets you pick the time to sit down and read while keeping your email inbox from becoming overloaded with articles. Listening to educational podcasts using apps such as Spotify or Apple Podcasts is great for auditory learner and long drives, but perhaps the tool that allows for the greatest amount of collaboration is Twitter.

Many educators find Twitter useful to build their professional/personal learning networks (PLNs). ISTE’s short article provides an introduction and also lists some popular educational (ed) chats, while in this article two teachers talk about building their PLNs using Twitter and Twitter chats. A full list of educational twitter chats is found on the EduChatCalendar. Don’t forget to check to see if your school and/or district has a Twitter feed you can follow or hosts a Twitter chat you can participate in. Interested in starting a Twitter chat at your school or district, TCEA’s article has all the information you need to get started. Finally, don’t forget to follow @ACSWASC on Twitter.

2018-2019 WASC Membership, Accreditation Actions, and Visiting Committee Statistics

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ACS WASC Commission

The Commission consists of up to thirty-three persons selected by the Commission’s Nomination Review Committee from candidates nominated by member organizations or the Commission. The Commission convenes three times a year.

ACS WASC Commissioners
(listed by the organizations they represent)

Gregory Franklin, Chairperson
David Gaudi, Vice Chairperson

Association of California School Administrators
Grant Bennett
Ron Carruth, Ed.D.
Odie J. Douglas, Ed.D.
Juan A. Flecha
Gregory Franklin, Ed.D.
Diana Walsh-Reuss, Ed.D.
Katherine Thorossian, Ed.D.

Association of Christian Schools International
Lee Duncan, Ed.D.

California Association of Independent Schools
Doreen Oleson, Ed.D.

California Association of Private School Organizations
Marsha Serafin, Ed.D.

California Congress of Parents and Teachers, Inc. (PTA)
Dianna MacDonald

California Department of Education

California Federation of Teachers
Samantha Benish

California School Boards Association
Emma Turner, Ph.D.

California Teachers Association
Danny Blas

Charter Schools
Laura Herman, Ed.D.

East Asia Regional Council of Schools
Stephen Cathers

Hawaii Association of Independent Schools
David Gaudi, Ed.D.
Melissa Handy

Hawaii Government Employees’ Association
Derek Minakami

Hawaii State Department of Education
Andrea Fukumoto
Rodney Luke

National Lutheran School Accreditation
Kristie Flohra

Pacific Islands
Jon Fernandez

Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Berit von Pohle, Ed.D.

Postsecondary Education
Matthew Russo, Ed.D.

Public Members
Mitchell D'Olier
Joe Mitchner

Western Catholic Educational Association
Michael Alvarez
Nancy Coonis
Linda Norman, Ed.D,
Jonathan Schild, Ed.D.

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2019 ACS WASC Commission

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ACS WASC Burlingame Staff

Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges