WASC Words

— Spring 2021 —

In this Issue

  • Thoughts from the Chair
  • President's Update
  • WASC Focus on Learning: A Coherent, Continuous Improvement Process
  • Reflections
  • Professional Development Credits for Visiting Committee Training/Participation
  • Congratulations: 2020 Initial Accreditation and Candidate Schools and SEPs
  • 2019-2020 WASC Membership, Accreditation Actions, and Visiting Committee Statistics
  • ACS WASC Commission
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Thoughts from the Chair

Gregory Franklin | Chairperson, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

It has been an honor to serve on the Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC Commission for the last six years. WASC is an outstanding organization that maintains its focus on student achievement and well being in its member schools. During the pandemic the organization — led by Dr. Barry Groves and the staff — has pivoted to serve schools safely with patience and grace. WASC also recognizes its responsibility and opportunity to contribute to the important effort to ensure equity and justice for all students. I am very proud of the way WASC has responded during these historic times and I look forward to supporting the work at WASC and its member schools around the world.

President's Update

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

Today I walked through our empty offices in Burlingame overlooking SFO and saw desk calendars torn off to March 16, 2020. That was the last time our WASCateer employees were in the office, not working remotely. With the onset of COVID, we postponed over 500 spring visits in 2020. Our accreditation visits quickly turned to virtual visits for the fall. Pulling together new procedures for these visits, our visiting committee members stepped up to serve on these virtual visits. Since August 2020, we have conducted over 600 virtual visits so far this academic year. I want to send out a big thank you to staff and visiting committee members who have assisted in making these visits happen during this difficult COVID year. You are the BEST!

WASC Focus on Learning: A Coherent, Continuous Improvement Process

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

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Focus on Learning accreditation process has continued to support schools in the perpetual cycle of reflection, assessment, designing and planning, implementing, monitoring, and reassessment. The WASC accreditation process celebrates and confirms what schools have accomplished to support student achievement and important next steps. Schools have focused on the current and future needs of students as they modify and adapt to serve the needs of all. The essential questions and tools of the Focus on Learning process empower leadership and stakeholders to address the critical questions:

How well are all students learning and achieving?

Is the school doing everything possible to support high achievement and well-being for all students through a continuous improvement process?

As schools have evaluated and reflected on what exists and its effectiveness, even during these challenging times, they have determined the areas to be changed based on the analysis of multiple types of evidence and the impact on student learning, especially the identified major student learner needs. Therefore, school leadership engages academic and support staff, students, parents, and other stakeholders in the review of progress, and lack thereof, to determine the 'Now What'? The resulting schoolwide action plan that is owned by all stakeholders provides the roadmap for moving forward. With the student and school needs that must be addressed, WASC is re-emphasizing the need for succinct analytical summaries of progress in the WASC self-study, mid-cycle, progress, probationary, and visiting committee reports. What are the school’s most important findings and what must be modified and implemented to address current and future learning needs of students and supporting school needs?

The reflections from directors and coordinators below reinforce quality and succinct analytical findings and summaries to support all schools in the never-ending journey of continuous improvement within the WASC accreditation process.


Reflections: Director and Coordinator School and Visiting Committee Support

Elizabeth Oberreiter | Director, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

In spring 2020 WASC coordinators and directors began to work on a new protocol to work directly with chairs and schools for mid-cycle visits. Coordinators and directors have been meeting with chairs and schools in order to create a mid-cycle visit that is succinct, focused, and not become a mini self-study visit or report. ... READ MORE

Reflections: Effective Mid-cycle and Other Progress Reports

Nancy Brownell | Director, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

WASC mid-cycle and other progress reports and visits are intended to provide schools with time to assess their progress on areas for growth and goals toward continuous improvement through a clear and succinct analysis. As such, the progress report needs to be ... READ MORE

Reflections: Virtual Accreditation Visits

Brian Jensen | Coordinator, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, WASC, just like schools, has been forced to complete all visits virtually. To support upcoming chairs and schools on virtual visits, previous chairs have provided some key advice to help facilitate smooth and effective virtual visits. ... READ MORE

Reflections: Progress Report Review

Joanne Cacicedo | Coordinator, Northern California, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

Reading and reviewing candidate, mid-cycle, and progress reports enables WASC to note the progress a school is experiencing since its previous accreditation visit. Often times these reports become mini-self-studies that include historical school background, pictures of the facility, the entire staff, and numerous graphs which expand the ... READ MORE

Reflections: Analytical Writing

Wendy Parcel | Coordinator, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

Does your school have a self-study soon and you are wondering how to write a report that will not overwhelm a visiting team with its length? Or perhaps you are scheduled to chair a self-study visit in the future and you are wondering how to keep your team’s report to no longer than 30 pages. The key is to focus on analytical writing. ... READ MORE

Reflections: Tips for Keeping Self-Study Reports to 100 Pages or Less

Brigitte Sarraf | Coordinator, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

Is this even possible, you might ask, considering that most self-study reports run anywhere from 200 to 850 pages! The question is, “what fills those pages”? Is it 30 pages of pictures? 50 pages of charts and graphs? 200 pages of appendices? 40 pages of blank and wasted space? Or the countless redundancies that fill up so ... READ MORE

Reflections: Common Elements within the Self-Study and Mid-Cycle Processes

Nadine Elwood | Coordinator, Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

Key elements or tasks of the self-study process are also integral to the mid-cycle analysis of progress on the school’s implementation of the schoolwide action plan. The mid-cycle report is an opportunity for the school to celebrate all that has been accomplished since the last self-study. Below are the comparative elements that are ... READ MORE

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Upcoming Events

Professional Development Units for Visiting Committee Training/Participation

Through Teachers College of San Joaquin (TCSJ), accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, ACS WASC is offering two professional development units for a course that prepares educators to serve as WASC accreditation visiting committee members to facilitate continuous school improvement. The primary learning outcomes are the following:

Participants will understand:

  • The ACS WASC Accreditation Cycle of Continuous Improvement based on the WASC Guiding Principles
  • The specific ACS WASC Focus on Learning process and its relationship to accountability and continuous improvement
  • The roles/responsibilities of a visiting committee member: Previsit Preparation, During the Visit
  • ACS WASC Focus on Learning criteria/indicators
  • The importance of understanding the school’s culture, the use of multiple types of data/evidence and the schoolwide action plan
  • How to determine the accreditation status.

Click here for additional information.
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Accreditation Statistics

Congratulations: 2020 Initial Accreditation and Candidate Schools and SEPs

The Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC would like to extend a warm welcome to the schools and Supplementary Education Programs (SEPs) that received initial accreditation and candidacy in 2020.

Initial Accreditation

  • Click here to see the list of schools and SEPs the were granted initial accreditation in 2020.


  • Click here to see the list of schools and SEPs that were granted candidacy in 2020.

2019-2020 WASC Membership, Accreditation Actions, and Visiting Committee Statistics

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ACS WASC Commission

The Commission consists of up to thirty-five 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
Michael Collins

Toby Elmore

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

California Department of Education
Shanine Coats
Cindy Kazanis

California Federation of Teachers
Andrew Rodriguez

California School Boards Association
Emma Turner, Ph.D.

California Teachers Association
Danny Blas

Charter Schools
Jason Sample
David Sciarretta, Ed.D.

East Asia Regional Council of Schools
Kevin Baker, Ph.D.

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

Hawaii Government Employees’ Association
Derek Minakami

Hawaii State Department of Education
Andrea Fukumoto
Rodney Luke

Hawaii State Teachers Association
Kawena Martinez

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
Laura Stefanski

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

2019 ACS WASC Commission

Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges