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Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC

ACS WASC accredits K-12 schools and non-degree granting postsecondary institutions

           
 
About WASC Accreditation: ACS WASC Criteria 
 

The criteria are research-based guidelines of systemic school improvement that address accreditation's central tenet: a school operates with a clear understanding of its purpose.

The criteria were developed with the assistance of numerous practicing educational leaders and theorists. The objective was to develop criteria that brought attention to concepts and factors that differentiate between effective and ineffective schools.

Since most formal education occurs in an institutional setting, factors that impact institutional effectiveness were considered along with curriculum, instructional strategies and assessment. The criteria have been adapted for various joint accreditation processes.

Currently, the website has available the basic WASC criteria, the WASC/CDE (California Department of Education) criteria and WASC/Hawaii Department of Education criteria. These criteria address the same concepts but have been edited and reorganized based on the needs of the constituencies.

The criteria of other association with whom WASC collaborates can be found on their respective websites

(See Ongoing Process: Private and Ongoing Process: International)

 
  
  WASC Focus on Learning Schoolwide Criteria
The basic WASC criteria are organized by the following categories:
  1. Organization for Student Learning
  2. Curriculum and Instruction
  3. Support for Student Personal and Academic Growth
  4. Resource Management and Development
  
A. ORGANIZATION FOR STUDENT LEARNING
 
SCHOOL PURPOSE 1. The school has established a clear statement of purpose that reflects the beliefs and philosophy of the institution. The purpose is defined further by adopted expected schoolwide learning results that form the basis of the educational program for every student.
GOVERNANCE 2. The governing authority (a) adopts policies that are consistent with the school purpose and support the achievement of the expected schoolwide learning results for the school, (b) delegates implementation of these policies to the professional staff and (c) monitors results.
SCHOOL LEADERSHIP 3. The school leadership (1) makes decisions to facilitate actions that focus the energies of the school on student achievement of the expected schoolwide learning results, (2) empowers the staff and (3) encourages commitment, participation and shared accountability for student learning.
STAFF 4. The school leadership and staff are qualified for their assigned responsibilities, are committed to the school’s purpose and engage in ongoing professional development that promotes student learning.
SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT 5. The school has a safe, healthy, nurturing environment that reflects the school’s purpose and is characterized by respect for differences, trust, caring, professionalism support, and high expectations for each student.
REPORTING STUDENT PROGRESS 6. The school leadership and staff assess student progress toward accomplishing the expected schoolwide learning results and report student progress to the rest of the school community.
SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PROCESS 7. The school leadership facilitates school improvement which (a) is driven by plans of action that will enhance quality learning for all students (b) has school community support and involvement, (c) effectively guides the work of the school, and (d) provides for accountability through monitoring of the schoolwide action plan.
  
B. CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION
 
WHAT STUDENTS LEARN 1. The school provides a challenging, coherent and relevant curriculum for each student that fulfills the school’s purpose and results in student achievement of the expected schoolwide learning results through successful completion of any course of study offered.
HOW STUDENTS LEARN 2. The professional staff (a) uses research based knowledge about teaching and learning; and (b) designs and implements a variety of learning experiences that actively engage students at a high level of learning consistent with the school’s purpose and expected schoolwide learning results.
HOW ASSESSMENT IS USED 3. Teacher and student uses of assessment are frequent and integrated into the teaching/learning process. The assessment results are the basis for (a) measurement of each student’s progress toward the expected schoolwide learning results, (b) regular evaluations and improvement of curriculum and instruction, and (c) allocation of resources.
  
C. SUPPORT FOR STUDENT PERSONAL AND ACADEMIC GROWTH
 
STUDENT CONNECTEDNESS 1. Students are connected to a system of support services, activities and opportunities at the school and within the community that meet the challenges of the curricular and co-curricular program in order to achieve the expected schoolwide learning results.
PARENT / COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT 2. The school leadership employs a wide range of strategies to ensure that parental and community involvement is integral to the school’s established support system for students.
  
D. RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT
 
RESOURCES 1. The resources available to the school are sufficient to sustain the school program and are effectively used to carry out the school’s purpose and student achievement of the expected schoolwide learning results.
RESOURCE PLANNING 2. The governing authority and the school leadership executes responsible resource planning for the future.
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  WASC/CDE Focus on Learning Schoolwide Criteria
The WASC/CDE criteria area are organized into five categories:
  1. Organization: Vision and Purpose, Governance, Leadership and Staff, and Resources
  2. Standards-based Student Learning: Curriculum
  3. Standards-based Student Learning: Instruction
  4. Standards-based Student Learning: Assessment and Accountability
  5. Support for Student Personal and Academic Growth
 
A. ORGANIZATION
VISION AND PURPOSE 1. The school has a clearly stated vision or purpose based on its student needs, current educational research and the belief that all students can achieve at high academic levels. Supported by the governing board and the central administration, the school's purpose is defined further by expected schoolwide learning results and the academic standards.
GOVERNANCE 2. The governing board (a) has policies and bylaws that are aligned with the school's purpose and support the achievement of the expected schoolwide learning results and academic standards based on data-driven instructional decisions for the school; (b) delegates implementation of these policies to the professional staff; and (c) monitors results regularly and approves the single schoolwide action plan and its relationship to the Local Educational Agency (LEA) plan.
LEADERSHIP AND STAFF 3. Based on student achievement data, the school leadership and staff make decisions and initiate activities that focus on all students achieving the expected schoolwide learning results and academic standards. The school leadership and staff annually monitor and refine the single schoolwide action plan based on analysis of data to ensure alignment with student needs.
  4. A qualified staff facilitates achievement of the academic standards and the expected schoolwide learning results through a system of preparation, induction, and ongoing professional development.
  5. Leadership and staff are involved in ongoing research or data-based correlated professional development that focuses on identified student learning needs.
RESOURCES 6. The human, material, physical, and financial resources are sufficient and utilized effectively and appropriately in accordance with the legal intent of the program(s) to support students in accomplishing the academic standards and the expected schoolwide learning results.
  7. The governing authority and the school leadership execute responsible resource planning for the future. The school is fiscally solvent and uses sound and ethical accounting practices (budgeting/monitoring, internal controls, audits, fiscal health and reporting). [FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS ONLY]
  8. The school has developed policies, procedures, and internal controls for managing the financial operations that meet state laws, generally accepted practices, and ethical standards. [FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS ONLY]
 
B. STANDARDS-BASED STUDENT LEARNING:     CURRICULUM
  1. All students participate in a rigorous, relevant, and coherent standards-based curriculum that supports the achievement of the academic standards and the expected schoolwide learning results. Through standards-based learning (i.e., what is taught and how it is taught), the expected schoolwide learning results are accomplished.
  2. All students have access to the school’s entire program and assistance with a personal learning plan to prepare them for the pursuit of their academic, personal and school-to-career goals.
  3. Upon completion of the high school program, students will be able to meet all the requirements of graduation.
 
C. STANDARDS-BASED STUDENT LEARNING:     INSTRUCTION
  1. To achieve the academic standards and the expected schoolwide learning results, all students are involved in challenging learning experiences.
  2. All teachers use a variety of strategies and resources, including technology and experiences beyond the textbook and the classroom, that actively engage students, emphasize higher order thinking skills, and help them succeed at high levels.
  
D. STANDARDS-BASED STUDENT LEARNING:     ASSESSMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY
  1. The school uses a professionally acceptable assessment process to collect, disaggregate, analyze and report student performance data to the parents and other shareholders of the community.
  2. Teachers employ a variety of assessment strategies to evaluate student learning. Students and teachers use these findings to modify the teaching/learning process for the enhancement of the educational progress of every student.
  3. The school with the support of the district and community has an assessment and monitoring system to determine student progress toward achievement of the academic standards and the expected schoolwide learning results.
  4. The assessment of student achievement in relation to the academic standards and the expected schoolwide learning results drives the school's program, its regular evaluation and improvement, and the allocation and usage of resources.
 
E. SCHOOL CULTURE AND SUPPORT FOR STUDENT PERSONAL AND ACADEMIC GROWTH
  1. The school leadership employs a wide range of strategies to encourage parental and community involvement, especially with the teaching/learning process.
  2. The school is a) a safe, clean, and orderly place that nurtures learning and b) has a culture that is characterized by trust, professionalism, high expectations for all students, and a focus on continuous school improvement.
  3. All students receive appropriate support along with an individualized learning plan to help ensure academic success.
  4. Students have access to a system of personal support services, activities and opportunities at the school and within the community.
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  WASC/Hawaii Department of Education

The WASC/Hawaii Department of Education criteria are also organized into five categories:

  1. Organization: Vision and Mission (Purpose); School Culture; Governance, Leadership, and Resources
  2. Standards-based Student Learning: Curriculum (What are students learning?)
  3. Standards-based Student Learning: Instruction (How are students learning?)
  4. Standards-based Student Learning: Assessment and Accountability (How is student assessment used?)
  5. Quality Student Support for Student Personal and Academic Growth
 
A. ORGANIZATION
VISION AND MISSION (PURPOSE) 1. The school has a clearly stated vision and mission (purpose) based on student needs, current educational research and the belief that all students can achieve at high academic levels. Supported by the governing board and the state and complex area administrations, the school's purpose is further defined by General Learner Outcomes, Hawaii Content and Performance Standards, and the DOE Strategic Plan.
SCHOOL CULTURE 2. The school leadership employs a wide range of strategies to encourage parental and community involvement, especially with the teaching/learning process.
  3. The school is a safe, clean, healthy, orderly place that nurtures learning and has a culture that is characterized by trust, caring, professionalism, high expectations for all students, and a focus on continuous school improvement.
GOVERNANCE, LEADERSHIP, AND STAFF 4. The governing authority (a) has policies and procedures that are aligned with the school's purpose and support the achievement of the General Learner Outcomes and Hawaii Content and Performance Standards; (b) delegates implementation of these policies and procedures to the professional staff; and (c) approves and monitors the three-year School Strategic Plan and Academic and Financial Plan.
  5. The school leadership: (a) empowers the staff and (b) encourages commitment, participation and shared accountability for student learning.
6. Based on student achievement data, the school leadership and staff make decisions and initiate activities that focus on all students achieving the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards and General Learner Outcomes. The school leadership and staff annually monitor and refine the School Strategic Plan and the Academic and Financial Plan based on the analysis of data to ensure alignment with student needs.
  7. A qualified staff facilitates achievement of the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards and the General Learner Outcomes through a system of preparation, induction, and ongoing professional development.
  8. Leadership and staff are involved in ongoing research or data-based correlated professional development that focuses on identified student learning needs.
RESOURCES 9. The human, material, physical, and financial resources are sufficient and utilized effectively and appropriately in the School Strategic Plan and annual Academic and Financial Plan in accordance with the legal intent of the program(s) to support students in accomplishing the Hawaii Content and Performance and the General Learner Outcomes.
 
 
B. STANDARDS-BASED STUDENT LEARNING: CURRICULUM (WHAT ARE STUDENTS LEARNING?)
  1. All students participate in a rigorous, relevant, and coherent standards-based curriculum that supports student achievement of the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards and the General Learner Outcomes through successful completion of any courses of study offered.
  2. All students have equal access to the school's entire program and assistance with a personalized education plan to prepare for the pursuit of academic, individual and school-to-career goals.
  3. Students shall meet all the requirements for graduation upon completion of the high school program.
 
C. STANDARDS-BASED STUDENT LEARNING: INSTRUCTION (HOW ARE STUDENTS LEARNING?)
  1. To achieve the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards and the General Learner Outcomes, all students are involved in challenging learning experiences.
  2. All teachers use a variety of standards-based strategies and resources, including technology and experiences beyond the textbook and the classroom, that actively engage students, emphasize higher order thinking skills, and help students achieve proficiency on the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards.
 
D. STANDARDS-BASED STUDENT LEARNING: ASSESSMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY (HOW IS STUDENTS ASSESSMENT USED?)
  1. The school uses a professionally acceptable assessment process to collect, disaggregate, analyze and report student performance data to the students, parents and other shareholders in the community.
  2. Teachers employ a variety of formative and summative assessments, including student self-assessments, to evaluate student learning. Students and teachers use these findings to differentiate the teaching/learning process for the enhancement of the educational progress of every student.
  3. The school with the support of the state, complex area and community has an assessment and monitoring system to determine student progress toward achievement of the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards and General Learner Outcomes.
  4. The assessment results are the basis for regular evaluation and improvement of curriculum and instruction and the allocation and usage of resources.
 
E. QUALITY STUDENT SUPPORT FOR STUDENT PERSONAL AND ACADEMIC GROWTH
  1. All students receive appropriate support along with a personalized education plan to help ensure academic success.
  2. Students have access to a system of personal support services, curricular and co-curricular activities and opportunities at the school and within the community to learn to respect self and others, and to develop civic responsibility.
 
   
           
   
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