ACS WASC Overview
The Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC), a world-renowned accrediting association and one of the six regional accrediting agencies in the United States, works closely with the Office of Overseas Schools under the U.S. Department of State. ACS WASC provides assistance to schools worldwide, especially in California, Hawaii, Guam, Asia, the Pacific Region, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.
The Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC, extends its services to over 5,200 public, independent, church-related, and proprietary pre-K–12 and adult schools, works with 20 associations in joint accreditation processes, and collaborates with other organizations such as the California Department of Education (CDE). CDE has collaborated with ACS WASC in order to align the accreditation process with the planning process for California public schools required by state and federal statutes in the School Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) and the Local Control Accountability Plan; the ACS WASC/CDE Focus on Learning (FOL) Joint Process Guide is the collaborative process that helps schools engage in continuous school improvement that focuses on high-quality learning and well-being for all students. Other examples of partnership include working with the International Baccalaureate, the Council of International Schools; the Hawaii Department of Education, and other educational organizations. ACS WASC also collaborates with the University of California regarding the a-g course requirements.
The ACS WASC Commission is composed of 35 representatives from the educational organizations that it serves; this includes representatives from the Association of California School Administrators, Association of Christian Schools International, California Department of Education, California School Boards Association, California Charter Schools, California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, East Asia Regional Council of Schools, Hawaii State Department of Education, National Lutheran School Accreditation, Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and the Western Catholic Educational Association.
ACS WASC Mission
The ACS WASC mission is the following: 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. This mission is built upon these beliefs: 1) a school’s goal is successful student learning; 2) each school has a clear purpose and schoolwide learner outcomes; and (3) for ongoing school improvement, each school engages in collaborative self-reflection and analysis to assess progress in achieving its mission, vision, and schoolwide learner outcomes.
Accreditation is integral to a school’s perpetual cycle of assessment, designing and planning, implementation, monitoring, and reassessment based upon student achievement. It fosters excellence in elementary, secondary, adult, and postsecondary education by encouraging school improvement through a process of continuing evaluation and to recognize, by accreditation, schools that meet an acceptable level of quality in accordance with established research-based criteria. In addition to its official title, WASC also means We Are Student-Centered.