Accrediting Commission for Schools

Honoring the Past.
Embracing the Future.

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ACS WASC has grown from a small number of schools in 1962 to what now exceeds 5,500 institutions for learning all over the globe. From its notable beginnings, through many challenges and countless changes on the way to becoming a world-renowned accreditation organization, WASC has charted a fascinating journey. Along the way, our organization has thrived on diverse perspectives, continuously improving, and enriching the WASC experience.

People of vision have always played instrumental roles in our progress. We are deeply grateful to all those who have served on the Commission, volunteers who have chaired and served on visiting committees, staff who work tirelessly in the offices, and the schools who have ultimately ensured through their dedicated efforts that individual school self-studies effectively provide guidance and direction for improving the quality of our service to the students of the ACS WASC region.

Making a Difference Globally for 60 Years

Jakarta Intercultural School

At JIS, WASC accreditation has always been a valuable process that benefits our entire school community. Not only do we know that WASC is the "gold standard" for accreditation internationally and in the United States, but it also serves to support the growth of schools over time. For nearly two years we engaged in numerous conversations with faculty, staff, students, parents, and board members to hear what they believe our strengths to be and what areas we wish to grow in. Great schools desire community discourse and WASC is a great vehicle to facilitate these conversations. The consultants who work within the accreditation body provide useful feedback throughout the process and contribute to strengthening our school community. As a school filled with strong educators, we truly enjoy the self-reflection that we get to do and the feedback we receive. The opportunity to speak about our mission, vision, student learning results, and all aspects of our school to each other, to visiting accreditors, and within our community is invaluable. It helps us set our goals and direction for the future. How we grow, enhance, and develop our programs stem from the accreditation process. The final accreditation report serves as an anchor for our next steps and future path. I believe that we are such a strong school because we always take this process seriously and enjoy its reflective nature of it. We are deeply appreciative of the partnership that the WASC organization gives international schools.

International School Manila

All schools have histories, but International School Manila has more than most. Founded in 1920 as the American School Manila, it survived imminent bankruptcy, numerous changes of location and three years in an internment camp during the occupation of the Philippines before it emerged into the sunlight of the post-War years with a country ready for independence and a purpose-built school in the offing. It was the first international school to receive funding from the State Department, the first school to drop “American” and replace it with “International.” the first school in Asia to offer the IB Diploma, and, significantly, in 1970, the first overseas school to receive the stamp of approval from a US accrediting agency - WASC. Why was this significant? I think that, like many schools, its first decades were characterized by a kind of lurching from financial crisis to financial crisis, and the trauma of the internment camp and the rebuilding of Manila after the siege to liberate it sapped much of its energy and direction other than to survive. Beginning in the sixties with the construction of a new school (we built another one in 2002!), there seemed to be the first indications of purposeful, strategic thinking: the State Department grant, the change of name, taking on the IB Diploma and accreditation are signs of a school that wants to do better, that wants to improve, that wants to thrive rather than merely survive. And that, of course, is what WASC is all about. We have been on a fifty-year journey with our accrediting agency. It isn’t always a comfortable ride, because we are pushed and prodded and made to reflect and reevaluate - and that is what a good accrediting agency does for schools like ours. ISM will never be a great school - because “GREAT” indicates arriving at one’s destination. Instead, we are happy to be a good school striving to be great, and we are even happier that WASC is our partner in this mission.

Taipei American School

Taipei American School has been proudly accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) for the past six decades. Though the accreditation process is detailed, intense, and rigorous, an examination of every part of school life every few years allows every teacher, every staff member, every parent, student, and friend of TAS to feel very proud of where our school is today. Each accreditation report is a tribute to a community that sets the bar high, holds everyone accountable for results, validates our goal of successful student learning, provides critical assessments when appropriate, and demonstrates gratitude and generosity when deserved. We thank each group of distinguished peer educators and colleagues who are assigned to be at times a guide, at times a critic, and at times a cheerleader for our institution. They examine the institution deeply, and while schools may dread the labor-intensive self-study process, I always find myself looking forward to it as a time of cross-divisional collegiality and bonding over our shared mission, our shared accomplishments, and, yes, even our shared shortcomings. At TAS we have had our share of glowing reports … but we've also had our fair share of less than stellar reports. This, too, is part of the process, and you can't have one without the other. They both give value to the other. Every learning organization has something to learn about themselves - and I am proud that our school goes through this regularly. Accreditation encourages school improvement through a process of continual evaluation, and just like I want my students, parents, and employees to become lifelong learners, as an organization, we, too, need to model lifelong organizational learning. In the important Jewish text, the Pirkei Avot, there is an important lesson that I find myself thinking about more and more in my role as a teacher of teachers. In its essence, it says that all of us need to find ourselves a teacher, in every area of our lives. If we want to grow, we must have more learned-friends to teach us. It is our responsibility as the learner to go out and make, create, and appoint ourselves a teacher who can help us get better. I will say that again. It is the learner's responsibility to find the teacher, not the teacher's responsibility to find learners. To our many WASC visiting groups of friends, I thank you for being our organization's teachers along the way. I am so very glad that we found you through WASC, and that you have been a part of our organization's growth over the past six decades, and counting. We are proud to share and celebrate what WASC also stands for, "We Are Student Centered"!

The International School of Kuala Lumpur

ISKL has been accredited by WASC since 1972. Over the past 50 years, our partnership with WASC was instrumental in helping us identify areas of strengths and areas for improvement. Most importantly, the WASC protocol promoted meaningful school transformation and never felt like an exercise of checking boxes. We certainly benefited from the wealth of wisdom and experience of the WASC leadership team who always worked hard to understand the schools deeply and to help them be the best version of themselves.

WASC Through the Years

#WASC60 School Spotlight

The Winstedt School

“The WASC accreditation process was an incredibly rewarding experience for the entire school community. We are an extremely tight-knit community with students, parents, teachers, therapists, psychologists, counsellors, and administrative staff. Every member of the school community was thrilled to achieve this milestone particularly as we looked to graduate our first cohort of graduates in 2022. We couldn’t be prouder for achieving this milestone as an educational institution that is defying traditional education and, on a mission to transform education for students who learn differently. The accreditation process helped validate our own perceptions of Winstedt as a premier school for students who learn differently in Asia, whilst giving us an opportunity to ensure that we continue to stay true to our mission, yield high quality educational outcomes for our students, and commit to continuous improvement.”

Our History

Educational Revolutions Over the Last 60 Years

Throughout the years, WASC has evolved and grown alongside the world of education. Below are some of the changes WASC has seen in education over the last 60 years.

1965 – The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (also known as Title One) was passed. This law attempted to create equality in primary schools by redistributing funding to schools in lower income areas

1966 – The creation of the school breakfast program. After the creation of this program, qualified students could have a free or low-cost breakfast in school each morning.

1972 – The United States Congress passed Title IX of the Higher Education Act. This act prohibits discrimination against students in federally funded schools on the basis of sex. 

1975 – The Americans with Disabilities Act required free and appropriate education for students with disabilities. Before 1975, students with disabilities were often denied education from public schools. Schools asserted that they did not have resources for these students. 

1983 – A commission of experts published the Nation at Risk report. This report indicated that American schools were failing to adequately prepare students. The report made numerous recommendations for how schools should be teaching students. These recommendations became the first mandated educational standards in the US.


2001 – The No Child Left Behind act attempted to finish what the Nation at Risk standards began. This act created a set of federal grade-appropriate standards for each subject area. Teachers are required to conform their lessons to these standards and prove that their students have mastered indicated concepts through standardized testing.

2009 – The implementation of Common Core sought to fix some of the problems that schools encountered with No Child Left Behind. With Common Core, states are able to set the standards for the skills students should achieve instead of adhering to federal standards. In addition, Common Core doesn’t rely on standardized testing to hold teachers accountable for student performance.

2013 – The Next Generation Science Standards sought to create a set of standards for STEM education in K-12 schools to better prepare students for careers in these fields. The standards were created based on research so that the most relevant skills would be prioritized.

2015 – The Race to the Top initiative provided schools with grant money to help them adopt standards, provide professional development for teachers, and obtain necessary resources to improve their students’ learning.

2015 – The Every Student Succeeds Act law passed in December 2015.  The law replaced its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act, and modified but did not eliminate provisions relating to the periodic standardized tests given to students.

2020 – Schools hastily closed their doors to decrease the spread of COVID-19. As the global pandemic raged on, schools were faced with the challenge of finding ways to educate students from the safety of their own homes. Students and teachers fought through the hurdles of distance learning, developing many new educational methods in the process. All WASC accreditation visits went virtual.

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