DOWNEY − Both Downey and Warren high schools have received the highest term of accreditation possible by the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC), the Downey Unified School District announced this week. Both comprehensive high schools were awarded Six-Year Accreditation Status, illustrating “compelling evidence that there is little, if any, additional support needed for high-quality student learning.”
The accreditation status is based on a four-day on-site visit by an eight-member WASC committee and a self-study report provided by the high schools.
WASC commissioners determined that both schools continue to improve student achievement relative to the schoolwide learner outcomes and the academic standards; have made appropriate progress on the implementation of the schoolwide action plan; and have addressed areas for follow-up through the schoolwide action plan.
“The Commission looks forward to Downey High School’s and Warren High School’s anticipated success and continued improvement in keeping with ACS WASC’s pursuit of excellence in elementary, secondary and adult education,” said Valene Staley, a commission member and chairperson of the Association of California School Administrators.
The WASC accreditation process is a perpetual cycle of assessment, planning, implementing, monitoring and reassessment (self-study, visit and follow-up).
During the 2013-14 school year, Downey and Warren high schools had to clarify or redefine their expected student learner outcomes and then begin the formal self-study process which would assess the actual student program with respect to the specific criteria.
The self-study process culminates in the development of the high schools’ three- to five-year schoolwide action plan.
The original purpose of accreditation int he United States was designed to encourage the standardization of secondary school programs, primarily to ensure for the benefit of colleges and universities that graduating students had mastered a particular body of knowledge.
However, today the process developed by the ACS WASC involves a dual purpose that perseveres the expectation that schools “must be worthy of the trust placed in them” to provide high quality learning opportunities, but with the added requirement that they demonstrate continual self-improvement.
“By receiving the highest possible accreditation, it is evident that both schools go above and beyond in regard to possessing these criteria,” DUSD officials said in a news release.
The ACS WASC is one of six regional accrediting associations in the United States. The commission provides assistance to schools located in California, Hawaii, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and East Asia.
Published: May 7, 2015 - Volume 14 - Issue 04