WASC Visiting Team to Arrive Monday, March 18

Madeline Williams, Staff Writer

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   On March 18, a team from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is visiting UC High to evaluate the mid-cycle report that was created by the Self Study Coordinator and leadership team at UC High.

    According to Self Study Coordinator Susan Bristol, a school must be accredited for the students’ transcripts to be valid. Schools write Self Study Reports and the WASC teams come out to see if what a school reported is the truth. Bristol explained, “WASC comes to visit all kinds of schools; for example, high schools, charter schools, and colleges. It is broken up into regions, and UC High is part of the western region.”

  Vice Principal Jo McGiln said, “Outside educators will come observe our school and interview students and staff to make sure that our school is updated on improvements and education.”

   “When WASC comes to visit each school has to write a report. The full visit happens every six years if the school is doing what they are supposed to be doing. Fortunately, on the last visit, our school got a very positive review. We got a six-year term,” said Bristol. If the school doesn’t write a report that reflects the truth, or if a school is not doing what the team thinks they should be doing to provide for students and the community, they will get a shorter term. This is to make sure that the school addresses the problems or concerns the team witnessed during their visit.

  According to Bristol, in the past, if a school got a six-year term, a WASC team wouldn’t visit for six years. This is no longer the case. They realized that schools would probably forget about WASC for five years, so even if a school got the best possible term, all schools are now visited at least every three years for one day.

  Principal Jeff Olivero explained, “A six-year visit is much more involved and it is what we had three years ago versus what we’re having coming up in March, which is only a one day visit. Both evaluations require a report to be written about the school and in that report it asks you to look at student data, student achievement data, and surveys of what students and parents and staff are saying about the school. It has to show in the report what areas that you have to be concerned about.”

  “I am the Self Study Coordinator, which means that I am in charge of compiling the report. After completing the report, you mail it to your team six weeks ahead of time so they can go over it. They come to visit the school to see if you told the truth in your report. After the team evaluates UC High School, they will send feedback to the WASC organization, verifying that everything we said in our  report was valid,” said Bristol

   Bristol explained that the students get involved when WASC visits for three days. Students sometimes get asked questions about the school during that time. “If the students get interviewed, their only role is to tell the truth. What they say reflects on the school as a whole. We would hope that their concerns would be the same ones we voiced in the report… The only way that the WASC visit would impact students is if we didn’t get accredited. But that has never happened at UC High,” said Bristol.

  “Overall, WASC helps keep our school updated. It makes us strive to be a better school and to prove that what we are saying about our school is true,” said McGlin.

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