The Accrediting Commission for Schools Western Association of Schools and College visited the school on March 3 after the planning committee spent almost two years meeting with various departments, staff, and administration.
The ACS WASC is an organization responsible for accrediting high schools. To ensure that WASC educational standards are being met, they conduct thorough evaluations of high schools every six years.
WASC “encourages and supports institutional development and improvement through an institutional self-evaluation” in order for students’ high school diploma to hold value during the college admission process.
“For your diploma to mean something, you need to be a WASC accredited school,” Kim Rogers, a member of the WASC planning committee, said.
The visit was considered a success among administrators according to Rogers. After our school’s planning committee presented its goals, WASC conducted a careful assessment of our school and determined whether or not we are taking steps to accomplish our objectives.
“There was a good plan for how to move forward with things in the future,” WASC Visiting Chair Matthew Hart said.
This year, MVHS determined five main goals to improve the campus. These goals include improving communication between the school and community, narrowing the opportunity and expectation gap for critical learners such as Special Education and English Language learners, addressing student and staff wellness, strengthening staff teams, and using data to make decisions regarding the school’s emotional and academic needs.
One of the main focuses for this year was improving staff and student wellness. Hart said they were working on how to help teachers “enact policies that are positive for students.”
According to Rogers, besides focusing on student wellbeing, the school targeted faculty health as well.
Another important goal for MVHS was working on the opportunity and expectation gap for some of our critical learners. According to Hart, there is an increase in enrollment from Special Education and English Language learning students in recent years.
Rogers said one critical learning goal the WASC committee said we could improve on was using data more effectively.
MVHS has been working with specific departments and the student body to identify achievable goals for our school to improve in preparation for the WASC visit.
Students were nominated by teachers to participate in the preparation alongside staff and administrators.
Selected students met every couple of months to discuss various topics in their focus groups. These groups were the learning and curriculum group, the culture and community group, and the organization of school instructional policies group, among others.
“We would collaborate within our group and talk about certain standards that the state had mandated, and how well we were either fulfilling those standards or what we needed to work on,” Ava Kopp, one of the students on the planning committee, said.
“We recognized our areas of strength and that we had a strong commitment that the five goals we came up with,” Rogers said. “Their feedback was just to help a great school be greater.”