MVHS to undergo accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Alina Abidi

In two weeks, MVHS will have a flip block schedule to allow time for accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, our regional accrediting association. According to Susie Chow, former WASC commissioner, this accreditation is important because it “ensures equity and fairness to all students in all schools.” Educators from other schools will visit our campus to observe each classroom and meet with staff members.

[quote_center]“Every school, in order for it to be accredited, has to be reviewed,” Executive Assistant to the Principal Diana Goularte said. “[The process] validates the grades on your transcript.”[/quote_center]

Though some of the 4,500 schools WASC accredits require annual reviews, MVHS’ previous reports qualify it for a six-year gap with a brief midterm check every three years. This is the maximum time between reviews.

Goularte explained that the visiting team members will come to MVHS to verify that everything our school claims in its reports — such as the different programs and courses being offered — is factual and at the end of the week, will present the report to the staff. The WASC educators will observe classrooms, and though they may ask students or teachers questions, they will mostly just confirm MVHS’ own reports.

“The WASC process involves looking at what’s working and what’s not working,” Chemistry teacher Elizabeth McCracken said. “We look at what the conclusions are and decide how to improve on them.”

In the past, MVHS has focused on adding different programs that provide support and aid in reducing stress for students. The last WASC review was in 2008, shortly after administrators moved the end of first semester to immediately before Winter Break.

“Before, kids would go on break in December, and then you’d come back and you’d finish the first semester,” Goularte said. “We found that if we ended the first semester before the break, it reduced stress for kids because they could go on break and not be worried about coming back and studying for finals.”

WASC members asked about the schedule change, and MVHS administrators explained that it was better for students. Though WASC does not approve decisions, they verify that reports are up to date and that schools are functioning according to outlined expectations.

“A lot of people worked really hard to make this process go as smoothly as possible,” McCracken said. “It’s not an easy process for anybody; there’s a lot of work involved, there’s a lot of pieces to organize. I believe some really important information has come out of it that will assist us as a school moving forward.”