High schools excel during accreditation review
High schools shine during accreditation review
Posted on 08/09/2017
High schools shine during accreditation review

Becoming an accredited high school is optional. Washington schools must be approved by the Washington State Board of Education (SBE), but accreditation is voluntary through the Washington Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD).

Emerald Ridge, Puyallup, Rogers, and Walker high schools passed a thorough accreditation review in May. The review takes place every six years and schools must provide documented proof they are offering rigorous course options to students.

A panel made up of educational leaders from around the state including current or retired superintendents and other school administrators receive a report presented by the principal of the school. 

The report focuses on:

  • Data for the School Improvement Plan (SIP) — Helps measure progress towards achievement
  • Student-Achievement Focus — Goals established and reviewed yearly
  • Research-Based Foundation and Actions — Initiatives and action plans
  • Collaboration — Representatives from academic, administration, counselors, classified

Stakeholders, including staff, students, parents, and community members are surveyed in great detail. The school must show proof it is providing a high quality education to students and is adequately preparing them for college.

The principal’s presentation is the culmination of a process that began last spring, led by the Chief Academic Officer for each region. They met with an accreditation coach/facilitator from the AESD who provides support and guidance during the process. Next, a site team is formed at each school. It consists of parents, community members, students, and staff. The site team gathers data and produces evidence that meets the components of a highly effective school.

Chief Academic Officer for Region 1 Christine Moloney said the concept is the same as wanting to attend a college that is accredited or the degree received may not be recognized. “An outside agency is looking at your educational program to make sure it is of high quality, said Moloney.

The process is not focused on finding problems, rather it looks at the data to see how the school is progressing. They review whether the school is aligned to the school improvement plan using the data and artifacts provided by the site team to determine if the components show a highly effective school.

According to Moloney, The process will eventually highlight the great things a school is doing and show the areas where growth may be needed. It is a growth improvement process, not an I got you.’”

For example, she said Emerald Ridge stood out for having positive relationships between staff and students. Also, there are many different offerings for kids who have a wide variety of interests.

It was also noted the high schools offer a wide variety of rigorous course options, including Advance Placement classes, Running Start, and College in the High School.

“It’s actually really valuable. It provides more extensive feedback to the
school administration and the site team about areas they are
doing well in and areas they need to show growth and improvement.”

— Chief Academic Officer Christine Moloney