Mills High School will be undergoing an accreditation process from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) next year in order to ensure the level of academic excellence and standardization with other schools in our region. Currently all the faculty, led by history teacher Ms. Irish, are writing the six-year report for the accreditation association, which will be reviewed by a WASC representative next school year.
Due to the infrequency of their visits, not many know what the WASC is. The Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC), is a well regarded accrediting association that works closely with the California Department of Education to measure a school’s performance and ability to provide its students with quality education and growth. They do this by assessing how they are meeting certain literary/STEM benchmarks and how closely the school is meeting the actionable goals they set for themselves. Every six years, Mills must send an application for accreditation which then prompts a representative of the organization to visit Mills to conduct a preliminary evaluation process. From there a list of recommendations are made by the representative which are reviewed and approved; then a full review committee visits Mills to help formulate a schoolwide action plan to improve education and services. If our school is doing well, the action plan only requires a progress report after three years to show continued efforts for the standards put forth. If our school appears to be not meeting standards, then the entire process is repeated every three years.
Although the process is not frequent, many faculty believe WASC to be tedious and comprehensive, but very important to carry out. Principal Duszynski comments on the group effort of the report, “Right now we are in the process of getting all our stakeholders involved…. the teachers, faculty, parents, and students are coming together for this process.” As of now, the two leaders of this current step in accreditation are Ms. Feit and Mrs. Irish, and as the rest of the year plays out, more of the Mills community will take part in the WASC evaluation as goals are set, and performance is measured.
Although a long and comprehensive procedure, the accreditation process by the ACS WASC performs a vital role in maintaining academic excellence in schools around the state, including our very own Mills. Next year a WASC representative will visit Mills to initiate the review process, but for now many people are busy working together to write up goals and measuring progress.