The California Department of Education (CDE) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Accrediting Commission for Schools share a common purpose and commitment to facilitate student achievement and school improvement in the California public schools. While WASC accreditation is not required by law, it does provide a means for conducting peer evaluations of educational institutions and programs. The standards-based Focus on Learning (FOL) Guide, which was jointly developed by WASC and the CDE, is designed to be used by California schools that previously were subject to the State's Program Quality Review (PQR) requirements and chose to pursue accreditation to fulfill the requirements for both PQR and the accreditation-related admission requirements of California's public university systems.
The WASC short-term consultants provide training throughout the state on the FOL – Joint WASC/CDE Process.
In 2010–11, the WASC agency completed 736 accreditation visits, including public and charter schools and the WASC school membership grew 2 percent. Approximately twenty CDE consultants and administrators are scheduled to participate in accreditation visit in 2011–12, compared to 18 CDE participants in 2010–11.
The FOL self-study process is organized to support ongoing school improvement efforts in all areas. Administrators and teachers use the FOL results to improve the education programs within their districts. The process is designed to be used by all public high schools in California that are subject to accreditation requirements and choose to pursue FOL – Joint WASC/CDE Process.
The FOL – Joint WASC/CDE Process assists schools by allowing them to participate in an in-depth evaluation of their programs. Through the process, they can identify their strengths and the areas where improvement is needed. The WASC Commission approves high school districts and charter high schools for a one, three, or six-year term.
WASC administrators and CDE staff update the training documents to ensure alignment with processes and changes based on CDE corrective actions. Participating high schools that have CDE governance issues are considered for a review based on the approval of the CDE and WASC Commission.
To view the 2012 edition of the WASC/CDE Focus on Learning Joint Process for all California Public Schools, including California Charter Schools, please visit the Accrediting Commission for Schools – WASC Accreditation – Process California Comprehensive Web page [http://www.acswasc.org/process_ca_comprehensive.htm] (Outside Source) and select the link under the heading Full Self-Study.
For additional information, please visit the WASC Accrediting Commission for Schools Web site [http://www.acswasc.org/] (Outside Source).