Over the past years, Yorba Linda High School has been preparing for the WASC Visit. WASC stands for Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The organization is visiting the campus to verify that the self-evaluated report composed and sent by the school’s administration is accurate. Essentially, it is an accreditation process that validates the high school diplomas.
All schools and colleges undergo the same process. Yorba Linda High School is being visited by a team of 6 members, most of them volunteers who work for other schools. Each school is visited by different teams of different sizes according to the school. This particular team is here to evaluate whether or not the report composed by the administration is accurate. WASC members have visited classrooms, interviewed students, organized focus groups, observe clubs, and more in order to confirm the details of the report.
The report by the Yorba Linda High School, according to the WASC team, was one of the longest reports out of all the schools being evaluated. Inside the diagnosis of the school, the administration examines the advantages and deficiencies of the school, the accomplishments and aspirations, the strengths and weaknesses of the students, and much more. Furthermore, the team looks for how the school is dealing with struggling learners, how the staff attempts to establish a better connection to students and the general awareness of the administration to the issues around the campus.
While WASC is visiting, the team will be primarily looking into five categories: overall organization, curriculum, instruction, assessment and accountability, and climate and culture. After deciding whether the school is accurate in its self-evaluation and what is written in the report, the team makes a recommendation to a board. The board then makes a decision to either validate or invalidate the diplomas given out by the school. The board could give a six year pass with a visit in between. Whatever the decision the board arrives at, WASC always makes recommendations to the schools being evaluated on what improvements could be made around the school.
The students, even though they could be pulled out of the classroom or interviewed in focus groups, are not the target of evaluation. Ryan Lowery(12) was “a little stressed” that “the people at the back of the classroom recording seemed very keen and observant.” However, the WASC visit largely does not involve the students.