The WASC Report: A Little Light Reading

For the past 18 months, a group of teachers, administrators, students, and parents have been working together to learn all about Palo Alto High School as a part of the WASC self-study process.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), a 501(c)(3) organization, is recognized as one of six regional associations that accredit public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the United States.

The self-study process gives the school a chance to learn more about the progress the school community has made since the previous WASC cycle and, after a close look at where we are today, determine our goals for the next few years. This involves a large amount of data, discussion, and hard work. As a parent, I have to say, we probably had the easiest jobs (except for the data crunchers who helped the staff data specialists, Susan Bailey and Karen French Neuman). Emily Garrison has led the process with a smile as our WASC Self-Study Coordinator, getting teachers and administrators through all the work they needed to do. As a result, the “Palo Alto High School WASC Self-Study 2014-2015” is officially finished.  I encourage you to look through the report to learn more about Paly.

WASC Self-Study Report 2014-15

In case you don’t have time for the full 516 pages, the goals are:

#1: Systems alignment for greater consistency around learning outcomes to reduce undue stress.                                                                               – Strategy #1: Aligning Student Learning Outcomes                                        – Strategy #2: Data:  Creating and Leading Cultures of Inquiry

#2: Research-based intructional practices that increase student engagement for ALL students                                                                                        – Strategy #1: Ongoing Professional Learning (PL) “Paly as a Learning System”

#3: Innovative school culture promoting global competencies, creativity and empathy                                                                                                      – Strategy #1: A Shared Vision of Our Future                                                       – Strategy #2: Global Competencies and Increasing Student “Choice and Voice”

You can find more details about the goals and school action plan at the following links:

Summary of WASC Goals

Three Year Action Plan

Six Year Action Plan

The next step is the visit from the WASC team. They will arrive on Sunday, March 1 and, beginning with a reception from 3:30-4:15, they will spend four days immersing themselves in all things Paly. They have a full agenda of meetings with different groups and a lot of pages to get through in four days! On Wednesday, March 4th from 3:30 to 4:00, they will present their findings in the MAC atrium.

Thank you to the entire WASC team for your hard work and dedication to keeping Paly moving forward for ALL students.

– Linda van Gelder, Paly PTSA President