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 Accreditation Process Informs School Advancement

​​Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS)​ took a look at the culture, vision, and goals of the schools as part of the rigorous Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation process.

For the past eight months over 60 JCCS teachers, staff members, administrators, and SDCOE partners have contributed to the WASC self-study processes for Community Schools, Court Schools, Monarch School, and San Pasqual Academy. 

JCCS must go through the process periodically to maintain its WASC accreditation. WASC is a private nonprofit group that helps assure quality and improvement at schools throughout California and Hawaii with a process focused on school improvement and staff development.

"This process is an opportunity to look deeply at our strengths as well as the areas where we can continue to grow," said Wendell Callahan, JCCS director of assessment, evaluation, and accountability.

JCCS is looking to receive an unprecedented four accreditations: Court, Community, Monarch, and San Pasqual Academy. This will be the first time the accreditation is split into four separate schools. In the past, JCCS received accreditation as one program.

"Each of our schools has unique characteristics, qualities, and students" said Callahan. "It was only logical that we had a process for each one of them."

The WASC process includes a self-study that outlines each school's current state as well as action plans for growth in areas identified in the self-study to improve student learning and the overall school culture, vision, and purpose. Included in the self-study process is input from focus groups made up of parents, students, teachers, administrators, and support staff. The self-study serves as a guiding document for professional learning, improvement of academic programs, and supporting student achievement.

The WASC Self-Study Criteria are vision, leadership and governance, curriculum, instruction, assessment and accountability, and culture and support for student personal and academic growth.

In May, a WASC team visited JCCS sites over three days to talk to teachers, administrators, parents, and students. During the visits, evaluators looked at how each school is demonstrating an impact on the whole student with a focus on professional learning, supporting second language learners and students with disabilities, and utilizing technology as a means for student learning. The last day culminated with preliminary reports of the committee's findings.

All four preliminary reports called out the need to better provide targeted instruction, supports, and interventions for students with special needs and English learners. These findings were highly consistent with goals and actions to improve student outcomes articulated in our SDCOE

Local Control Accountability Plan as well as goals in each school's Single Plan for Student Achievement.

By the end of July, JCCS should have a formal report about the visits and the status of the accreditation.