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 JCCS Leaders Prepare for WASC Accreditation Process

​Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) leaders are looking at the culture, vision and goals of the schools as part of a rigorous accreditation process.

Every six years, the San Diego County Office of Education’s JCCS program must go through the process to maintain its accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, better known as WASC. The association, a private nonprofit group, helps assure quality and improvement at schools throughout California and Hawaii with a process focused on school improvement and staff development.

JCCS personnel started preparing for the accreditation process last fall. Focus groups made up of parents, students, teachers, administrators, and support staff will share information with JCCS leaders over the next couple of months to help set priorities and guide the process.

The work will culminate with a self-study that will outline the program's current state as well as goals for student learning, culture, vision and purpose. It will serve as a guiding document for professional learning, academic programs, and student learning.

“It should really explain where the schools are and what the goals are,” said Wendell Callahan, who’s leading the effort for JCCS.

That document is due to WASC in December. In April, a team from the association will visit JCCS sites over three days to talk to teachers, administrators, parents, and student and to look for proof of what was written about in the submitted document.

In the past the Juvenile Court and Community Schools received accreditation as one program. This will be the first time the accreditation is split into four separate schools: Monarch School, San Pasqual Academy, Court Schools, and Community Schools.

“We’re no longer a program; we’re a portfolio of schools,” Callahan said. “It’s a more authentic process this way.”

Through its accreditation process, the association recognizes more than 4,500 public schools that meet an acceptable level of quality, in accordance with established, research-based criteria.

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