Principal’s Message: Guest Bloggers WCEA/WASC Accreditation

principals-message-logo1Accreditation. WASC. WCEA. Integral Groups. ISOs.

These are some terms you may have heard buzzing around Mater Dei over the past few years. What do they mean and why are they important to the work we do as educators and administrators at Mater Dei High School? 

We invited our WCEA/WASC Coordinators, Mrs. Jennifer Dennin and Ms. Jeanette Costa, to guest blog and share about what these terms are, what accreditation means, the timeline for Mater Dei’s recent self-study, and what we learned and affirmed through this two-year process. 

What is WCEA/WASC Accreditation?
The Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA) is a private educational accrediting agency established under the auspices of the Bishops of the Catholic (Arch) Dioceses of California. The mission of WCEA is to promote quality Catholic education for students through an accrediting process that assures the primacy of faith formation and educational excellence.

Like WCEA, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation process fosters excellence in elementary, secondary and adult education by encouraging school improvement.

WASC accreditation recognizes schools that meet an acceptable level of quality, in accordance with established, research-based WASC criteria.

The Timeline
In the spring/summer of 2013, Mater Dei’s Administrative Board selected our WCEA/WASC Coordinators and Leadership team. All faculty and staff were then placed into the appropriate integral groups.  Beginning in the fall of 2013, we began to construct the surveys which would build the data library and the cornerstone of our self-study research.

In February 2014, we administered multiple surveys to various stakeholders including all faculty, support staff, administration, committee members, current students, current parents, and alumni. We were deeply grateful to receive significant response rates — some as high as the 90th percentile and felt confident that the data was a true representation of the multi-layered Mater Dei community.

From April to August 2014, we analyzed all survey data, constructed the data library, and began to identify areas of strength and areas of growth.

Beyond this analysis, we began the arduous, but beneficial task of construction the report. We also revised and revised our Mission and Philosophy Statements as well as our Integral Student Outcomes (ISOs).

In January 2015, the final report was submitted to the WCEA/WASC visiting committee and the team will visit Mater Dei High School from March 8 through March 11.

What We Learned & What We Affirmed
Through this WCEA/WASC Self-Study Process, we discovered data and trends that give foundation to new directions in which we hope to take the school — especially in the areas in which our students learn and how our teachers “teach.”  This lead to a great focus on curriculum alignment and constantly asking the question “well, why aren’t we doing this….”

Overall, this process has affirmed Mater Dei’s commitment to excellence in technology, facilities, educational techniques and the quest to constantly improve all aspects of Mater Dei High School.

We invite you to review the final WCEA/WASC Self Study Report for Mater Dei High School. CLICK HERE to access the report in PDF format.

In Mater Dei,

Jennifer Dennin, Religious Studies Department & Jeanette Costa, English Department
WCEA/WASC Coordinators

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