WASC representatives visit OPHS

The committee’s findings will evaluate the public school as an educational institution

After six years, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges returned to Oak Park High School for an evaluation through the week of Nov. 7. WASC takes a detailed look into all aspects of public and private schools and colleges. If the programs meet the standards, it is granted the organization’s accreditation. 

The school’s first step in accreditation is to independently fill out a report with detailed statistics and data on the school’s operations, performance and climate. Cathy Lory, the school’s official WASC Coordinator, spent the last 18 months compiling a 200-page report with the various department heads on campus. 

“The [WASC] visiting team will look at our school and see if what we wrote in the self-study report matches what they see on the ground,” Principal Mat McClenahan said in a StudentSquare post. “At the end of their visit, they will submit a report to the WASC Commissioners, who ultimately decide our accreditation.” 

Accreditation formally recognizes a school’s excellence and adds weight to college applications. College applicants from accredited schools give confidence to admissions officers as to the reliability of a student’s transcript. 

According to the WASC mission statement, their criteria ensure institutions “engage in a rigorous and relevant self-evaluation and peer review process that focuses on student learning.” 

Students may have noticed WASC representatives observing their classes or talking to their peers. During the visiting process, a team of five teachers and administrators from other California schools visited OPHS over a four-day period. 

“I was on the front line taking care of them,” Lory said. “They have to stay in hotels. I have to make sure they were well fed and well taken care of.” 

The accreditation results are set to be released sometime after winter break.