Gilroy High shines in accreditation review

After three days spent scrutinizing minutiae from programs, to teaching practices, to work ethic, to student attitude, representatives from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) rained compliments on Gilroy High School – a campus with “a collegiality that is not often seen at every high school.”
As one of six regional accrediting associations in the U.S., WASC regularly visits colleges, universities, junior colleges and K-12 schools to help them “meaningfully create the highest quality learning experience they can envision for all students.”
The ongoing voluntary checkup process is founded on the “expectation that schools must be worthy of the trust placed in them to provide high quality learning opportunities,” and ensuring that educational institutions stay continually focused on the “critical business of continual self-improvement,” according to the WASC website.
If the WASC review given Wednesday afternoon at GHS is any indication of a commitment to excellence, the Mustang family clearly left an impression on their guests.
“Would I want my daughter going to GHS? The answer is an easy ‘yes,’” said Craig Green, a WASC committee member and visiting English teacher from Rio Linda Senior High School in Sacramento County. “You have a good thing going on it was a true pleasure to be here these last few days.”
The six-member committee highlighted “collegiality” among staff members; the “unbelievable” collaboration with parents; the “impressive work spirit;” the “phenomenal” music program; the large number of available AP courses; the recent creation of the Mustang Professional Development Team; a caring attitude displayed by teachers for the well-being of their students; and the wide variety of electives and Regional Occupation Classes still offered at GHS – an element that, in these days of severe state budget cuts, is becoming rare commodity.
“Your kids have the opportunities to get real-life experience. I thought that was exciting,” said Green. “You have many different types of programs for many different types of people…it makes them want to do well in core academic classes.”
As for areas GHS needs to continually focus on improving, the WASC committee suggested strengthening communication “with all stakeholders;” developing a standard program of issuing textbooks on a rotation cycle; improving student performance; ensuring active and consistent involvement with the School Site Council; and increasing high interest teaching strategies.
GHS Principal Marco Sanchez says he expects to hear back from WASC by the end of April or May regarding the high school’s accreditation term.
Sanchez is predicting a six-year term accreditation with a midterm review in three years.
This is the second best form of WASC accreditation a school can receive; the first being a six-year term with no midterm review.

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