The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), a 501(c)(3) organization, is recognized as one of six regional associations that accredit public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the United States. The Accrediting Commission of the association has as its chief function the upgrading of the educational program of each of the schools it serves. Upgrading is accomplished through regularly recurring evaluations of each school followed by recommendations for the improvement of various aspects of the school program. Terms of accreditation are granted upon evidence of acceptable quality and the progress each school is making toward achieving its fullest potential for the particular student body which it serves.
The Western Catholic Educational Association is a private educational accrediting agency established under the auspices of the Bishops of the Catholic (Arch) Dioceses of California. WCEA accredits elementary schools in California as well as in other states and United States territories. All schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles must be accredited by WCEA/WASC. WCEA has established a rubric and protocol for evaluating the Catholic identity in elementary schools. The Association has five major objectives:
- Maintain and improve the quality of Catholic education
- Assist schools in the development of self-evaluative programs that foster educational excellence
- Establish standards for evaluating and sustaining the Catholic identity of the school
- Establish general standards for excellence in Catholic schools to grant WCEA certification
- Cooperate formally with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in accrediting Catholic schools
St. Bernard School participates regularly in formal accreditation procedures through the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
St. Bernard School is evaluated on the appropriateness of the purpose and functions outlined in its statement of philosophy and on the basis of the degree to which the school accomplishes these purposes and functions.
The self-evaluation study by each school is conducted by administrative staff, teaching and classified staff, the students, parents and other members of the school’s public.
Directives for the self-evaluation studies are made available to the schools through the WASC central office in Burlingame, California, and through the WCEA office in Fullerton, California. WCEA has established a self-study protocol specific to Catholic schools. The archdiocesan WCEA Commissioner determines the members of the Visiting Committee and gives cooperative notice to the WASC office in Burlingame. The directives for the Visiting Committee Report must be sent to both WASC and WCEA after a school visitation. The Accrediting Commission of WCEA/ WASC grants a term of accreditation for the school after reviewing the school’s Self Study and Visiting Committee’s Report and recommendation for a term of accreditation.
The full benefit of evaluation-accreditation can be realized only with planned and continuing follow-up. Progress Reports from each accredited school must be sent to WCEA/WASC according to the schedule set up by the accrediting agency.