St. Theresa gets accreditation
St. Theresa Catholic School gets an “A” … for approval, that is.
At its Jan. 24 meeting, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges accepted St. Theresa School as a candidate for accreditation.
“(Accreditation) gives credibility to the school,” said Dr. Jeannette Holmes, principal at St. Theresa. “It’s a verification that our curriculum is sound. It gives us direction to move forward to the future and make improvements. It gives you more clout.”
That clout is especially important where grants are concerned.
“If someone is going to give you money, they want to know that you’re sound financially and that you’re going to be there for a long time,” Holmes said. “They’re more likely to give the grant to an accredited school.”
The school will be working toward a series of self-improvement goals, designated by students, parents, faculty and the WASC/WCEA (Western Catholic Education Association) committees.
“The emphasis of the new process we’re going through is self-study and school improvement,” Holmes said. “We have already focused on where we want to go. We have a very strong curriculum already, so we want to go to the fine arts and expand in that direction.”
St. Theresa School is about two years away from completing the process, but has made a lot of headway so far.
“We were just notified of our candidacy but meanwhile we were working on the process and we already have about one-quarter of the (criteria) done,” Holmes said. “The idea is that everyone works together to achieve improvements. Everyone is invited to give their input.”
Holmes said the process of becoming an accredited school would be less time consuming if St. Theresa had someone on the WASC’s visiting committee.
“We need to get into that cycle,” she said. “Being on the visiting team would give us insight into the process itself.”
Holmes was on an accreditation committee three years ago in Sacramento, but the process has been altered since then.
“It does give me a little insight, except that the process has changed,” Holmes said. “But I do feel comfortable because so much of the data gathering and that type of thing had to be done for the candidacy.”
St. Theresa is hoping to be accredited for six years.
“You can be accredited for one, three or six years,” said Holmes, who looks forward to the benefits accreditation will bring to the school.
Based on WASC guidelines, the term of candidacy is three years, running through June 30, 2003. Prior to the end of this three-year period the school must prepare for accreditation by coming into compliance with all WASC criteria and must perform a complete self-study and accreditation review documenting the school’s focus on student achievement.
St. Theresa’s goal is to complete the process by June 2002.
“This whole process is supposed to make us look at our program and see if we’re doing what we say we’re doing and then say, ‘What more can we improve?,’ ” Holmes added.
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