All public schools in California must be accredited through a recognized accreditation body. Foothill High School receives its accreditation through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). WASC accreditation is based on a six-year accreditation cycle with a full self-study visit occuring every six years. The process developed by WASC has two purposes for us: confirming that we continue to be an effective learning institution providing a high quality learning environment, and showing that we strive to continuously improve.
During the past 18 months, we have been involved in a self study as part of our accreditation cycle. In November, a WASC visiting committee came to review our self study and verify the goals we have set for ourselves. The committee provided us with constructive feedback and made a recommendation to WASC for a term of accreditation. In general, the committee's findings confirm that we are an effective school with some areas in which we can continue to grow and improve.
Areas of strength for us include:
- Student culture of high academic achievement
- Strong parent support
- Experienced teaching staff
- Availability of instructional technology
- Commitment from district and site staff to success for all students
- Wide variety of course offerings, especially an impressive assortment of AP classes
- Strong extracurricular programs.
- Closing the achievement gap, especially for Hispanic/Latino, special needs and English language learner students
- Increasing academic rigor for all
- Reducing student stress
- Improving research-based instructional practices
- Improving communication with all groups
- Creating teacher collaboration opportunities
- Restructuring academic support,
- Renovating and strengthening our AVID program
- Improving the way we use data to drive instruction
With increased accountability, WASC has increased its level of scrutiny during the accreditation process with a strong focus on closing the achievement gap. Although we have continued to narrow the achievement gap each year, we know we still have work do in this area and have a viable action plan in place.
Foothill is a high-performing school with incredibly high achievement results. The majority of our graduates attend top colleges. Our performance is among the top high schools in the nation, and our Academic Performance Index is among the highest of schools in California.
Although we look at this as a tremendous opportunity for continued growth, we believe, due to our high levels of student achievement, significant areas of strength, and the substantial improvements achieved in many of the identified areas, that submitting an appeal to receive a six-year accreditation is definitely warranted.
We are confident that we have the ability to build on our established strengths and address the areas of growth that the WASC visiting committee identified. We continue to develop as a high-performing learning institution while we are impacted by even greater difficulties during the state's budget crisis. Despite these challenges, our students continue to excel to even higher levels of achievement, and our teachers and staff strive to do their best for kids with even greater commitment.
We are fortunate to have such an amazing student body and parent community, as well as a dedicated staff. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I also encourage you to attend our Friday Forum for parents and community members scheduled for Friday, March 9 at 11 a.m. in room C-6 to hear more about the WASC process and our action plan. There will be ample time to ask any questions you may have. Through this process, your support as a community remains absolutely invaluable as we continue to be Foothill High School -- Home of the Falcons, Tradition of Excellence.