Presentation on theme: "A Visiting Committee’s Work in the WCEA Process for Accreditation"— Presentation transcript:
1A Visiting Committee’s Work in the WCEA Process for Accreditation The Visiting CommitteeforCatholic High SchoolsA Visiting Committee’s Work in the WCEA Process for Accreditation
2Some Important Reminders: The Visiting Committee of the Self Study Process plays a major role in theAccreditation Process for Catholic High Schools.Its essential role is to verify and affirm a school’s Self Study;therefore, the Committee “wears the hat” of the school it is visiting.The Visiting Committee members understand their professional obligations:unity, integrity and confidentiality:a. Unity: collaboration---strive for consensus in important judgmentsb. Integrity: the Committee thinks and acts without prejudice to the school;the Committee receives both the school’s Self Study and thethe school’s reality (observations, interviews, documents)without any preconceived judgments based on a member’sown experience at his/her own school.c. Confidentiality: The Committee does not publicly disclose theproceedings or results of its work.
3In Advance of the Visit: The chairperson and the members each receive a copy of the school’sSelf Study and digital copy of the Data Library. Each member reads the entire Self Study and becomes familiar with it while forming first impressions of the school.The Visiting Committee is trained for its work:a. How to accomplish some writing in advance of the visit;b. How to conduct the entire visit including the writing of its reportand the determination of a recommendation of an AccreditationStatus for the school.The On-site Visit to the School:The on-site visit allows for an experience of the school itself:1. This visit entails experiences of: classroom dynamics, the co-curricularprogram, student’s work, other school documents, school persons’ and groups’reflection on what they do (interviews, observations), and the school’simprovements and aspirations.2. The Visiting Committee’s time for discussion and written work requirements.
43. Making a recommendation to the WCEA Secondary Commission regarding the Accreditation of the school.The Visiting Committee Process: (pages in the VC Manual)Note: There is much in common between E3 and what has preceded it(i.e. FOL), but there are new features to E3 .New Features to E3:The Self Study process that the school has completed according to E3has some new features:a. A “Catholic Identity” set of Standardsb. A Data Libraryc. A more compact format for the Findings chapter (Chapter IV)d. A more department-driven analysis of the teaching andlearning within the school -- (see page 5 of the VC Manual)
5Becoming familiar with the E3 format: Use pages 3-5 of the VC Manual to familiarize yourself with E3 formatReading the school’s Self Study:It is important that the VC member reads the Self Study (receivedapproximately one month before the actual visit). This important readingallows the member to become familiar with the school, to accomplish a pre-writingtask assigned by the chairperson, and to see how his/her individual work will blendwith the whole committee.The Chair of the committee will have a copy of the Data Library, but the committeemembers will have access to one at the school and during their entire visit.Completing a Pre-writing Assignment:Assigned by the Chair, each member writes a “first draft” based solely on thewritten Self Study. It serves two purposes: an understanding of what the school hasdone; and brings focus to what must be explored at the visit. (Walk through pg. 17)
6Following a Schedule:The Visiting Committee Chairperson and the school develop a mutuallyagreeable schedule for the visit. There must be time for classroomvisiting, document review, interviewing and committee work meetings.a. Visiting classrooms is important. It provides the necessaryopportunity for the committee member to witness teachingand learning. Also important is the time to view student’s work.This work will be provided in the classrooms. While visiting aclassroom, the committee member views student work.b. Document review has to do with using the Data Library andreviewing all other documents such as school handbooks,surveys, financial reports, etc.c. Interviewing: The Visiting Committee will interview sevenfocus groups: the school’s Leadership Team and one group foreach of the A to G areas of accreditation principles (see pg. 7),and also interview a group of randomly selected students. (seepage 18-19)
7Informing the School’s Leadership Team: Based on much experience with accreditation school visits the practiceof keeping the leadership Team informed of the progress of the visit eachday has become very important. This morning session provides the opportunityfor discussion on what the Visiting Committee is experiencing, what furtherassistance may be required of the Leadership Team, and what the Visiting Committeehas discovered in its review of the school. (pg. 19)Sharing Perceptions within the Visiting Committee:Sufficient time must be included during the visit to allow for much discussion among theCommittee members about what each has learned (seen/heard/read/understood) inorder to assist the whole committee to form evaluative judgments. Doing this properlywill assist in forming consensus in their work.
8Forming Evaluative Judgments: This very important task is a major piece of the work of a Visiting Committee.These judgments decide whether (and to the degree to which) the schoolhas met a standard (which, remember, is a quality indicator concerning an areaof school experience). This kind of judgment represents work that the committeePerforms in its internal forum.There are also judgments regarding whether the school observes a principle, whichis an integral rule of Catholic high school accreditation. This is an external forum ofIts work.Internal Forum: Concerns standards being met (and these standards constitutean accreditation principle) These are internal to the committee because theseare steps along the way to the school’s observance of a principle at some level.External Forum: Concerns the “bottom line” of accreditation---that is the knowledgeby the school that it has met the seven principles and to what degree. This externalforum becomes public to the school and the accrediting commission.
9Determining whether Standards are met: For this important section of the Visiting Committee Manual we will refer andspend some time on pages of the Manual.Determining the School’s Observance of the Seven Principles:Refer to pages of the Manual for this important section. We will walk throughthe particulars.Reviewing a School’s Educational Improvement Plan (EIP):A school’s self-improvement plan is a major feature of accreditation since its essentialgoal is to decide on Areas of Vital Growth that need to be accomplished over time,and to design a plan along some guidelines provided in the accreditation process forthe accomplishment of the various vital growth areas.Important to this task is the ensure the Visiting Committee and the school that theEIP is appropriate and objectively aligned with the Self Study Findings.
10A Visiting Committee may decide that it has identified another vital area that it would like the school to consider, and have it added to the EIP.To add another item to the EIP is a serious undertaking. There would have to be muchevidence gathered by the Visiting Committee to warrant such an action. Refer now toPage 22…Writing the Report of Findings:Pages 22 – 25 provide significant detail to this important task. We will refer to thosePages for review and discussion.Before doing so:The Report of Findings is organized according to an introduction and seven sections.In each of the seven sections, the Visiting Committee:Identifies the principle at hand (e.g. Authentic Catholic identity)Discerns whether the principle is observed by means of a viewing of the completedforms entitled “Attainment of a Standard.”Includes a written rationale for its discernment, providing citation from the DataLibrary as pertinent and providing other evidence in support of its discernment.4. There is a form used for this –”Observance of a Principle” (Appendix B)
11WCEA Accreditation Recommendation Form: The Visiting Committee upon completion of its work makes a recommendation forAccreditation to the WCEA Commission. This new format for E3 takes one of twoForms:Accreditation with quarterly reports: These are quarterly reports over theremainder of the accreditation cycle (six years). They are given to the local Commissioner who shares these reports with the WCEA Commission.Accreditation with a mid-cycle visit/report: This recommendation entails aone-and-a-half day visit by a two person WCEA Committee at the mid-point of theaccreditation cycle (36 months from the beginning of the school’s Self Study work).See pages for full details.Note: In choosing between the two recommendations, the WCEA Visiting Committeeshould especially weigh the nature of the changes that the committee made to theschool’s EIP. Once the choice is made, reflecting the consensus of the committee,the work of the committee is complete.Currently this recommendation is not made known to the school, but it is made known tothe Commission at the Accreditation Meeting.