WASC And Professional Development

In a stack of papers called Reform.

  • Feb
  • 01
  • 2006

I’m off to a staff development meeting where we will be discussing our Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) visit.

If any of you have gone through the WASC process, you know that it’s really no fun. If you haven’t gone through it, realize that you actually have whenever you had to put together a project for school: a big assignment with lots of little due dates and all of the work begrudgingly done, typically at the last minute and/or by a select few people in your group. This WASC business is no different.

And while the WASC process sounds like a good one, it’s often just a bunch of posturing. Even when the WASC visiting team shows up to check on how your school actually runs, to see if it matches up to the self study you’ve just written, it’s a bunch of posturing. I don’t see even a single kid walking around during class time when the visiting team is here. But that’s not how we usually conduct business, with gaggles of kids running around during regularly scheduled school hours.

How can a group of 120 individual teachers and a collective of around 100 other staff members really grow as a team? That’s just too many people to agree on much of anything, let alone a full-blown self study of the campus environment and curriculum.

No point to all this, really. I’m just thinking aloud before I head off to the meeting. I’ll post a follow up to this when it’s all over.

Follow Up

Interesting conversation flowed freely around H-3 today and undoubtedly throughout the H building, the site of all the WASC conversations this afternoon. We noticed a lot of things that need to be changed in the report, some format related, some content related, some philosophy related. It is certainly an eye opener to glance at this much information in a short amount of time.

Still, I can’t help feeling like a kid who is being punished; reading these chapters and trying to interpret why the tables come before the narrative, why the numbers are even there in the first place, what purpose this all serves, is frustrating, almost like we are just spinning our wheels looking at data instead of actually trying to change the problems we see.

As a group of teachers coming together to look at what’s happening on our campus in these WASC meetings, is our time best spent pawing through pages of narration and tables, squabbling over a word here and a percentage there? Shouldn’t a team of people bring that data to the staff and begin working on changes to the system to fix problems that the numbers reflect?

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