BVH gets a protocol visit from WASC

A+BVH+administrator+walks+around+class+703+during+5th+period+while+on+a+video+call+with+a+WASC+administrator.+This+process+lasted+around+two+days+to+be+able+to+show+WASC+administrators+most+of+the+school+and+classes.+

Eiffel Sunga

A BVH administrator walks around class 703 during 5th period while on a video call with a WASC administrator. This process lasted around two days to be able to show WASC administrators most of the school and classes.

Melina Ramirez, News Editor

Silence followed the entrance of school administrators as they entered classrooms while on a zoom call. Administrators and teachers would point the camera at students working during class to show the learning environment. Many students experienced this, however, they don’t know why it even happened. 

On the second week of November, Bonita Vista High (BVH) had guests come in and out of different classrooms across the school. On the other side of the zoom call with administrators were Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) committee members. 

The most enjoyable part is getting to learn about our campus and so many different things that we do on campus that I never would have known about before”

— IB English Literature teacher Kalie Espinoza

According to their website, WASC is one of six US accrediting agencies whose goal is the constant improvement of schools through “a rigorous and relevant self-evaluation.” Without being accredited by agencies like WASC, high school diplomas are worth a blank piece of paper.

“Every so many years, depending on how accredited you are you get an evaluation year. That evaluation year includes a report written about the school and a visit from an accrediting committee,” IB English Literature, Accelerated English teacher and co-coordinator for the WASC visit, Kalie Espinoza. 

WASC follows a six-year evaluation schedule with annual mandatory self-studies, visits and follow up cycles. The yearly check ups from WASC are usually based on the report written by administration, and large scale visits are saved for the six year assessment. The most recent visit from WASC lasted a week; two days of school appraising and approximately two to three days of report. 

In preparation for the WASC committee visit, Espinoza and co-coordinator Michele Godoy split BVH staff into groups to focus on different sections of the report WASC needed. The report ended up being 206 pages and included every member of the BVH community in order to be as transparent as possible with WASC. In addition to complete staff participation, students from various programs and clubs were invited to be part of a student panel that WASC committee members would talk with. In the report “significant changes” like the new COVID-19 protocol and budget/financial crisis were mentioned along with sections that were dedicated to different school areas. 

“We knew that WASC wants to see students from all over campus, they don’t want to just see our IB and AP students,” Espinoza said. “They want students who are part of every program that we offer.”

Students were pulled out of class a week earlier than their conference with WASC committee members to prepare them for the day of visitation. Despite a couple students opting out due to tests, in total there were approximately 50 students on the forum. 

“They asked us how we felt about our teachers and their receptiveness to our learning and our suggestions or complaints. I thought that was a really interesting question because everyone had all these different answers of ways that teachers could improve in terms of assigning less work and being more receptive to students and stuff like that,” President of the Drama Club and senior Kailee Wendeln-Lankard said. 

Students were taken out of class during the third period and didn’t return until lunch, so  they missed two class periods. During the panel, students were split into two rooms in accordance to the two separate break out rooms on the zoom call. Vague questions about school programs and resources prompted students to answer and promote said BVH programs and resources. 

“I talked about the community that we have here and how, particularly in Drama, everyone gets along very well,” Wendeln-Lankard said. “I think that also translates into Bonita’s community as well. Everyone’s always, for the most part, very kind and accepting. We have a really nice community”.