Washington State school accreditation began to ensure that the state’s high schools were adequately preparing students for college. It was intended to document high program quality for colleges and for the patrons of Washington’s educational system.
Over the years, the State Board of Education opened the accreditation process to all grade levels. This voluntary, self-study process is a research-based approach to school improvement. It includes active participation and input from staff, students, parents and community representatives. The school improvement planning process is data-informed, continually impacting student learning so that students have “the opportunity to become responsible citizens, to contribute to their own economic well-being and to that of their families and communities, and to enjoy productive and satisfying lives…” (RCW 28A.150.210)
The accreditation process supports a long-term vision for a performance-based educational system that aligns accreditation requirements to the continuous improvement of student learning, achievement and growth. The process provides for collaboration and deep reflection by the school community, for external review and validation of the school improvement plan, and the process that led to its development. It also provides a statement of accountability to the public. Accreditation status is granted for a period of six years if approved.
Guides for School Improvement in Washington.
Supplemental basic education program approval requirements. WAC 180-16-220
Eight Elements of High School Improvement: A Mapping Framework.
Nine characteristics of High-Performing Schools, a research based resource.