Fillmore High School Undergoes Curriculum Audit and WASC Accreditation

It is obvious to passers by that Fillmore High School has been going through a number of facility improvements over the past few years. We have a modern science building, new classrooms, a remodeled gymnasium, a new fence, a beautiful new stadium/track complex, and a fresh coat of paint. The school is looking great! What is not so obvious to passers by is that Fillmore High School is in the middle of a very important evaluation year of the instructional program. In fact, Fillmore High School is going through two evaluations within a matter of months—a SAIT curriculum audit and a WASC accreditation.

Under the SAIT Program (School Assistance Intervention Team) schools are provided with a team which evaluates the school’s academic program, school climate, leadership, and extracurricular program, and makes recommendations for changes to improve student achievement. The SAIT program is required by the California Department of Education because Fillmore High School failed to make adequate progress in the State testing program the past two years. The SAIT team working with Fillmore High School is from the Ventura County Office of Education. The team spent time on campus last spring and this fall interviewing students, parents, teachers and staff about all aspects of the campus, collecting curriculum documents, meeting minutes, and other information to help them develop a clear picture of the school. Last month the SAIT team spent four days on campus observing each teacher in action. Since their visit in October, the SAIT team has been writing a lengthy report that will be presented to the school leadership team in December and the staff in January. The curriculum audit report will give detailed information on the quality of the instructional program and will make recommendations for changes to improve student achievement.

The second program evaluation Fillmore High School is involved in this fall is a WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation. The WASC accreditation process evaluates a school’s progress towards improving instruction and student achievement, and reports to the California Department of Education. All public high schools and colleges in California must go through the WASC review every one, three or six years. Under the WASC, high schools must write a lengthy report called a self study in which they identify strengths and weaknesses of their academic program, school climate, parental involvement, and school leadership. Fillmore High School collaborated on the writing of their self study last spring and this fall and submitted their report to their WASC committee in early October. In the middle of November, a six member WASC team will visit the high school for four days to verify accuracy of the staff report. The six member WASC teams are made up of educators from around California who have expertise in different aspects of high school education. Fillmore High School staff is hoping that the WASC visiting committee will agree that the school is making progress towards improving student achievement and that the committee will award a six year review- the maximum issued by the State of California.

The purpose of the SAIT and WASC programs is to help schools improve their academic and instructional programs. Fillmore High School is committed to improving student achievement and welcomes the evaluations. In the spring, the Fillmore High School staff and leadership team will have an opportunity to review the recommendations of the two programs and develop a plan to continue the improvement process.