Ongoing FOL

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The accreditation process is a perpetual cycle of assessment, planning, implementing, monitoring, and reassessing (self-study, visit, ongoing FOL) as directed and documented in an action plan.
It contains the critical elements of school improvement:

  • Clarity of the school's purpose and expectations for all students
  • The involvement of the school community in self-directed problem solving
  • The opportunity for meaningful dialog to analyze the actual program for students and for collaborative decision-making
  • The use of research-based criteria for analysis
  • Development of a schoolwide action plan designed to help the school better meet its stated purpose and expectations
  • Outside perspective regarding the proposed activities with the Visiting Committee
  • Monitoring progress and refining goals and actions through accreditation reviews and reports
Action Plan


The purpose of the self-study is to make sound decisions about what should be the most beneficial strategic work of the school over the next several years which support the desired learning results and center on each and every student reaching his/her highest potential. Based on its study, staff drafts a "preliminary action plan" within the self-study. This plan may be amended an/or expanded based on the insights from discussion with members of the Visiting Committee. Following the visit, the school refines and implements the action plan with the Leadership Team coordinating this implementation, annual review of progress, and refinement (revision) of the appropriate steps in meeting the goals. WASC recommends that each school have a single plan (by whatever name)! There may need to be implementation guidelines, timelines, or other documents which supplement the basic plan and add detail, however, the one plan is the overall guide. There se are several sources for other looks at either proposals (much like a plan) or plans. A comprehensive plan is comprised of a clearly expressed vision, the methods for developing the vision, the program components, the evaluation design, and a description of how the results will be used to improve the program.

California public schools should use whatever plan meets the requirements of the Single Plan for Student Achievement, using the State's template or some other structure. There's a direct correlation built into the two plans and the work of the self-study.

  • Check the California Department of Education guidelines for the Single Plan for Student Achievement. 
  • Efforts to enhance the linkage between Focus on Learning and the Single Plan for Pupil Achievement continue. Here is the current understanding of how the required elements match between WASC and CDE requirements.  9/02  Here's the same linkage, adding the dimensions required in the Single Plan.  Thanks to Kitty at Orange High School for this enhancement.  Note that the only substantial differences are  the requirement in the Single Plan for annual approval by the school site council/governing board and the inclusion of a budget.

Private and postsecondary schools (as well as California public schools) may use any format which contains the required WASC elements.

Writing an annual summary report based on the big ideas in the action plan will help continue commitment, provide celebrations, and help create progress reports (including Chapter 3 in the next full self-study. Consider including
  • Significant developments at the school/district
  • How well the process for monitoring the plan has functioned. What, if any, changes will be made
  • For individual goals within the plan
    • The goal (something measurable)
    • To what degree was the goal achieved including data that supports this conclusion
  • Lessons learned
  • Changes planned for the next year that will be included in the revised plan
  • How will the change be evaluated?
Making it all work

Treated as a six-year process,

  • Key data should be updated annually and discussed with stakeholders
  • Use an annul progress report to monitor progress schoolwide action plan should be summarized annually, noting key evidence, making necessary refinements or modifications, and celebrating successes in improved student learning
  • Synthesize and complete a three-year progress report to submit to WASC
  • Host a mid-cycle review if this is a condition of the accreditation term granted
  • Periodically, review the schoolwide student goals and school purpose
  • In preparation for the next full self-study, make sure all stakeholders are knowledgeable about
    • current data

    • current student achievement

    • the operating schoolwide action plan

    • all progress reports

  • Using the criteria, examine the program; gather and analyze any additional data/information needed

  • Summarize key findings organized around the categories of criteria

  • Revise the schoolwide action plan to show what will be accomplished during the next five to six years

  • Finalize the "new" self-study report

If the school follows this path, the reports generated will comprise the major portion of the next self-study. Quite different from may schools' current practices!
Some schools continue to use the schoolwide focus groups in the follow-up process. (Generally, the name is changed to something more appropriate to the school culture.) Others choose to move all responsibility to other, existing groups (department chairpersons, curriculum council, faculty senate). Where the school has parent/community advisory groups, they should be involved.
Beyond these thoughts
  • Check in often with your Board and administrative staff (school and next level) as well as regional and state organizations
  • Look for external resources

Self-Study The Visit Ongoing FOL


Copyright 1998-2013 Louise Wright Robertson

Site last modified & updated July 28, 2013