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The View From Here

The View From Here: Re-accreditation Self-Study Done!

by Janet Durgin, Head of School
This week we completed our yearlong self-study process required by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) and the Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC). Today's View from Here pic is Lily and Ellie, who led the process, high-fiving right after Lily hit submit!
 
In order to maintain our accreditation status, every 6-7 years we must undergo a deep process of self-reflection in the form of the self-study. The self-study is a set of about 135 questions ranging from our approach to teaching and learning to our safety procedures, from our governance structure to our financial management processes, from our admissions policies and practices to our use of data, and everything in between. 
 
For the past year, we—and by we, I mean the entire admin team, our whole faculty, our Board of Trustees, and various program directors (like our Director of Information Science, Director of Academic Services, Director of Student Support, and Director of Connections)—have been meeting in big and small groups to review the questions, brainstorm our responses, and draft and revise the narrative. In addition to creating a 135-page document, we also compiled seven years worth of data that spanned everything from website metrics to fundraising dollars to admissions stats, as well as dozens of supporting documents.
 
While this process was a lot of work, it offered us a meaningful opportunity to reflect on the past seven years, as well as to articulate our ideas and plans for the future. We were reaffirmed in our strengths as a connected, collaborative community devoted to creative and innovative teaching and programs. Though much of what we identified in the self-study was not unknown to us, it is always valuable to articulate clearly areas of strength and improvement.
 
The next step in our accreditation process is to host a visiting committee organized by CAIS. A group of four to seven independent school professionals will spend four days on campus in late February. They will be thoroughly reviewing our self-study, as well as meeting with and interviewing various constituents of the school, probably including a group of parents. Their visit will culminate in a report that they will read at Community Meeting.
 
Our accreditation process is one of the ways that we open ourselves up to the evaluation and assessment of an outside organization—ensuring that we continually engage in reflection, as well as the process to always be delivering our best to you and our students.
 
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Sonoma Academy is the only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On our beautiful campus nestled at the base of Taylor Mountain in Southeastern Santa Rosa, our students are able to explore their interests and passions in a rigorous and inspiring environment that develops a lifelong love of learning and prepares them for college and beyond.