For a school to know if it is providing a high quality education for its students, it must be evaluated by outside organizations which establish how well a school is doing. At Dalat we are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association of Christian Schools International (ASCI). This means that we must show evidence of achieving standards that they have developed. This is done through a self-study report sent to the organizations and an accreditation visit by a committee of educators who determine if we are meeting the standards established.
This self-study/re-accreditation is a rigorous, time-consuming, and self-evaluative process that takes about one year to complete. It requires that every staff member participate in one of numerous committees which take a look at our school in areas ranging from curriculum and teacher standards to specific aspects like security, maintenance, etc. These committees use the prescribed standards set by these organizations to evaluate how well we are meeting them. It involves numerous assessment tools and tasks that give the school and accreditation team an honest picture of how well the school is doing. It’s a worthy process that brings about improvements in the school and holds us accountable to maintaining high standards.
This week we had our visit by the accreditation team which had five members from North America and South East Asia. The visiting team included a curriculum coordinator from Yongsan International School in Korea, two heads of schools (one from Japan and one from China), a retired administrator from a California school district, and one of the vice presidents of ACSI itself. During the week they meet with 8 different groups (Board, PTO, administrators, etc.), observed and or interviewed all of the teaching staff, talked with over 170 students and evaluated each and every program at Dalat. From their visit they will produce a 50+ page report that gives us both commendations on what we are doing well and recommendations for improvement. Dalat has been accredited by WASC for thirty-six years (one of the longest in the South East Asian Region) and we are very confident that we will receive another full term from them and ACSI as well.
The process itself has been a challenging one but rewarding in many ways. Through the self-study we have taken an honest look at our school and set goals for us to improve in a number of areas. We are excited for the honest feedback that will be given by the visiting committee and will share it with the community when we receive it later in the semester.