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​​​​All archdiocesan schools, all parish schools​, and most private schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles​ are accredited through the co-accreditation process of the Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Six private high schools are accredited through the California Association of Independent Schools; this accreditation is recognized by WCEA and WASC.

All schools are accredited on a six-year cycle.

3.1.3.1 Western Catholic Educational Association

The Western Catholic Educational Association (​WCEA) is a private educational agency established under the auspices of the bishops of the Catholic dioceses of California for the purpose of school improvement and accreditation. Through an executive director, WCEA is administered centrally for all member dioceses. It accredits Catholic schools in California as well as in other states and U.S. territories. WCEA has established standards for evaluating the Catholic identity in schools.

3.1.3.2 Western Association of Schools and Colleges

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (​WASC), a regional non-governmental group that the U.S. Department of Education recognizes as an accrediting agency for schools, provides institutional accreditation of public and private elementary schools, high schools, and post-secondary schools. In cooperation with WASC, WCEA is the accrediting association for all Catholic schools in the archdiocese, whether archdiocesan, parish, or private.

3.1.3.3 Accreditation Process

WCEA and WASC​ formally cooperate in accrediting Catholic schools. WCEA commissioners of the archdiocese facilitate the program of accreditation for the archdiocese and participate as members of the overall WCEA commission. WCEA participates in the review and recommendation process. The fundamental goal of WCEA is school improvement. The processes for school improvement, as carried out through the combined efforts of WCEA, WASC, and the local diocese and school community, result in a term of joint accreditation granted by WCEA and WASC. Terms of accreditation are granted upon evidence of acceptable quality and the progress each school makes toward achieving its full potential for the particular student body it serves.

School accreditation is a means used by WCEA and WASC to:

  • Foster excellence in elementary school and high school education

  • Encourage school improvement through a process of continuous self-study and evaluation

  • Assure a school and its publics that the school has clearly defined and appropriate educational goals and has established conditions that promote achievement of those goals currently and in the future

  • ​Identify a school as having unique and appropriate purposes and goals and possessing the means to accomplish them

  • Assure that a school meets formally approved criteria for the operation of a quality school

  • Provide a form of recognition by an external agency that assures that a school is associated with an educational institution committed to quality and ongoing school improvement based on self-assessment and planning

3.1.3.4 Role of the Department of Catholic Schools

The Department of Catholic Schools participates in the policy formulation and administration of the evaluation-accreditation process through its representation on the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA) Elementary Commission and Secondary Commission. The Department of Catholic Schools, through the designated elementary commissioners and secondary commissioners for the archdiocese, also assists all Catholic schools in the accreditation process by:

  • Reviewing the philosophy and learning expectations of each school in connection with the preparation required in the accreditation process

  • Providing services prior to the visit from WCEA and WASC​, such as curriculum reviews and studies of administrative structures and school budgets

  • Ensuring that schools make progress on the WCEA and WASC Visiting Committee reports of critical areas for follow-up by requiring the schools to submit regular statements to the Department of Catholic Schools

 3.1.3.5 Role of the Schools

The school leadership and staff are committed to the accreditation process and believe in its ability to improve the school and effect change. Every school establishes a long-term process that ensures a collaborative planning process in anticipation of accreditation and that encompasses reviewing, prioritizing, and implementing the recommendations from WCEA and WASC into the school's action plan. The long-term process commences with the last WCEA and WASC visit and extends to the next accreditation review. The school administration organizes the review of all the critical areas for follow-up. The accreditation preparation should be the result of collaboration by the entire school community.

3.1.3.6 Role of the Visiting Committee for Schools

After the self-study process is complete, a Visiting Committee of professional educators visits the school to validate the information and reports provided by the school. The Visiting Committee writes a report that reflects key areas of strength and critical areas for follow-up and submits a confidential justification statement for a recommended term. These materials are submitted to the WCEA commission for review and deliberation. The commission then grants status of accreditation and any basis for interim review and assessment.


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