WASC Accreditation

WASC accreditation is a process schools use to monitor student learning and set school improvement goals. Every six years, Leigh is required to renew its accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). A self-study process is required for this accreditation. This process helps us write an action plan for the kinds of changes that will help our school continue to thrive.

In 2017 our school completed the process of renewing our accreditation through WASC. In the few years preceding this time our staff members, parents and students had meetings to complete the Focus on Learning report that the WASC Visiting Committee reviewed to determine our accreditation. The final step in this process was when the Visiting Committee spent multiple days on our campus and in our classrooms to confirm what we wrote in our report. The Visiting Committee is comprised of administrators and teachers from other school districts throughout California. In 2017, this committee granted Leigh the highest accreditation status. 

In the Fall of 2021, we are having our three year mid-cycle review. The goal is to determine if we are on the correct path to achieving our goals set forth in our original WASC plan. Parent involvement is crucial as we review this plan, and we encourage you to join the parent focus group where you will be able to share your experience here at Leigh and provide feedback for improvement.
Learn More About WASC
Accreditation is a seal of approval that serves as a mark of institutional quality and organizational coherence. Schools voluntarily enter into the accreditation process in order to improve the quality of their programs and operations through intense self-evaluation.
Leigh has been fully accredited since its opening. After our 2017 accreditation visit, we were awarded the highest accreditation status from the WASC Commission.
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is responsible for the accreditation of public and private schools in California, Hawaii, and the Pacific Basin region as well as other parts of the world. Its full name is the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges. WASC also works with organizations such as the California Department of Education and the International Baccalaureate.
WASC-accredited schools must demonstrate that they (1) have a focused mission and goals for student learning; (2) are effectively organized; (3) have mechanisms in place to monitor student performance; (3) allow students to have a voice in the direction of the school; (3) possess a qualified faculty; (4) have the ability to regularly and collaboratively assess the quality of their educational programs; and (5) have a plan for the future.


Schools applying for WASC accreditation must typically lay out a series of strategic goals related to areas such as student learning and achievement, professional development, or collaboration between school administrators and staff and monitor their progress in reaching these milestones.


This is followed by periodic visits by a WASC evaluation team that will assess the school using guidelines that focus on:
  • The level of student achievement;
  • The capacity of the school to implement, monitor, and accomplish its strategic plan;
  • How well the strategic plan targets resources to areas that most impact student learning;
  • Information contained in the school’s own self-evaluation; and
  • The school’s status in relation to the expectations of institutional or governing authorities.
  • The evaluation team will then make recommendations to WASC on the level of accreditation the school should receive.
The accreditation process has three main phases.
First, the school engages in a "self-study" to examine and evaluate its entire academic and extra-curricular program. During the self-study, the school writes an action plan with measurable goals that it can work toward completing, and it compiles a report with descriptions of how it is meeting WASC's accreditation criteria and provides supporting evidence.
Second, WASC sends a Visiting Committee to the school to validate the contents of the self-study report. The committee observes classes; talks to staff, parents, and students; and verifies that the self-study report is honest and complete. They write a Visiting Committee Report with their observations and make a confidential recommendation to the WASC Commission about the school's accreditation status.
Finally, the WASC Commission meets quarterly and reviews Visiting Committee Reports and recommendations to determine each school's official accreditation status, and the school is notified.
WASC may grant any one of three levels of accreditation to schools: 6-year accreditation, probationary accreditation, or no accreditation. 
Six-year accreditation status is a six-year term and is typically awarded when a school successfully demonstrates that it has the capacity, commitment, and competence to support high-quality student learning and ongoing school improvement. Almost all schools with a 6-year accreditation status receive a mid-term visit from a Visiting Committee at the 3-year mark.
Probationary accreditation status may be granted for either one or two years and is typically assigned to schools when there is “compelling evidence that ... the school deviates significantly from one or more critical areas requiring immediate attention and support." Schools on probation are fully accredited and may be excellent schools in many ways; however, there is at least one area that the Visiting Committee feels cannot wait three or more years for the school to address.
WASC may withhold accreditation when "there is compelling evidence that the school does not meet one or more of the ACS WASC criteria and deviates significantly in critical areas that impact student learning and well-being, the school’s program, and supporting operations." When an accreditation status is withheld, the school is no longer an accredited institution. This is rare, and schools will typically go through many probationary cycles without significant improvement before accreditation status is withheld.
Leigh High School Self-Study Reports

Self-Study Reports from prior years: 2008-2017
WASC Visiting Committee Reports

WASC Visiting Committee Reports from prior years: 2008-2017