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Webb Completes CAIS/WASC Accreditation Process

Taylor Stockdale
Taking stock. This is how it begins—simply though completely. After more than a year of planning, gathering data, meeting, discussing, writing and rewriting—and after a four-day campus stay by our CAIS/WASC visiting committee (California Association of Independent Schools / Western Association of Schools and Colleges)—the evaluation work is done. And, I’m pleased to report that the commendations are many and the recommendations meaningful and aligned with The Centennial Strategic Plan.
 
Our own voluminous self-study was led by Dr. Mark Dzula, director of teaching and learning resources and Dr. Theresa Smith, assistant head of schools, with the assistance of a large and hard-working faculty/staff steering committee. The self-study, begun in January 2017, examined every aspect of school life including teaching and learning, governance, community culture and health, admission, advancement, finance, facilities, and more.
 
As part of this important work, we were asked to report on our progress as a school since our last full accreditation some seven years ago. Since that time, Webb has celebrated a number of milestones, including the successful completion of the $50.4 million Fulfilling Our Promise Campaign. During the campaign the campus saw the creation of the Susan A. Nelson Performing Arts Center, Barbara Mott McCarthy Aquatics Center, four new faculty homes, new science laboratories and classrooms, a new technology infrastructure and so much more. In addition, we have also completed a Campus Master Plan, The Centennial Strategic Plan, and redesigned our curriculum to include a variety of new academic partnerships with faculty at Harvey Mudd College, UCR, and elsewhere. And still other projects include the purchase of the adjacent 80-acre hillside property to the north and east of campus, doubling the size of campus. It’s a deep and impressive list of good work involving the entire Webb community. 
 
Yesterday, as part of this accreditation process, the visiting committee offered the Webb community a “read out” of their draft report—highlighting a set of commendations and recommendations. Their commendations were nearly embarrassingly rich, and included praise for our board of trustees, faculty, students, innovative curriculum, strategic planning and more. Their major recommendations, of which there were only three, were very thoughtful—urging us to continue to study and strengthen our unique coordinate structure, our sustainability plans and practices, and finally to examine closely our admission goals related to the composition of our student body.  
 
Though the final report and its accompanying accreditation won’t be presented to us until later this spring, I wanted to say now that I am so very proud of our self-study work and preparation. And I want to thank everyone in the community that participated, especially our steering committee and our authors and editors.
 
CAIS/WASC Steering Committee: Taylor Stockdale, Head of Schools; Theresa Smith, Assistant Head of Schools; Tracy Miller, Director of Studies; Kevin Quick, Science Faculty & WSC Dorm Head; Ben Farrell, Dean of WSC; Helen Lawrence, Dean of VWS (Michelle Gerken, Interim Dean of VWS, and now Sarah Lantz, Dean of VWS), Janet Peddy, Director of Finance, Planning & Operations; and Mark Dzula, Director of Teaching & Learning.
 
Authors & Editors: Claire Abisalih, Will Allan, Dutch Barhydt, Melanie Bauman, Lisa Blomberg, Elizabeth Cantwell, Sonsoles Cardalliaguet, Kameha Dixon, Kevin Doyle, Rick Duque, Jamila Everett, Andy Farke, Bob Fass, Greg Gerken, Steve Hutzell, Don Lofgren, Sally Mingarelli, Shavonne Munnlyn, Andrew Neyer, Scott Nichols, Rona Pangilinan, Tina Paredes, Daniel Rios, Rachelle Sesma, Jeff Stodgel, Michael Szanyi, Laura Wensley, and Joe Woodward.
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