AVENAL — Avenal High School received good news last week that highlighted the school's work toward student success.
The school received a six-year accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – the highest level of accreditation a school can receive.
“I think it’s a big step forward for [Avenal High],” said Reef-Sunset Unified School District’s Superintendent David East. “They put a lot of things in place. I am real pleased.”
A six-year accreditation means that educators are maintaining the schoolwide action plan of giving students a high-quality education, East said.
When East came to the district in 2010, Avenal High had a 1-year accreditation – the lowest level a school can receive. The school has progressed from the one-year and then two- and three-year accreditations, East said.
During the accreditation process, the school is required to participate in an intensive self-study that looks at strengths and weakness and then followed by a visitation from educators outside of the district. Avenal High had its visitation in February in which students, staff and parents met with the visiting team to talk about their experiences at the school.
From there, the committee submitted a recommendation to the association for accreditation or non-accreditation.
“Not only does [accreditation] tell the school that it is pointed in the right direction, it tells the community as well,” East said.
Universities also require that students submit transcripts from WASC accredited high schools for admittance.
“We have done a lot to improve the school, said Principal Juan Ruiz in a previous statement. “We have changed our graduation requirements, provided technology access to students and given them opportunities to gain college units through dual enrollment programs with West Hills College.”
Starting in the fall of 2015, Avenal High students were able to take college-level general education courses and specialized science and agricultural courses taught by West Hills College teachers in Avenal High School classrooms.
Ruiz said the accreditation process is ongoing and the school will have a mid-cycle visit in three years to evaluate the school's performance to maintain accreditation.
“We are pleased that the school’s accreditation is until June 2022,” he said.
According to the California Department of Education, Avenal High serves more than 660 students and has a graduation rate of 83.6 percent.
“We still have much to do to meet the needs of all students,” Ruiz said. “This accomplishment couldn’t have happened without the support of the staff and community. Congratulations to Avenal High School on this greatest accomplishment.”