The Cottonwood High School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), an organization providing accreditation of public and private universities, colleges, and secondary and elementary schools in California. You can view our WASC accreditation letter below.

What is WASC?

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is one of six official academic bodies responsible for the accreditation of public and private universities, colleges, secondary and elementary schools in the United States and foreign institutions of American origin. Schools go through the WASC accreditation process every six years. During this process, schools must conduct a self study that examines all aspects of a school including organization, vision for learning, curriculum, assessment, instructional strategies and school climate and culture. This self study examines data from a variety of sources and produces a detailed report that highlights both the successes and the critical needs of students and provides an action plan for continued improvement. Students, staff, parents, and teachers all play a critical role in the self study process. At the end of the six year cycle, a WASC accreditation team visits the school, reviews the school’s self study report, meets the faculty, students and parents, visits classrooms and prepares its report and recommendations for the school.

Where are we?

In August of 2020 the ACS WASC Commissioners determined The Cottonwood School (TK-12) met the ACS WASC criteria for accreditation, through June 30, 2023. This decision was based on all of the information provided by the school, including the school’s report, and the satisfactory completion of the accreditation visit. TCS is in the process for preparing for the follow-up WASC visit Spring of 2023. The WASC process is an ongoing practice of self-reflection and growth.   You can find the committee’s full report and our accreditation letter linked in this page.

The WASC process is designed to allow us to go through an in-depth self-study of our school, focusing specifically on organization, curriculum, instruction, assessment, and school culture. We take a close look specifically at our high school students and their success. In addition, we identify and reflect on our progress towards our student learner outcomes (SLOs). The WASC cycle includes targeting our areas of strength and areas of growth and the creation of an action plan to address those areas to increase student achievement.

When a school becomes accredited, it:

• Certifies to the public that the school is a trustworthy institution of learning.
• Validates the integrity of a school’s program and student transcripts.
• Fosters improvement of the school’s program and operations to support student learning.
• Assures a school community that the school’s purposes are appropriate and being accomplished through a viable educational program.
• WASC accreditation is important because the military often requires applicants to be from accredited schools and many school districts and universities will only accept credits from WASC accredited schools.
• Allows high school students’ courses, grades, and units to be accepted at more colleges and universities after graduation.