by Tiffany Kwong, Operations Manager
We did it! After months of research, analysis, and reporting, we are pleased to share with you the fantastic news that IEA’s programs are officially accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ASC WASC)! The Commission now recognizes IEA as a Supplementary Educational Program/Center, granting a six-year accreditation status through June 2022. This accomplishment is a huge source of pride for us.
First of all, WASC is one of only six regional accreditation agencies in the United States. These agencies are non-profit, non-governmental organizations that determine whether educational institutions fulfill the Commission’s well-defined set of standards regarding performance and operation. Accreditation is a voluntary process that ensures public trust in an educational institution and its ability to deliver high-quality services. Accredited schools and educational centers undergo a cyclical process of self-regulation and self-evaluation, which emphasizes that organizations like IEA consistently fulfill its mission and goals through high-quality, student-centered programming; maintain a qualified and well-trained staff; and regularly evaluate whether it is meeting the needs and expectations of its students.
We are proud of this recognition, but the process of applying for accreditation was no easy feat. We crafted an in-depth self-study report, which involved thoroughly collecting and synthesizing data–lots of it. Some of it dating back to 1998! You know–those pre-, mid-, and post-program surveys we always ask you to complete? We actually review and analyze them in detail, and your evaluations were fundamental in our efforts to demonstrate the impact and effectiveness of our programs.
We also spent a great deal of time reflecting on the past, present, and future of IEA’s programs and the organization as a whole. Among the many aspects of WASC that IEA values the most is the Commission’s philosophy behind its continuous cycle of improvement, which essentially requires us to evaluate our programs, develop strategic plans for improving them, and then modifying our programs to reflect these changes, thereby ensuring that we meet or exceed the standards of quality and expectations of our community.
In addition to a self-study evaluation, we completed a thorough site visit by WASC representatives, which involved an assessment of our offices and classrooms, examination of our programs including curricula and materials, as well as multiple formal and informal meetings with staff members, instructors, parents, and students.
It was a rigorous, but rewarding experience and we are grateful to everyone who helped us throughout the process. Thank you, brilliant instructors and mentors, for going above and beyond the call of duty and sharing your experiences of working with IEA. Thank you, parents and students, for your faithful support and for graciously volunteering your time and your feedback. We would also like to tip our hats to Louise Hindle, who spearheaded the entire accreditation process, pouring countless hours into compiling resources and crafting the final report. Lastly, we thank WASC for recognizing our work and the value of our efforts. We are deeply committed to upholding not only the high standards of the Commission, but those of our community as well. Cheers!
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