by Giff Johnson, Marshall Islands Journal, March 22, 2013
Last week’s mid-term progress assessment of Majuro Cooperative School by a two-person Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation team can be best summed up as an A+ for the local school.
Highlighting areas to celebrate, Joe Laturnau from Hawaii and Dr. Gayle Hendricks from Guam pointed to the administration of the school, its strong teaching force, the support from the PTA and the community, and even the school cafeteria and the lunches provided.
“I’ve conducted 20 WASC visits throughout the region since 1996 and this school is one that sticks out for me,” Laturnau said during an exit report Thursday. “The School’s action plans are focused on the expected school-wide learning results — they are clear, focused, results oriented, and they are one of the best plans I’ve ever seen.”
Coop was awarded a six-year accreditation status in 2010 and based on the mid-term report prepared by the school, the WASC team noted significant progress has been made. “Our only recommendation is we have no recommendation,” said Laturnau. “Keep doing what you are doing.”
A key issue in accreditation for all schools is the use of data to evaluate student progress and to make improvements in student learning. Hendricks heaped praise on Coop in this area. “You are not just collecting data and putting it on a shelf to collect dust,” said Hendricks. “We see you are using this data. You are measuring progress, analyzing it, and making instructional improvements now.”
Hendricks also commented on another area that impressed her during the one-day visit to the school. “The kids initiated conversations and their curiosity was refreshing,” she said.
The report from the WASC team will go to the accrediting body’s full commission, which traditionally meets in June to review reports on the status of schools in the western states of the US, Hawaii and the US-affiliated Pacific islands.