Scholar & Athlete
Tracy High gets best accreditation possibleTuesday, April 19, 2011 By Jude Soriano
By Jude Soriano Staff Reporter News that Tracy High received accreditation for six more years was met with cheers and applause by staff. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) gave the school a full term, six years with a mid-term review. “According to WASC, this result is harder to come by,” Paul Demsher, the WASC coordinator at Tracy High, said. “Most terms are three-year terms now.” Principal Jason Noll made the announcement at a staff meeting in February. “The six-year term shows the caliber of the kids and teachers and that things are going well here,” Noll said. “If you don't have your accreditation, nothing here counts. Colleges won't accept you so it's a big deal.” A committee from WASC visited Tracy High last November to review the school in multiple areas, including students' academic growth, effectiveness of teaching, rigor of classes, and method of using assessments. Nothing in the report from WASC seemed to be surprising, Noll said. “They didn't really tell us anything that we didn't know ourselves,” Noll said. “They said the things that we need to work on and the things that we have been working on.” There are several ways through which the school is trying to close an achievement gap, present at the school. “There continues to be an achievement gap between the English learners, our special education population, and our socioeconomically disadvantaged with the rest of our student body,” Demsher said. Some of the things that are going on on a daily basis, Demsher said, are the preparation for final exams, teachers motivating their students to improve their benchmark test scores, writing daily or weekly objectives at the front of the room, and focusing more on the expected school wide learning results (ESLRs). WASC mentioned the need for the counseling department to better disseminate information to students, Demsher said. “The counseling department improved this school year no doubt,” Demsher said. Tasks that were included in the WASC report include developing a tutoring schedule for core classes, train students to be ready for the work after high school, and to inform parents of unsuccessful students about study skills and strategies for academic success.