Thursday, October 8 , 2015, 12:23 pm | Partly Cloudy 71º

Orcutt Academy High School Earns Accreditation

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

Orcutt Academy High School has earned six more years of academic accreditation after completing its first-ever charter-renewal process.

The Orcutt Union School District, which governs the dependent charter high school with about 500 students, was notified on Thursday that it will be fully accredited through 2019 after receiving approval from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, said Joe Dana, district director of charter programs.

The announcement came at the conclusion of a two-year process.

A select group of parents, staff and students at the high school conducted a self-study, and then were visited Sept. 30 through Oct. 3 by members of WASC, which provides accreditation to schools that meet an acceptable level of quality.

Schools must renew a charter every five years, and Orcutt reached its five-year mark this year, since the charter opened in 2008 with the high school and a K-8 Casmalia campus and an independent study program.

The school’s self-study included surveys of students, staff and parents; a detailed analysis of data on student achievement, program participation and school demographics; a statement of the school’s critical academic needs; and development of a school action plan for improvement, according to Dana.

WASC will plan to make a one-day visit to Orcutt Academy High — the district’s lone high school — to follow up on the school’s action plan.

Principal Ted Lyon said the approval is just another validation that the high school has become a successful local education option.

“We’re doing what we need to do as a high school,” Lyon told Noozhawk. “It’s an intense self-review.”

He said the WASC committee cited 15 areas of institution strengths, including acceptance of students, parent involvement and teacher care of students.

“The element of choice has made a huge difference,” Lyon said. 

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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