San Marin passes WASC evaluation with positive report

On Apr. 26 and 27, 2021, San Marin was evaluated, receiving a promising report from WASC shortly after. The Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC), reviews schools and colleges to confirm they are valid and effective educational programs.

As San Marin was preparing for the evaluation, Vice Principal Michael Casper was confident throughout the process because of San Marin’s preparation. Many teachers also felt prepared due to the guidance and leadership from Principal Mark Sims. 

“We have been working as a staff for the past three or four years about writing our 180 page report,” College and Career Readiness teacher Dennis Davis said. “Dr. Sims was really good at dividing up the work and making sure every teacher had a voice and that every teacher knew what was going on.”

San Marin did not always do well on the assessments from WASC. Six years ago San Marin was put on probation for many reasons, one being their English Language Learner program. It was not at the standards expected for such a program, but today the report showed great progress for San Marin and its students. 

“Our English Language Learners program was not good at the last WASC visit, but we are doing much better now because we are doing what they told us to do, and we put plans in place,” Casper said.

Although the initial report from WASC is to be sent to another team that will decide the final grade, it was a breath of relief for the staff. 

“I read their report that they provided us, and it is pretty good based on my experience with WASC,” Casper said.

 The Equity Group at San Marin has been working diligently to create an atmosphere that ensures all people’s needs are met and everyone is represented. WASC was pleased, encouraged, and impressed by the Equity Group, along with the work they have done to create an anti-racist environment.  

“From going into classrooms this year and observing how kids are handling conversations in socratic seminars about racial injustice is telling me that the teachers and adults are really preparing the students to discuss it and have these conversations,” Casper said.

Another thing that was well reported was the way San Marin dealt with the pandemic. “We were knocking on their doors, we were calling them, we were getting inside the homes and talking to the parents and doing emergency meetings,¨ Casper said. ¨Failure was not an option for San Marin High School and our kids.¨

WASC also looks at the schools test scores to confirm students are really learning. Although San Marin does fairly well on most tests and assessments, compared to other Marin schools, their scores are not as high. Casper and Sims discussed this and are working to make progress in this area.

For now, San Marin’s grade is unknown, however it is looking positive. The next WASC visit is determined by this score, but is not expected for another few years.

Stefania Bitton
Junior Kylie Voelker holds IPad for WASC visit. Students virtually guide WASC through San Marin’s classrooms in order for them to make an official report on the school.

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