SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Sept. 18, 2012, the Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE) approved a Department of Education (DOE) five-year project to ensure all public schools are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Accreditation was only required for secondary schools and colleges, but with this new requirement, the Hawaii DOE aims for its 159 elementary schools to be fully accredited by school year 2018-19.

-- Progress continues
Hale Kula and Shafter Elementary schools have been accredited since 2009, and they hold that honor of being one of those special elementary schools to receive the WASC accreditation before the BOE/DOE Strategic Plan was implemented.

Wheeler Elementary and Solomon Elementary schools have gone through their initial visit by the WASC accreditation team and will be revisited for 3-4 days, so the team can observe the school in full operation (in school year 2016-17).

All of the other off-post, Army-impacted elementary schools are going through the same process.

"We used the WASC accreditation as an ongoing school improvement process that assists us in an in-depth look at what currently exists … and what needs to be improved in relation to student learning and our school's program," said Sherry Yamada, principal, Webling Elementary School.

"It involves the school in conducting a rigorous self-study compared to a set of research-based criteria," she continued. "It certifies to the public that our school is a trustworthy institution of learning, validates the integrity of our school's programs and student transcripts, fosters improvement of the school's programs and operations to support student learning, assures our school community that our school's purposes are appropriate and accomplished through a viable educational program, and lastly, a school has a way to manage change through regular assessment, planning, implementing, and monitoring and reassessment."

The stated goal targets May 26, 2016, as a time when parents, students and community members can be assured that our Army-impacted elementary schools have met the educational quality of programs and services sanctioned by the WASC. It will reflect high standards of quality, progress and depth.

"The Hawaii Department of Education has embarked on a journey to ensure that all of our schools are in structured professional dialogue about what it will take for all students to have access to high-quality teaching and learning," said Ann Mahi, superintendent, Hawaii DOE Complex Area. "(This includes) positive and supportive school environments, and opportunities and programs that support college and career readiness and the engagement of families and community in the education of the children. In order to accomplish this, the WASC accreditation process has been implemented."

(Note: The SLO, CYS, is part of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.)