Board should accept Hillside credits

La Cañada High School usually receives the highest level of accreditation. However, in the most recent accreditation review, La Cañada experienced a hiccup. Well, more than a hiccup, actually.

In 2007, La Cañada High received a six-year accreditation with an intermediate three-year revisit — the best accreditation available. The purpose of the revisit was to monitor progress on the improvement plan. The 2010 revisit was not successful. That visiting team required another visit in 2011. La Cañada High successfully completed the 2011 revisit.

If the original accreditation had been for six years with two revisits, many of us would have been stunned. But in effect, that's exactly what happened. This is important for two reasons.

First, the school is working on its next accreditation review now. If you are invited to participate, please do. Accreditation involves a comprehensive self-study. The visiting team then confirms that parents and staff did a meaningful job. Successful accreditation is crucial for college applications and property values.

Second, the school board is considering whether to continue to accept courses for graduation credit from Hillside School and Learning Center’s summer school. Hillside is accredited by the same agency that reviews La Cañada High. Hillside's summer school program has been separately reviewed and has received a strong confirmation of accreditation. Hillside offers smaller class sizes and a more flexible schedule of summer classes, both important to La Cañada families.

As La Cañada High has recently experienced, the accreditation process is not a rubber stamp. There is no other research-based metric that would lead to disqualification of Hillside units. Please join me in urging the school board to continue to accept courses for graduation credit from Hillside and all accredited schools.

Cindy Wilcox
La Cañada Flintridge

Editor's note: The writer is a former member of the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board.

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