Committee finds high school is meeting goals

A committee from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges visited Westwood High Thursday, April 25 to follow-up on the school’s progress on the implementation of its goals. According to Michael Altenburg, superintendent/principal, the team was pleased with what they found.

A written report on the team’s findings will be sent to the school after Altenburg completes one request. Committee members have asked that the format for the documentation of the progress on goals be more streamlined, listing the action to be taken, the responsible party, the beginning date, due date, resources, outcome and evaluation methods. Currently the analysis is in a narrative format with supporting data.

Members of the visiting team were Christine McCormick, director of Student Support Services and Communication for Sutter County Office of Education, and Sara Sheridan, principal of Portola JR/SR High School.

The team arrived at 10 a.m. and met with Altenburg as well as members of Westwood’s team consisting of Louise Biggs, Josie Gibbs and Malinda Duerksen. From 10:30 a.m. to noon they visited classrooms. The visit concluded with a lunch meeting to debrief.

Following are the goals on which the school district is working:

  • Facilitate optimal student learning by creating a culture of problem solvers and critical thinkers; focusing on reading fluency and comprehension, written communication, mathematical fluency, computation and application; and describing clearly “what” students should learn, “where” every student is in regard to their learning and “how” ongoing student learning is supported.
  • Prepare students for their next level, which encompasses the next grade or course, high school graduation, trade/technical training, college/university and career.
  • Make our schools a place where students, parents and staff want to be by providing a welcoming atmosphere, a supportive environment, safe surrounds and well-maintained and sufficient facilities.

Westwood High School received a six-year accreditation in 2015 from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and was required to undergo a review before the end of the third year of the six-year accreditation cycle. The April 2019 visit was a follow-up on the mid-cycle review.

There are many reasons why Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation is important. California’s university system only accepts students who have completed the college prep course list at an accredited school; Cal Grants are only given to students from accredited schools; military recruiters expect their applicants to be from accredited schools; and many school districts have policies in place to only accept transfer credits from accredited schools.