Five L.A. Unified middle schools have received initial accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), a stamp of approval that reflects the quality of the education they are providing, as well as their capacity to improve.

Rudecinda Sepulveda Dodson, Robert Frost, Irving STEAM Magnet, Young Oak Kim Academy and Stephen M. White Middle schools were notified late Thursday of their accreditation through June 30, 2019. They are the first middle schools in the District to receive approval from WASC. The private, nonprofit accreditation agency has established a process that requires schools to demonstrate their capacity, commitment and competence of all school stakeholders to support high-quality student learning and ongoing school improvements.

Currently, all L.A. Unified high schools are accredited by WASC.

“I am so proud of the middle schools for taking this ambitious step, which reflects their commitment to excellence and their desire to build on their success,” said Superintendent Michelle King.

“This pioneering group of middle school leaders engaged in a rigorous review and have received confirmation of their achievement,” she said. “I congratulate each of the schools and thank them for their hard work on behalf of our students and families.”

The initial accreditation was awarded based on information provided by the school, as well as a site visit by WASC officials. The  Accreditation Commission considered criteria that provided a foundation for educational quality: curriculum, instruction, assessments, organization and school culture, and support for the personal and academic growth of students.

Over the next two years, the middle schools will complete a self-assessment of their success in maintaining high-quality programs, and their progress in meeting WASC recommendations for improvement. Successful completion of this rigorous process will earn the schools six-year accreditation from WASC.

In addition to the five campuses, Florence Nightingale Middle School received candidacy status, an indication that it has achieved initial recognition and is progressing toward accreditation, but that additional criteria must be met. Schools are normally expected to apply for full accreditation by the third year of candidacy.