WASC praises administration, student cohesion


Jessica Lu, staff writer
Beverly received results of the 2013 Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) school evaluation during the School Board meeting on May 28. The full, 41-page report assessed Beverly in several categories, with data coming from observations, questioning, surveys and other factors. Toward the end of the report, WASC highlighted the school-wide areas of strength and critical areas for follow-up. Beverly received a six-year clearance with one midterm followup.
WASC Coordinator Michelle Halimi expressed that the report was primarily favorable.
“I thought it was extremely positive and it was one of the best ones we’ve had in a long time,” she said. “WASC gave us–students, parents, teachers, administrators–an opportunity to self reflect,” Student Board Member Jason Friedman said. “Here in schools we don’t get enough feedback, which is important especially for a school.”
The WASC board complimented the cohesiveness of the administrative team, citing its commitment to the “Mission, Vision and ESLRs of the school,” according to the report.
“I think we have an administrative team that works together,” Halimi said. “We work together to make the school the best that it could be.”
The report also commended the “challenging” curriculum and the high level of motivation among students.
“I definitely agree that Beverly fosters a competitively friendly environment,” junior Eli Eshaghian said. “I feel the need to do well, not only to keep up with my peers but also to meet my own standards.”
For areas in need of “follow-up,” WASC suggested that the ESLRs may need to be revised or rewritten and that student adherement needs a form of measurement.
“[WASC is] saying, ‘You guys are a great school, but one of the things that you could work on as we come to expect more, is to developing the culture and society at the school, and having a way to measure it,’” Friedman said. “Any time you can measure something, you can fix it.”
WASC also identified students’ mathematics as an area of improvement. The math dept. began to consider ways to address this issue.
“Our goal is to work on building basic skills so that students have the foundation to continue their math education successfully,” Math Dept. Chair Jane Wortman said. “One goal is to better place students to ensure that students are actually in a class where they have a chance of succeeding. We’ll be asking more probing questions so we’ll better know whether or not we’re successful.”
Friedman pinpoints student involvement as crucial to meeting WASC’s recommendations.
“Student involvement is key,” he said. It’s the way to solve the problems that involve the students, by the students.”
Beverly has developed an “Action Plan” designed specifically to address the WASC report over the next six years.