SET High Praised for Academic Rigor, School Culture During WASC-Accreditation

One SET High student stands with her arms around two others, smiling. One student holds a volleyball in her hands

SET High Praised for Academic Rigor, School Culture During WASC-Accreditation

What does it mean to be WASC-Accredited and how does the School for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SET High) score? We nailed it during the WASC-Accreditation assessment this year, in our school culture and academic rigor! As a tuition-free public high school in San Diego, and a California Distinguished School, SET High is proud to be the school for brilliant minds inventing and innovating, creative collaborators, and highly motivated learners. What’s the big deal about WASC-Accreditation? 

What is the WASC-Accreditation Process?

WASC-Accreditation in California requires a long-term commitment from the school and ACS WASC to measure each unique school against their student-focused achievement goals. It ensures that there is accountability and a standard process to create a roadmap for schoolwide success. It’s no cakewalk. It’s a pretty intense process and we at SET High took our visit from WASC very seriously. 

WASC investigates 20 Accreditation Factors, such as Vision and Purpose, Student Engagement in Challenging and Relevant Learning Experiences, Rigorous and Relevant Standards-Based Curriculum, Governance, Resources and Equity to name a few. They rank each of the criteria as: Highly Effective, Effective, Somewhat Effective, or Ineffective. SET High ranked Highly Effective in most of the categories. We’re extremely proud of our school. We’re proud of our faculty and staff who maintain high expectations and deliver rigorous content to the whole student (highly effective), our governing board (highly effective), and the involvement of SET parents and community (highly effective). Most importantly, we are proud that WASC saw a lot of happy students! 

What is Academic Rigor and Why is it Important?

Setting academic standards for students, supporting them to advance toward the desired achievement level, and recognizing their accomplishments are all critical components of academic rigor. Academic rigor encourages students to engage, think, and apply their knowledge, instead of simply memorizing information fed to them by a teacher. Rigor is important for students to reach their own personal level, learn how to think for themselves, problem solve, and collaborate to achieve their personal learning goals. 

One SET parent reported to our Principal and Founder, Dr. Neil McCurdy, that they were “pleasantly surprised” at the “quality and rigor” of the academics at SET. They knew that their son was going to a safe and accepting school, but noted that the academic rigor exceeded expectations. 

What Did WASC Find and Say?

In their 52 page report, WASC expressed how impressed they were that faculty and students were all aligned with schoolwide standards, expectations, and goals. In a presentation they provided to the students, WASC indicated on multiple occasions that the positive culture that they witnessed at SET is rare to find in any other school.  At one point WASC said that they had never seen this level of acceptance in any school. 

SET High was also given credit for the following:

  • Our curriculum is designed to build real-world knowledge and problem solving skills, chosen for relevancy, student interest, and cultural relevance.
  • Our 4×4 schedule is effectively broadening student exposure to a wide variety of topics.
  • We support each student and assure their success upon graduation.
  • Our unique electives encourage students to pursue interests that could potentially lead to careers or higher education.
  • Connection and collaboration with students, faculty, staff, and families are further enhanced with our CoreTV.
  • Our seniors outperformed the state and district averages in the California Science Test (CAST).
  • 94% of our graduates will attend a 2 – 4 year college.
  • Passion-fueled learning contributes to our strong attendance rate (93% pre-pandemic) and graduation rate (93%).

The WASC-Accreditation process is a valuable exercise in self-evaluation and reflection. We were given things to work on, too. We will always strive to be better tomorrow than we were today. We will never be complacent and we will continue to learn from every opportunity that measures our growth and improvements. But when WASC tells us that we’re doing a great job, it’s worth a moment of pause… and celebration. We are grateful for this experience.

If you are looking for a high school with a renowned positive culture that offers academic rigor, we invite you to join us at SET High. We’re always looking for the next generation of changemakers and innovators. Together we’ll make next year better than the last.

About SET High 

SET High offers each student individual attention from multi-talented, highly qualified  teachers. Students build a healthy camaraderie with classmates inside an intellectually rigorous environment that brings out their talents and personality, helping them develop their individual character and direction in life. With a wide variety of electives, flexible scheduling, dual enrollment college classes and more — our students regularly exceed their academic and personal expectations. Enrolling now!