Reflecting on 60 Years of WASC Accreditation

by Dr. Grace Cheng Dodge, Head of School

Originally published on the official ACS WASC website here.

Taipei American School has been proudly accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) for the past six decades.

Though the accreditation process is detailed, intense, and rigorous, an examination of every part of school life every few years allows every teacher, every staff member, every parent, student, and friend of TAS to feel very proud of where our school is today. Each accreditation report is a tribute to a community that sets the bar high, holds everyone accountable for results, validates our goal of successful student learning, provides critical assessments when appropriate, and demonstrates gratitude and generosity when deserved.

We thank each group of distinguished peer educators and colleagues who are assigned to be at times a guide, at times a critic, and at times a cheerleader for our institution. They examine the institution deeply, and while schools may dread the labor-intensive self-study process, I always find myself looking forward to it as a time of cross-divisional collegiality and bonding over our shared mission, our shared accomplishments, and yes, even our shared shortcomings.

At TAS we have had our share of glowing reports…but we've also had our fair share of less than stellar reports. This, too, is part of the process, and you can't have one without the other. They both give value to the other. Every learning organization has something to learn about itself - and I am proud that our school goes through this regularly. Accreditation encourages school improvement through a process of continual evaluation, and just like I want my students, parents, and employees to become lifelong learners, as an organization, we, too, need to model lifelong organizational learning.

In the important Jewish text, the Pirkei Avot, there is an important lesson that I find myself thinking about more and more in my role as a teacher of teachers. In its essence, it says that all of us need to find ourselves a teacher, in every area of our lives. If we want to grow, we must have more learned-friends to teach us. It is our responsibility as the learner to go out and make, create, and appoint ourselves a teacher who can help us get better. I will say that again. It is the learner's responsibility to find the teacher, not the teacher's responsibility to find learners.

To our many WASC visiting groups of friends, I thank you for being our organization's teachers along the way. I am so very glad that we found you through WASC, and that you have been a part of our organization's growth over the past six decades, and counting.