March 27, 2019

WASC Visiting Committee Gives Pacifica High Praise

Dear Friends,

For the past four days, Pacific hosted an accrediting committee from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). I am delighted to announce the visit was tremendously successful. The committee spent considerable time in our classrooms and speaking with our students, teachers, and parents. They also spent significant time with Pacifica’s administrative team and Board of Trustees. The WASC committee was greatly impressed and complimentary of what they observed—and we are grateful for their praise of our school.

One committee member had this to say about the school’s unique mission:

“I was blown away. This place is a bright light, with clear direction and future ahead of it. I have no doubt that you all will go on to do great things, and I am excited to watch how you expand your good work in the years to come.”

Below are a few comments from our WASC visiting committee report after interviewing and speaking with a wide number of students throughout their 4-day visit:

“Pacifica students have a very clear connection to and understanding of the school’s overall mission and objectives. Students of a wide variety of ability level, co-curricular involvement, and age ranges are able to articulate not only the expectations of the school, but also the philosophy behind those expectations. The overall tone of the campus is one of gratitude and excitement for the academic, athletic, artistic, and social opportunities that students have received.”

“When interviewed, students consistently gave the response that their favorite thing about Pacifica is the community–the support, respect, consideration, and welcome they feel from students and employees alike. Every student could point to at least one adult on campus (most of them could identify multiple) who would help them academically or personally if they were ever struggling. Pacifica students feel deeply known and cared for by their school.”

Below are comments from the WASC visiting committee report regarding our academic program:

Pacifica thoroughly researches every aspect of its overall curriculum and school culture. This is evident in the number of teaching strategies employed throughout the school, including Socratic method, design-based learning, project-based learning, student presentations, cultural excursions, Cornell note-taking, text annotations, laboratory experiments, peer editing, etc. Curriculum is differentiated to allow students at all levels to participate in a wide variety of approaches, often within the same course.”

“Pacifica Faculty have developed a comprehensive and sequential curriculum (documented in the Curriculum Guide). This curriculum is analyzed and modified on an ongoing basis, and faculty stay up-to-date on current educational research. Pacifica has, at its core, “a set of focused practices and norms relentlessly pursued” by faculty, administration, support staff, and students.”

The school will receive the terms of accreditation in June 2019 at which time a public announcement will be made.

We regard this affirmation with humility, giving thanks to God, and directing our praise to His power and provision. As we celebrate, we will continue to work hard to enact our mission, to engage opportunities for improvement, and to grow our school.

Please join me in publicly thanking Dr. Ben Roberson and Rev. Chris Stratton for their leadership with the WASC Application, overseeing the writing of the report, hosting the site visit, and steering all of us in the right direction. Well done, to our faculty and staff who spent countless hours reviewing our program identifying opportunities for great effectiveness in our beloved mission.

Every member of our community plays a role in the life, vitality, and success of this school. I appreciate and celebrate with each of you this significant milestone in our school’s history.

Well done, Tritons!

With love and prayers,

David O’Neil
Head of School

Below are additional areas of achievement the WASC committee highlighted from their visit:

The Board of Trustees and administrative team have developed and implemented a strong strategic plan, taking into account academic policies and procedures shaped by all stakeholders in the pursuit of Pacifica’s high academic expectations

The student outcomes of Pacifica are well integrated into the educational program as well as in the lives of the students.

Teachers are well respected by students, parents, staff and administration for their love, concern, and professionalism on and off-campus.

Pacifica’s Board of Trustees is committed to the mission of the school, to investing the time needed to build the school, and to giving generously towards the school’s financial needs.

Strong sense of unity and collaborative spirit among stakeholders–board, administration, faculty, students, families, and community members.

Pacifica has created a rigorous liberal arts curriculum with a variety of offerings that encourage critical thinking and effective communication founded on inquiry and rhetoric and the use of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, helping students exceed requirements set by both the College Board and the UC system.

Professional staff are well-trained and prepared, have high curricular standards, frequently assess their program, and who engage students using a variety of learning methodologies and assessments

Rich co-curricular programs including visual arts, athletics, performing arts, travel programs, and student leadership opportunities.

The school has worked toward and established overall financial stability through written policies and procedures for its business practices while maintaining a generous focus on financial assistance; the Board of Trustees has also worked to create effective budget procedures to protect the financial health of the school.

Pacifica has an exceptional relationship with its community that continues to grow; this includes partnerships through service, speaking engagements, field trips, and financial patronage.

The school fosters a strong sense of community support, both in and out of the classroom, where students are encouraged to take risks and to engage with their peers and their faculty, creating a unique culture of connectivity.

With strengths in communicating the school’s unique mission, fostering relationships with feeder schools, and building strong relationships with key community members and organizational leaders, the school’s advancement and admissions departments are significant assets to the school, creating a strong reputation for Pacifica.

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