Written by Esther Kozakevich
A committee of Gunn students, parents, teachers and administration is currently in a school self-study process to create an action plan for the Western Association of Schools and Conferences (WASC) that will improve the school. The action plan will be submitted to the WASC visiting committee by the end of Jan. and reviewed before the WASC visit in March.
According to WASC coordinator Meg Omainsky, there are three main goals. “What we want to improve on is closing the achievement gap, redefining success and improving data collection,” Omainsky said. The main focus of closing the achievement gap is to provide all students with the support they need. In addition, Omainsky believes that collecting information on education resources in the current system is vital in shaping future policy.
Redefining success, WASC’s second main goal, also uses data to figure out how the school can most effectively help students. According to Omainsky, the main focus of redefining success is to build an emotionally and academically successful student body. “We want to make sure that we’re presenting a well-rounded view of learning, and not just focusing on grades and test scores exclusively,” Omainsky said.
The final goal of improving data collection plays a part in the other two goals as well, since that will help Gunn see where it needs to improve moving forward. “We as a school have not been doing a good enough job monitoring the success of our programs. Particularly in monitoring local data, we don’t have enough information,” Omainsky said. “If you’re not tracking you don’t know where the gaps are, and then we can’t make improvements.”
One brainstorm idea that has generated controversy is enacting an AP limit, but the school will not take action on ideas until there has been community-wide discussion. “The fact that people are open to new ideas to help regulate rigor and openly discussing mental health is a very good thing,” Principal Dr. Denise Hermann said.