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Taylion Virtual Academy Takes Steps For Students’ Successful Future

Taylion Virtual Academy students Brian Taveras, Destiny Drayden and Valerie Briones review a textbook lesson. Textbook instruction in small groups on campus is one of the many ways the public charter school provides instruction to its students. Taylion Virtual Academy is seeking accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which would give students like Brian, Destiny and Valerie more options after graduation or when transferring to another school. Photo by Chris Sloan

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Taylion Virtual Academy recently took a step to ensure its future graduates will have as many options as possible before them by submitting a request for accreditation to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

“We are seeking the highest level of accreditation possible,” said Stephanie La Ferriere, Director of Curriculum. La Ferriere and Director of Instruction Danielle Moore prepared this report.

Taylion Virtual Academy opened at the start of the 2010-11 year as a public charter school. At the beginning of its second semester, Taylion Virtual Academy submitted a report, known as a self-study, to begin the process of becoming accredited. This was the earliest point at which the new school could submit the request.

Submitting the report starts the process of accreditation, in which Western Association of Schools and Colleges sends a team of educators to Taylion Virtual Academy. The team, known as a WASC Accreditation Team, will closely examine the way Taylion educates students, then issue a recommendation for accreditation.

This distinction will be apparent to Taylion Virtual Academy graduates who plan to attend California State University or University of California schools upon graduation.  When a high school is WASC-accredited or a candidate, public universities count credits earned there as a means of satisfying the admission requirements.

Students who decide to leave Taylion and go to another school also would benefit from their current school being a candidate for accreditation. High schools with WASC accreditation accept the credits of students who transfer from other WASC Accredited schools.

“We want our students to be able to transfer to another school if they move, or when they graduate,” La Ferriere said. “We want to provide them with the most resources possible. With WASC accreditation, we will be able to do that.”

As a “Candidate School,” Taylion Virtual Academy would then have another three years to further develop its programs. After submission of a second self-study, and a second visit by a WASC Accreditation Team, the association would then give Taylion Virtual Academy either full accreditation for six years, or a limited accreditation for a shorter period of time.

Preparation for a Western Association of Schools and College accreditation takes students, parents, teachers and school administrators on a process of discovery. Likewise, the perspective of the outside visiting team can also give a school insight into how well they’re doing.

“The process will uncover the ways our school can improve the quality of our education,” said Will Griffin, Executive Director.

“We must identify our strengths and weaknesses,” La Ferriere said. “We interview parents, students and teachers to find out what they are happy with and what they would like to see improved.”

“We also interview members of the community,” Griffin said. “We want this report to reflect the values of our community.”

A Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation assures that the school meets California’s standards of quality. The association, a private entity, works closely with the California Department of Education to accredit schools based on the state’s standards.

No two schools follow an identical approach to meet standards for accreditation. Taylion Virtual Academy does so in vastly different ways for each student, because this school offers independent study, home school, and virtual studies instead of traditional classroom education.

At Taylion, this means that instead of one teacher working with 20, 30 or more students, independent study teachers present lessons to a small group of 5 to 6 to their high school students twice a week, and give them direction for studies at home. Home school educators work with the students’ parents, to develop unique lesson plans that will ensure state quality standards are met.

“In charter schools, the needs of our students are often different than the needs of students in traditional schools,” La Ferriere said. “Our self-study ensures that we meet our students’ needs.”

Taylion Virtual Academy, a free public charter school, offers an option for families who wish to be directly involved in their children’s education, for teens who seek an accelerated schedule to begin college early, and for teens needing to catch up on credits to graduate with their classmates.

For more information, or a free campus tour, call Taylion Virtual Academy at (909) 889-5152 or go to<> .

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