Five high school principals pose in front of photographs on wall

Every six years, Bellevue School District high schools participate in an accreditation renewal process*, providing staff an opportunity to self-monitor, reflect, and celebrate successes, while engaging varied constituencies within their school communities in the improvement process. The district is proud to acknowledge Bellevue High School, Interlake High School, International School, Newport High School, and Sammamish High School for renewing their accreditation this year, an achievement that highlights their commitments to providing high quality instruction that addresses the academic, social and emotional needs of students.

The accreditation process utilizes the School Improvement Plan (SIP)/Planning Process Review (SIPPR) Tool, to provide schools with external input and feedback based on the Associational of Educational Service District’s (AESD) indicators for school improvement processes. The Puget Sound Educational Service District (ESD) team conducted focus groups and informal interviews with certificated and classified staff, parents and students.

PSESD staff were on site at the January 26 School Board Meeting to recognize the schools and staff who worked to earn this accreditation. They shared that the engagement of principals throughout the process was impressive as they used the lessons learned through evaluation to shift practices. Listen to the full presentation by PSESD.

BSD Schools Commended for Their Work

As part of the review process, panelists shared their commendations and recommendations for each school as they work toward continued progress:

Bellevue High School

Bellevue was commended for being recently ranked by US News and World Report as one of the top five high schools in the state and for being responsive to the needs of staff and students throughout the pandemic as everyone navigates a “new normal.” Moving forward, panelists suggested that Bellevue continues to monitor and support student mental health and continue to support all students toward academic success, particularly those in underrepresented groups.

Interlake High School

Interlake was noted as one of the top 10 High Schools in Washington state, via US News and World Report. Additionally, Interlake staff received commendations for building a positive school culture and utilizing authentic feedback to inform strategies and practices. Panelists recommended continuing outreach to families and seeking ways to blend Interlake’s extraordinarily diverse student population together.

International School

International received commendations for its success and results with students, including maintaining relationships throughout the pandemic and uncertain times. Staff were recognized for their ability to “monitor and adjust,” demonstrating flexibility that shows up in support of students and contributes to other successes. Recommendations for the future included celebrating the school’s successes and moving it forward toward relevant change.

Newport High School

The collaboration that occurs at Newport was commended by panelists, who remarked that it is serving the students well. Also noted were Newport’s efforts to ensure that each student is known, connected and valued despite being a large school. Recommendations for Newport included continuing to proactively support families as they adjust to their new roles as high school parents and to monitor and adjust as students recover from academic and social-emotional challenges that came about during the pandemic.

Sammamish High School

Sammamish was commended for their community of support, care, compassion and empathy. Also, the school was congratulated for being one of the top 25 high schools in Washington, via US News and World Report. Panelists recommended that Sammamish leverage the staff’s deep care for students to support changes in instructional practice and to continue to stay the course with equity work.

*Big Picture School received accreditation in the 2017-18 school year and will be eligible to renew in the 2023-24 year.

About AESD Accreditation

The Washington State AESD Accreditation process is designed to help schools develop practices best suited for them to continuously improve. It is aligned with School Improvement Planning (SIP) and is personalized and adaptable to meet the specific needs of each school.

To date, more than 200 schools throughout the state have been approved for AESD Accreditation upon confirmation by a panel of volunteer ESD Board members – middle schools, private schools, themed high schools, comprehensive high schools, and alternative high schools.

Washington State school accreditation was developed to ensure that the state’s high schools were adequately preparing students for college. It was intended to document programs of high quality for colleges and the patrons of Washington’s educational system. It is now open to all grade levels and is a voluntary, self-study process that is a research–based approach to school improvement.

The accreditation process supports a long-term vision for a performance-based educational system that aligns accreditation requirements to the continuous improvement of student learning, achievement and growth. The process provides for collaboration and deep reflection by the school community, for external review and validation of the school improvement plan, and the process that led to its development. It also provides a statement of accountability to the public.

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.