Have you ever considered having your school or academy accredited?
It’s a strategic step that can truly boost your business.
It also gives your students more ways to use and apply what they’re learning every single week.
Today we interviewed a special guest, Elizabeth Oberreiter from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
We talked through both why you should get accredited as well as how to do it. That way you can have all your questions answered!
This is a fantastic step to take with your own business.
Take a listen and if you’re interested, reach out to Elizabeth to see how YOU can get accredited this year.
Watch it Here
Listen to it Here
Or Scan the Show Notes Below
0:00:05.3 Tyler Marolf: Welcome to the next episode of The Teacher Zone with Chris and Tyler. I’m Tyler Marolf, the co-host, along with Chris Bates. Chris, how are you today?
0:00:15.9 Chris Bates: Well, I am amazing. We have a very special guest today. Tyler, why don’t you introduce our guest?
0:00:22.2 TM: So we wanna say a big hello and thank you for coming on the show, it’s Liz Obbereiter, who is the Senior Director at WASC. What is WASC? It’s an acronym like everything else, right? She is the Senior Director at Western Association of Schools and Colleges. I always get that wrong, but I’m gonna say it again, Western Association of Schools and Colleges. And just so happens to be one of our partners with our lesson business, Los Rios Rock School. So, Chris we got accredited with WASC about, I think four years ago. Well, we have our walk-through coming, so does that mean five years is coming up?
0:01:06.8 Liz Obbereiter: Six.
0:01:07.7 TM: Yes. So Liz say hi to everyone…
0:01:08.5 CB: Six. Oh, wow.
0:01:11.2 LO: Yeah, hi everyone. Thanks for allowing me to be part of your podcast, I’m super excited to be here and share anything and everything that you need to know about what I do and why we do it, and why WASC is so important to not only schools but supplementary education programs, such as Los Rios Rock is.
0:01:32.0 TM: Yep. So check this out on top of that, she says, “The why”, she says, “The where”. We’re also gonna kinda get into, “The how”, because a lot of people listening right now maybe like, “Okay, what does this mean? What am I listening to?” Well, being a supplemental accredited learning school, so we call them SEPs right Liz?
0:01:54.7 LO: Yes, yes we do.
0:01:57.6 TM: Supplemental Education Program. Well, what are we supplementing? ’cause WASC also accredits K through 12 schools, junior colleges, colleges, Chapman University, I believe, St. Marys, and so on and so forth. So it’s a big organization of accreditation, but today…
0:02:14.2 CB: Is it… Over 5000 or something like that, but…
0:02:19.0 LO: Okay, so there’s three divisions, there’s the Senior WASC, then there’s a Junior WASC, and then there’s the Accrediting Commission Schools, our WASC that is K through 12. So we have over 5000 schools, worldwide, schools and supplemental programs as well.
0:02:36.3 CB: Very cool.
0:02:36.4 TM: Got it. And we’re gonna get into what a supplemental program is, especially our fan base, the listeners who listen to the Teacher Zone are usually, and we briefed Liz on this. Our lesson business owners or educators or both all over the world that are trying to grow and create an extraordinary lesson business experience for the people they’re teaching. So we’re talking once in a lifetime moments, unbelievable relationships with their teachers, awesome ops, everything inside of these schools. So a lot of our listeners, we’re talking to you, that’s who you’re, so if you’re not accredited… Well, let’s talk about what that means.
0:03:22.0 CB: Yeah.
0:03:23.3 TM: So… Let’s expand Liz supplemental education? Well, I’ll give one example, and then you could give me some other examples, Los Rios Rock School, we sign transcripts for AP Theory for some students that could not either, A: Access it at their school period, their high school didn’t have it. The arts are being taken away and things like that, so it just wasn’t there, or their counselors getting them ready for college, and that AP Theory course couldn’t fit in the GE load or something. So what did we do? We’re an SEP. We found, we organized, got the curriculum ready, Dr. Haycraft taught the SEP AP Theory class, and then they went and tested.
0:04:15.0 TM: In this case, they tested off-site at an Irvine School, we found the one that would approve it, they all showed up, took their tests, they all passed, and we signed their accreditation, they were done. So that’s the way we’ve used it, besides the fact that you guys have strengthened our goals in the last six years. So that’s another thing we’ll get into later. You all through your walk-throughs and the updates with your PhDs have allowed us to improve our goals from little obvious things like escape routes in a fire, or attendance taking, do we know where everybody was and will be. So we are so… I just wanna say thank you for that. We wouldn’t have had that structure to get us clean cut, and we’ve always thought about that, but you helped us get there, so that’s our Los Rios experience everybody. I’m gonna let Liz and Chris have some fun with this and let’s see how this might help others around the world who are listening right now. So what are your thoughts Liz, can you dive into SEP a little more for us?
0:05:23.0 LO: Of course, thanks Tyler. So SEPs, like you indicated Tyler have come into the existence many, many more places now because schools are, one or the other, are unable to offer a specific course because there aren’t that many teachers that could teach a specific course. Let’s just say hypothetically. Mandarin.
0:05:50.7 TM: Okay.
0:05:52.1 LO: Mandarin. It’s hard to find a good Mandarin teacher, and if you just have one class, a high school is not gonna hire a part-time Mandarin teacher for one class, and then this poor Mandarin teacher has to look for other places to go work. So that is where a supplementary education program, a Mandarin school would open up. So also, like you had indicated, there are students that have severely, and I used that word because I always hear severely impacted schedules because they want to take 10 AP courses, they want to be involved in activities, they’re on the football team, they’re in band, but they want this class, they need this class, and so this is where those supplementary education programs, SEPs are able to offer these classes with a memorandum of understanding with the school, with their home school, their traditional [0:06:50.1] ____ school that they will take those credits.
0:06:55.9 LO: And so we go from SEP’s that are language schools, that are music schools, that are dance schools, and also your tutoring places, those places that students go to for that extra help because their parents don’t know what to do. They’re falling through the cracks at their local school. Nobody’s paying attention to the student because the student is very quiet, but they’re getting D’s and F’s. So then they take them to these programs and they get that extra help. At the same time, the programs work with the schools to come up with a plan of action. So this is a very big growing area for us, and we don’t only have SEP’s here in California, they’re across the world, they’re across the United States. And again, it’s growing, and we’re seeing a variety right now. And we’re seeing a lot of Hebrew language schools as well, which is kind of exciting as well.
0:08:02.5 CB: That is cool. Well, it seems like today, I don’t know if I… Like you said, you’re seeing a lot of growth, doesn’t it seem like today there’s much more opportunity for learning just about anything you want. It seems to me like the access today is just incredible with all the different things that everything from the arts, to language, to the athletics, to different STEM tutoring programs and stuff like that, it just seems like there’s more access today. Do you think that’s true?
0:08:36.3 LO: I think there’s more access not only in person, but virtually. And the virtual world, even though people think that it started with COVID, and it really didn’t. It started a while back, and those of us that were in the virtual world prior to this madness in the world, we saw that it can work. You can teach virtually, and it could be just as enriching as it would be if you’re there in person. So we’re seeing a lot of growth in that. And we’re seeing a lot of growth because, just like you had indicated, Tyler, some of the schools cannot offer these visual performing arts, they’re cutting those programs, teachers are retiring, there aren’t enough teachers, and so some of these teachers that have retired go into these supplementary education programs and teach these classes once or twice a week.
0:09:33.0 TM: Right. So that’s changing the marketplace completely for staffing in general, not just… When we think school, we think school districts, and that’s the foundation of everything. And it used to be, everything was public schools, and parochial schools were the minority. And now it’s charter, parochial, public, it’s just turned into… Because we have access, like we were saying. So quick question, things such as these over-impacted kids, these super ultra go-getters with the super tiger moms and all of this and that, and they are club ice hockey and soccer varsity, and 4.4 average, grade point average, and all this stuff. Well, they’re doing a ton of stuff, so can places like… If somebody’s at an athletic supplemental program that does jujitsu, karate as an active part of that and they have metrics and measuring systems, can athletics get involved as well to supplement, because those kids need that AP English class and that calculus class, and they can’t… And in order to make it in time, they can’t take that PE hour. And if the school allows it, and I don’t… I’m sure some states are different, they probably make you and things like that, there’s probably different rules in different states, but could that also help a lesson business that is more on the athletic side? Can it…
0:11:05.1 LO: Absolutely, a 100%. As long as they have that curriculum set, they have a means of measuring how the student has learned, which is the component of assessment, and they meet all of the WASC guidelines of really, like what I said, curriculum assessment instruction, and you have that qualified instructor. It just can’t be anybody who likes to do it but isn’t qualified to do it. So they’ve gotta have that qualified instructor to do that.
0:11:34.5 TM: Gotcha, and then…
0:11:35.9 CB: How do you determine… How do you determine the qualification of the instructor?
0:11:41.0 LO: That is up to the supplemental program. That is up to the SEP on how they hire, and so we go and we vet them, and then we look at them and say, “Why is this math teacher teaching AP English?” “Oh, they like teaching AP English.” You go, “No, no, no. You need to have an English teacher that’s trained to teach AP,” or have a masters in English, I guess.
0:12:06.3 CB: Does… So it seems to me… By the way, if you wanna read more about WASC, you can go to the… The website is A-C-S-W-A-S-C.org, so acswasc.org. And I’m curious, it seems like WASC… It’s like you’re not only holding everybody accountable, but you’re also trying to level everybody up. Is that true?
0:12:32.3 LO: Yeah. We’re not some… And I get this all the time, especially from some of the schools and SEP’s that are outside our country, outside the US, thinking that we’re like the police, we’re the auditors. Some of these folks call us the auditors. I go, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no. We’re all about continuous improvement.” How can we help you improve your program for that academic journey that they are having at your supplemental program? So we’re all about continuous improvement, and we’re not there to check off the boxes, that we’re there to have conversations with the schools, and not just during our WASC visit, but it’s all the time. We’re a phone call away. And I know that sounds kind of crazy but we are. We’re kinda hokey there, we’re there all the time. So if a school wants a sounding board of a new program they wanna offer, they call us.
0:13:38.6 TM: So I’m sitting in the gym of a school that my kid went to and they had a WASC banner in the gym, for example, as a parent, because what’s really great is all of us that run these programs and on these programs, we have that desire to be better but is that what the… What should that have meant to me when I saw the WASC on that educational facility? What would make that facility different than another school?
0:14:08.9 LO: A worldwide organization that has schools around the world has validated your program in order to ensure that your students have a high quality program that will lead them to the next steps, whatever those steps are. If it’s a high school, what’s next? It could be college or career. So it’s that validation of a worldwide accrediting agency.
0:14:36.5 TM: I love it. I will add this. So when we approached you guys to get accredited, I didn’t know what was gonna happen, and I didn’t think that you are caring… I don’t know why I thought this, this is like a stigma, I think.
0:14:54.6 CB: ‘Cause you thought they were the police. [laughter]
0:14:55.9 TM: I don’t… Not, no, I thought…
0:14:58.4 CB: But you know I get that feeling a little bit like, “Oh-oh, they’re gonna be looking up at everything.”
0:15:04.3 TM: More like a bureaucratic red tape, period. You know what, I’m not scared of the IRS, you just gotta follow the rules and not let them take advantage of you. You know what I mean? So what I did… My point is, I didn’t feel from the surface level, ’cause I was new, I knew nothing about it, that you guys were gonna care enough to help us level up, didn’t know that. I guess I… In my old-wise years am 45 now, I should know that, but this was when I was 39, so there’s… Oh that’s probably the answer. [chuckle] But I didn’t get that, and then the results, for those of you listening, we have improved our program almost through osmosis in a way, because we have to follow a certain template and it’s not what you think. Los Rios Rock School, go to our website. No one tells us what to do, no one. Chris, what happens when people try to tell you and me what to do? It doesn’t go up, that’s why we…
0:16:11.2 CB: You are very polite. Last night… Excuse me. Last night, I actually brought up WASC with a potential family, because the student is super interested in theory, and so the student wants to really go deep with her supplemental education, and so it was a really great conversation because the parents were actually very impressed that we had taken the time to work with WASC.
0:16:34.5 TM: Right. Some people get it, but guys, whoever is listening out there, if you want that, ’cause when you’re approved, you get to… And we still have to do it. We need the graphic, we need to put it on our website. We need a sticker for the door. Do you guys have swag?
0:16:49.1 LO: I’m sorry. We don’t have any swag. I’ve been asking. No swag, no swag, sorry, not even a mug.
0:16:56.0 CB: Really? Okay.
0:16:58.0 TM: WASC accredited sticker to put on the front door would be amazing.
0:17:03.4 TM: And it’s not a deal breaker, but anyways, my point being is that if you’re listening out there, we’re gonna get into the how a little bit, but now you’ve kind of heard the who. We’ve heard who can do this a little bit, and we’ve also talked to who can help you. Here she is. Her team will help you. Chris gave you the website. So the question is, how can you get accredited. We already know a little bit of the why, but how is it gonna help you?
0:17:37.6 CB: And… Yeah.
0:17:39.1 TM: Is it the right way to help your business grow, become more extraordinary. And I don’t know, have that little extra clout, maybe it’ll only help with seven out of your two hundred kids a year get signed transcripts, but you know what? For… I think it’s $1100 a year is what we pay, I believe, for our SEP, is that correct Liz?
0:18:01.7 LO: I don’t know, that’s a different department. I’m sorry. I’m not the money person.
0:18:06.1 TM: So there is a cost…
0:18:06.7 LO: But it’s right around there. Yes, because we’re membership-driven. We’re membership-driven so it’s an annual cost.
0:18:14.2 CB: Tyler, let’s start… Hold on, ’cause you’ve got a lot to unpack with her so…
0:18:19.0 TM: Yeah. I’m unpacking a lot, Chris.
0:18:22.3 CB: So, let’s start with the how. So, let’s start with the how. So you, Tyler, you talked about how nerve-racking it was, and so let’s start from day one, what we have, some sort of program that we’re interested in being called an SEP, and having the accreditation and having that cache, like something that will help us level up and be better, what’s Step One, and what Tyler said earlier, would you speak to fears that people might have about making that first call.
0:18:52.0 LO: Okay, so we’ve rebranded some of the areas to be a little more modern, and so now, if an SEP is desiring to start the process, they just go to our website or they can go to our website and then go under “Beginning the process” and then they can kind of look at how to fill out the application, etcetera, etcetera, everything is online. So as soon as we get an interest in that, then somebody in the office calls me, or I look at our website… Or I look at our portal and say, “Oh, so-and-so school is interested in… They’ve filled out this application.” So I now vet it, so now we’re expecting the supplemental programs to have a website, so I vet it through the website, then I do a quick email.
0:19:55.4 CB: What if you don’t have a website? [chuckle]
0:19:57.0 LO: Yeah, the website, it’s really important because a lot of these don’t have websites, especially if it’s a… And.
0:20:03.0 CB: Like small…
0:20:03.4 LO: And if it’s mom-and-pop tutoring program. So then if not, I make the call and then we talk things out, and my first question is… Because we’re… Yes, we do need to make money ’cause we do need to stay afloat, but we also want to ensure… I always ask them, “Why do you want accreditation?” And I know that sounds crazy, but that’s my very first question that I ask them, “Why do you wanna be accredited?” And many of them say, “Because our parents are asking if we are WASC accredited,” that’s a big thing nowadays, the parents are now asking. So then as soon as we do that, then they pay their application fee, and then we start conversations and I look at who’s gonna do the visit, and it’s usually one of my directors down in Southern California that does the SEPs and along with myself, and then we start the conversation. Now, it’s very different, Tyler, than when you started. When you started, you were just given this template to fill out, etcetera, etcetera. We don’t do that anymore. We send out the template, then we work with the school and the SEP, and the SEP sends us sections of the template as they’re filling it out. So we give them feedback.
0:21:24.7 TM: Because what we’re doing right now for [0:21:27.3] ____ walk through.
0:21:28.1 LO: That’s what you’re gonna be doing.
0:21:28.2 TM: So she’s… I can attest to this. The whole thing, I was sitting there going, “Ah, we’re here again, argh.” Calling Dr. Haycraft, “Hey, get ready. We’ve got this. We’re updating everything. They’re gonna walk through again.” And the whole format was different. It was really… There was a… Correct me if I’m wrong, a true growth and impact feeling to it more than before. Am I right, is that kind of the difference of the [0:21:56.0] ____.
0:21:56.0 LO: Excellent. We’ve now streamlined the process to make it much more understandable for an SEP because it used to… The format used to look more like a school, and it was very difficult for SEPs to understand many of those sections because they did not relate to them. So now we’ve even used more business language and instead of saying administration, we use leadership or management, etcetera, etcetera. So we’ve streamlined that process, we’ve made it much more focused into those specific areas and not so generalized as a school. So then okay, so then as the SEP is going through the initial template, then… And we’re working with them, we then ask for a date.
0:22:44.3 LO: So right now, as we’re doing a lot of stuff virtually, things are virtual, so we come up with a virtual visit and it can be spread out within a day, within a couple of days, as we’ve now coined it or my boss has coined it a progressive visit, so we have meetings a few days here, a few days there, in order to ensure that we are meeting with all stakeholders. So we talk to teachers, we talk to leadership, we talk to students, we talk to families, and we say… Our conversations with them are all about improvement. What’s one really great thing about this SEP, and what do you think this specific SEP, this specific program can do to improve itself, to improve not only that academic journey for your student, but for the future students that are coming.
0:23:34.4 CB: That right there, that one question, it’s like… So many of us, especially as small business owners, are running with our hair on fire, and we aren’t taking the time to ask that important question. Because pushing ourselves to be better, not just our students is a big part of that.
0:23:55.7 TM: And very successful companies are paying marketing departments to routinely ask those questions, and so it’s awesome that you guys go deep with the families. And by the way, guys, back up before the visits she just mentioned, when you’re doing the templates, it’s in sections, and…
0:24:16.2 CB: Like she said, they give feedback.
0:24:18.9 TM: Liz and… Yeah, you do a section at a time and send it in, and if you’re a little, like maybe no fault of your own, you answered a certain way, and Liz is like, “Oh, you are looking at that a little differently. This is what we meant.” They will help guide you through the sections so you don’t have to… We’re business owners, we have a lot going on, so that this change aspect, change can seem scary. And not scary in a way like I’m scared it’s gonna hurt my business, more like, “How am I gonna fit this in? How will I even do this with Liz? I can’t get everything else I need done done.” She and her team help you throughout it, so please know that.
0:25:00.0 CB: You guys… Would it be right to call you… Because I heard you use the term partner, but it’s also advocate. You guys are really an advocate for all of us.
0:25:09.2 TM: Right.
0:25:09.4 LO: We want… We’re all about school improvement, we’re all about program improvement. And again, and it’s just not what you’re offering to the students, but it’s how are you improving the professional development aspect of your own instructors, how are you helping them become better teachers for your students. So there was one other area, and I think I just forgot what I was gonna say, but of this whole continuous improvement process… Oh, the template, that’s what I was gonna say. The template that… And the self-study, which, Tyler, you guys are filling out now. It’s a little different because now you have to answer some other types of questions, but that template for the initial, or even the self-study, is your story. So that’s the important part, that you’re telling your story within this template. So whoever reads this, we want you to be able to tell your story to an outsider and they will totally understand what you guys offer, or what any SEP offers and…
0:26:17.7 CB: It’s clarity. You’re helping with clarity.
0:26:19.4 LO: Absolutely, absolutely.
0:26:22.5 CB: It’s so hard because we all tend to see ourselves differently than our students and parents often, and so it’s so hard to define when you know too much, right? You know, well, we teach these gazillion things, so a lot of programs are defining themselves too broad, and you guys actually are helping clarify. That’s brilliant.
0:26:45.4 LO: Well, and then at the end of your story, you have these areas that you’re gonna work on for the next go around. When we were at Los Rios, five or six years ago, there was a certain amount of goals of recommendations that were left for you to work on for the next six years, and those are called action item plans so for your action plan, and your action… Okay, so your initial description report is your story. So when where you start, your self-study is your story, your action plan is what takes you to the future. So what are these areas that you want to improve on, academically and for professional growth through your own instructors for the next go around, and you’re gonna be working with those… We’re not… Other accrediting agencies are all about checking off the boxes. Okay, you’re compliant here, you’re complaint there, you’re compliant here. They don’t look at this narrative, they don’t look at the full story. And that’s all about continuous improvement.
0:27:52.4 CB: Mmm, well, you’re speaking about [0:27:53.4] ____. We’re big… So there’s two things that I wanna enhance there. Number one, continuous improvement, Tyler and I’ve talked about it before. I don’t know if you remember, Tony Robbins used to talk about CANI C-A-N-I, constant and never-ending improvement? And it’s such a cool concept that if you’re in education, you have to embody that. I personally… Tyler and I are big on culture, we’re big on growing your engagement, so I wanted to… For those of you out there, you’ve heard us talk about CANI, it sounds like you guys are, as an organization, really taking that to heart and making that… It’s like you said, not just checking boxes. The other thing that I really wanted to impart is that we are working with mostly your larger entity, so with teachers on we help SEPs all over the world that really often will have multiple instructors. I’m curious, though a lot of the programs don’t necessarily have brick and mortar, so how do you handle the virtual and/or off-site programs when it comes to scheduling the site visit, and their vision and their story and all that kind of stuff. Is it different or…
0:29:05.0 LO: It’s the same process, it’s just, with the visit, it’s virtual. So they get the same template, they get the same everything, it’s just different. Just like… I was asked this by a school in Denver, a very large school in Denver. They called me and they said, “Oh, this student is taking this class in San Francisco area, it’s one of your supplemental programs.” Okay, so she’s like, is… This was a really great question, this district person asked. “Is it any different… Is a supplementary education program accreditation any different than a school accreditation?” It is not. They’ve gotta follow our guidelines, the template is different because obviously, you offer different things, and it’s not a K-12 site, but it’s the same process. We expect high caliber. But if it’s not high caliber, it’s okay. That’s where this continuous improvement comes in. But the expectations are the same, and that’s really important for everyone to know.
0:30:18.1 CB: That’s major because I think, Liz, one of the biggest things that… I think Tyler might have spoke to some of our fear initially when we contacted WASC, what’s funny is a lot of us that are in this SEP type… If you’re doing any sort of extracurricular or after school or supplementary education, a lot of us are actually doing deeper work, right. The supplementary is real because we’re actually going really deep with these students in these different… Whether it’s language or the arts or what have you…
0:30:52.2 TM: Most places that are popular, Chris, now are not as linear anymore, very project-based, very culture-based, very social… You know, collab, collab, collab, collab, and then, with still getting measured results on an individual group basis, and then all of a sudden everybody’s like, “I wanna go there till I go to college.” That’s… I’m sorry…
0:31:14.6 CB: And what’s interesting is the public knows it, the students know…
0:31:18.1 TM: My school, my alumni is not doing that, where I graduated from. There are certain leaders inside that school that are still making impacts. But overall, out of 3000 kids and X amount of teachers, very drop in the bucket for the leadership affecting everyone, because teachers are all different…
0:31:42.6 CB: Well, a lot of schools don’t have enough time to go into depth, is I think the big point…
0:31:48.8 TM: That’s true.
0:31:50.2 CB: And the fact that you guys are considering the SEPs at the same level, to me, is super exciting. ‘Cause we actually, Tyler and I are biased, we think the SEPs are actually stronger in a lot of areas, just because of the extra time that we’re able to take with students. So it’s really…
0:32:04.3 LO: I’ve gotta share with you, there is one SEP, and this is one of the very first ones I did several years ago from the office. There was a… It is also a music school, and they’re also virtual all over the world, and one of the students wanted… I was interviewing the student during the visit, and the student had prepared a special… A song for me that he had created. So he actually played the song, I don’t even know what town it was in Israel, but the father was next to him and he said he wrote this especially for this WASC visit. And it was so beautiful, it was just so beautiful.
0:32:48.5 CB: That’s amazing.
0:32:49.4 LO: And he was like nine or 10 years old, and it was just… And he was so proud of himself, and I was like, “Wow, I wish I have that talent.” But, yeah…
0:33:00.7 CB: The tenacity and want… There’s so many elements that will give that child success in the future. That’s amazing.
0:33:05.4 LO: Absolutely. We’ve got several, now, language programs that are offering language classes to a lot of charter schools throughout the United States, but they’re also offering the same language courses in Australia. So we’ve got language teachers that are offering language classes here in the States, but they’re actually… Part of the really cool thing is, these are some of the Spanish language supplemental programs we have. These teachers are actually in Colombia, Peru, Spain, all over, and they’re teaching not only the language, but they’re actually engaging the students in that cultural aspect of it, which you cannot get in the brick and mortar.
0:33:55.6 CB: That’s major, that’s amazing, that really is. So now… Okay, so that’s… You’ve gotten us to… Now, Tyler, I think the second part that you were talking about was having… The benefit of having WASC as a partner long-term. So in other words, what does it actually mean? It sounds like the scariest part, which is just going to the website and starting the process, once you’ve done that and you’ve you worked on your story…
0:34:25.4 TM: You and I don’t need to have reluctance to do that, by the way. Let us just tell you, we’ve already been there, so just get that out of your mind and just go. So go on, Chris.
0:34:34.9 CB: When you know you wanna be better anyways, it’s like the adage when people say, “I don’t wanna go back to school, I’m gonna be a certain age.” It’s like, well, you’re gonna be that age anyway, so you might as well… Well, you know, you wanna be better anyways, so make the call or go to the website. But once they’ve done that and they’ve gone through the process and approval is granted, what are some ways that you’ve seen the SEPs being able to successfully utilize WASC to their school’s benefit?
0:35:05.9 LO: They use it on their website, they use it on their letterhead, they use it on anything and everything that work with that they are allowed to use it in. And it’s that seal of approval, it’s that golden Willy Wonka ticket that really, really shows that validation of the program. A lot of the music…
0:35:30.9 CB: It legitimizes in a lot of ways.
0:35:32.5 LO: Absolutely.
0:35:35.3 TM: Liz, I still talk, I’m still one of the first points of contact to brand new parents who have heard about us and… But the picture is so dense. We have to speak it or create some new marketing to just describe the three pillars of success inside our tuition monthly, right. And you know what, Chris, I believe if we just pop that WASC stamp on, I can save my breath, at least half of it. Why have we not done that yet? We’ve been accredited for almost six years and we’ve not put your graphic anywhere, and that’s our fault. So really, I think from that sales upfront storytelling perspective, people still might have assumptions of what it means, but they know you earned it. That’s not fake.
0:36:25.4 CB: Right, that was what the dad said last night. And he goes, “Well, you guys aren’t messing around.” I said, “No, sir, we’re not.” So, it’s a… Because with a lot of programs over the years… Well, let’s face it, what makes a small business owner typically is they saw a need. And so a lot of educators and a lot of folks that started their own education program, it’s because they felt a certain, maybe, more in-depth need wasn’t being met. And so that’s typically, how businesses begin, they solve a challenge. And so it’s like coming full circle, ’cause a lot of… I know a lot of our customers, Tyler, started off at a more traditional educational environment and then became entrepreneurs. We actually call it from chaos to culture, so they really went from pulling their hair out to actually having a great culture. And so WASC can be a great part of having that culture…
0:37:21.7 TM: Great tool.
0:37:21.8 CB: Now that they’ve gone through that journey. That’s cool.
0:37:24.4 TM: Let’s talk about… Let’s get to the nitty-gritty. So about 1100 a year’s the cost, that’s a nitty-gritty thing. That’s the money, where everybody like there’s nothing’s for free.
0:37:32.3 CB: Things change only if you might be listen to this later, ’cause I know, Liz, that’s what you meant, is that the pricing is on the website. So go to the website and see current pricing.
0:37:42.4 TM: Either way, you’re paying your dues. That’s how they stay alive, you understand this, you own a business. So we have that. Now, let’s talk about who wouldn’t qualify? And remember, it’s case by case. So they’re gonna… You fill it out, she’s gonna look, Liz’ll look, her team will look, they’ll give you a call. And we’re also gonna talk about, straight up, how TeacherZone helped us with our accreditation. So teacherzone.com is Chris and our software, and when WASC came in and they were like… They came in… I can’t remember the doctor that came in. You knew him, you said his name the other day, just a happy go-lucky guy, made us feel calm… Yeah, and…
0:38:29.2 TM: But he was all business behind that smile, no joke, and when we showed him and explained, even though it was already in our goals and whatever, the software that we created and put in place that every soul is accounted for, that all curriculums are monitored, that updates and check-ins and accountability, were all in one spot, it reflects back to when I was in high school, and they would… Which is a billion years ago, but they’d fill a Scantron out of who is there or not… Boom, and every single class, not just so the teachers could get paid and the district would pay them and… That you’re negligent if you don’t do that, you’re in the Wild West with someone’s child. And so when we showed WASC that we meant business and we created this thing… And, by the way, you don’t have to create your own. Just use ours.
0:39:26.1 TM: They were like, “Okay. Well, that checks off all of the technical stuff,” you know what I mean, that’s great. And the one thing we didn’t have set up, which WASC helped us know we needed, was our own Department of Justice code. So we always had people getting live scan fingerprinted, always, but we were having them bring us theirs, which technically is not the right step to do. And so, that was one of our goals, which you’ll find in…
0:39:51.4 CB: That was really helpful. That was a really… Just a little stuff like that…
0:39:55.8 TM: Well, I slept better at night. I always wondered, “Is that all the way right?” And so, that was one of our action goals that we set and we met within six months after that visit, by the way. And, oh man, everything just started to glue together. So TeacherZone helped us just by having the software in place, the teachers taking attendance, the reporting going back to all times past and moving forward, chats and group chats all monitored by parents and students, can’t be deleted, etcetera. They took us seriously. That little section of our story, WASC was like, “Kudos, okay.” That’s not all of it, that’s not everything we need, but that’s freaking good. And so that… Go ahead.
0:40:43.5 CB: Well, it was good just to support you on that. We actually started really getting granular about the same time that we were meeting with WASC. So it was kind of that moment, we were in transition too. So for those of you, if you’re not doing it, I can tell you, for our families… As a parent, while Tyler was talking, I quickly pulled in TeacherZone my oldest son who’s getting ready to go… He’s getting ready to go to Kansas University, he’s going to be a Jayhawk. So that he… I just pulled him at our school and he’s had… Guess how many hours in the last five years, Tyler?
0:41:21.5 TM: I don’t know.
0:41:23.4 CB: 595.5 hours of instruction at our school. For supplemental, that’s incredible.
0:41:34.3 LO: That’s huge, yeah.
0:41:35.8 CB: That’s a lot of learning. And we have… And I won’t go into it, but obviously, you could get granular with all that learning. And so it’s not only important to have accountability for your staff to get better, but the families relish it. As a parent, it just warmed my heart to see that. I was like, “Wow, he’s getting a lot of great instruction.”
0:41:53.4 TM: Oh, a shameless plug. Liz, if somebody called you and they already had TeacherZone working and implemented, teachers in, student accounts in, attendance being taken, curriculum being assigned, would that be a help in getting qualified for WASC?
0:42:11.0 LO: Yes, it would be a huge help because we’re looking at that accountability aspect of it. That’s huge. And your WASC here who came last time, did notice that. And then, I mean, there are… It’s that accountability piece. And we wanna make sure that the biggest component as an SEP starts the process and goes to that initial visit is, is there capacity to grow a sustainability? Can the program sustain itself? Can the program actually pay that membership fee along with everything else? Because it’s great that we do get… We often get supplemental programs, you only have to have six students minimum…
0:42:58.2 TM: Oh, wow.
0:42:58.3 LO: Six students minimum.
0:42:58.4 TM: Oh, wow.
0:42:58.4 LO: Yeah, it used to be 12, now it’s six. But, I always go to them and say, “Well, where are you going to get the rest of them?” “Well, we need this to attract parents. So as soon as… ” But they don’t understand that there’s that accountability aspect of it, and then we look at everything else. We don’t just look at the business component, but we also look at you what kind of instruction are you giving, do you have qualified people to be teaching these courses, etcetera, etcetera. So it’s all of that that impacts that initial visit. And I’ve got to say that…
0:43:34.3 CB: So the more ducks in a row, the less they have to clean up right then?
0:43:38.3 LO: Absolutely. I’ve had supplemental programs, even schools say, “Oh, we wanna get WASC accredited.” I go, “That is fantastic. How many students do you have?” “Oh, we don’t have any yet.” “Well, where are you looking?” “Oh no, we’re thinking we need WASC accreditation in order to open.” I said, “No, no, no, no, no. You’ve gotta be open at least six months… At least six months for us to come and do a visit because we’ve gotta have some data.”
0:44:06.6 TM: Six months, six students.
0:44:11.5 LO: Yes.
0:44:13.4 CB: Well, Tyler and I, we actually tried to help everyone initially, so similar to what you’re saying. Because essentially while it’s our software, it’s not, it takes a village. And we’re so blessed that we have an amazing community globally, where all of us lock arms and are constantly trying to make our businesses, and the software that supports us, better. So what we found, it’s similar to what you’re saying, the really… When you’re just starting out, then what you can do is you can know that TeacherZone, WASC, these support systems are in place as you start to gain traction. But ultimately, Tyler and I found that it was so much easier for all of us to support one another when you already have some… In our case, we like programs to have at least, ideally, three or more instructors. We worked with some that are mom and pop single programs, but overall, the more instructors you get, obviously, the better your systems have to be just to manage that. And so…
0:45:20.8 TM: Right, and to give you an idea, our software’s set up to run… Have super admin accounts over multiple locations and divisions of one entity. So if those are… We have accounts with over 200 teachers and six locations, and 2000 students and whatever. So the software handles all that, but we understand that just like kids are being born all the time, those are all of our customers, those are the people that are gonna make an impact 20 years from now. Businesses are being born, and so that’s kind of how we filter, just like you guys do with the six students, six months. And by the way, entrepreneurs out there, six months in an entrepreneur life is like a weekend. Six months goes by in two seconds.
0:46:10.9 CB: When I spoke to a new customer yesterday, who is currently the only instructor at this school, and which is how we all start, and we were talking about a lot of different things, and what was really clear at the end of the call, and he was like, “Wow”, is he has worked so hard in this curriculum, it’s amazing. But it really brought to the forefront of the… He needs to start hiring and staffing up, because by keeping it just him, he’s not creating the systems that are necessary to give the students more and more value. And the more value they get, the bigger your program can get and the more people talk about you, the more growth, because then now you have all these amazing stories of growth and experience.
0:47:00.2 TM: And that’s where we share the synergy with WASC. So Liz… And those action items. So cool, how are you gonna get there? It’s you and seven students. Well, here’s what we’ve seen work in the past, Mr SEP, and there so you guys, I really love the synergy. Liz, it has been… We’re just very grateful you came on, we did a podcast about accreditation like four years ago, and…
0:47:25.0 CB: Oh we did, you’re right.
0:47:26.0 TM: Yeah, yeah, and so we’ve gotta send this to Dr. Haycraft too because he was on, talking about his experience the old version of getting into WASC. So that’s kind of a fun episode, if you go back in time. What have we not covered today, Liz, that you feel like is important to discuss at the very end, any after thoughts?
0:47:45.8 LO: Well, if we’re looking at six years ago, we had non-staff people doing the visits, so they weren’t hands-on, we would just assign somebody to go and do the visits. So now, we’ve really… What we’ve done is we’ve really honed in and focused in on how we can assist and grow this SEP world within WASC. Tyler you and I chatted, I don’t know, two months ago, and you had no idea that we have SEPs outside of California.
0:48:23.6 TM: No, I was…
0:48:24.5 LO: So I’ve been marketing, and marketing and marketing for the past, I would say, three or four years since I became a director and now senior director, but I’ve been able to market, I’ve been able to bring in with my team some more SEPs across the United States, and then there are different people who do the international, but I’ve been brought into the conversations because of my SEP experience. So this is a growing market, and I think that the important part of WASC and that SEP component is that validation, and it’s that continuous improvement, is how can we improve ourselves? Not just for the Better Business Bureau, but how can we improve the academic value of our business for our clients, for our students, for our families, to ensure that whatever they’re paying outside of pocket because it is an extra cost to take a class outside of the public school, or if they’re at a school, a private school that’s costing $54,000.
0:49:33.9 LO: And yes, there are schools out there like that. And so why am I paying $54,000? Why isn’t my kid taking a class there? Well, they don’t offer it there, we do. So as an SEP. I think it’s that value of having, again, that outsider come in that has that worldwide stamp of approval and understanding that we’re just not here as auditors or the police, or we’re going to fix a problem for you, but we’re going to help you improve yourselves and your organization.
0:50:10.9 CB: You know your language sounds like mentoring and coaching.
0:50:15.6 LO: Absolutely, and that’s what we always do, and we’re doing a lot more of that we’re much more hands-on with mentoring and coaching. When Tyler had mentioned that he’s gonna be sending me sections of the report, we didn’t do that, not even three years ago, we just started that two years ago because I was looking at these report saying, “Whoa”. Okay, then when we do the visit, we’re seeing two totally different pictures here, or two different types of programs. So we want to ensure that when you do the report and we ask those questions during the visit, that they triangulate, that they go together.
0:50:56.6 TM: Got it.
0:50:57.2 CB: Love it. So I hope that everyone listening, and by the way, for all of our teachers on Tribe out there, you all are already amazing. ‘Cause you guys already have super successful programs, so…
0:51:12.1 TM: There’s hundreds of you out there. Go to the website, call Liz.
0:51:17.0 CB: Yeah, go to the website and do that now, because you guys are ready. If you aren’t with us currently, then obviously, you could go to our website and reach out for a demo so we can show you that site too, so you can start this process of leveling up your business, which is all that we think about. Every day, it’s like, how can we just lay one brick better, if we get a little bit better each day before we know it, we have a wall, before you know it, you’ve created some really neat things.
0:51:43.6 TM: Liz, let me spell our website out there one more time. So it’s A-C-S-W-A-S-C.org.
0:51:52.4 LO: Yes.
0:51:52.6 TM: A-C-S-W-A-S-C.org. And real quick, why don’t we just… What’s your email, Liz? Can we give them that?
0:52:01.4 LO: Of course, and actually… And my cell number, you can give my cell number, because we want all of these SEPs to be accredited. So my email is [email protected], so it’s W-A-S-C.org.
0:52:28.8 TM: Perfect.
0:52:29.2 LO: And then, my everything number is area code 626-290-2126. And I look forward to whoever’s gonna be out there.
0:52:45.0 CB: You’re amazing.
0:52:47.2 TM: Fun fact, Chris. We were one of the first 20 SEPs with WASC. Did you know that? And since then, they’re beyond, I think 200-300 of them, and I had no clue about that. Meanwhile, I’m all scared…
0:53:03.4 TM: And they’re probably like scared too. [laughter]
0:53:08.4 LO: Yeah. We’re growing like crazy. It’s fantastic because again, SEPs such as yours are offering classes that schools cannot offer because they can’t afford the teachers or they just… They can’t offer because of scheduling. And/or students schedules are impacted. And SEPs like yours are also becoming vendors to charter schools that are independent studies, or…
0:53:41.0 TM: Very popular.
0:53:43.4 LO: The type of homeschool, so…
0:53:44.2 CB: We are.
0:53:45.4 LO: That’s another area that’s growing as well.
0:53:48.8 TM: And I can’t wait for the charter rules to stop paying in arrears. And if they could figure that out for these businesses that are mom-and-pops, or growing businesses, to pay a month after services, that’s a whole different podcast. We might need to get a couple of the professionals from the charter world, and we know the big ones, on the podcast, Chris, and say, “What is going on? How can we work?” because…
0:54:16.0 CB: Yeah. It’s funny they don’t quite get it with regard to mom-and-pops, yeah.
0:54:20.1 TM: It’s like, sorry. For instance, Liz, we don’t use charters at Los Rios because they’re…
0:54:26.0 CB: Because they make you front payroll before they pay you.
0:54:28.6 TM: Right.
0:54:29.0 CB: And so, a lot of schools unfortunately have to bear that burden before they’re able to get remunerated. So, I mean, that’s a whole other topic…
0:54:39.9 TM: Yeah…
0:54:41.7 CB: But we have a lot…
0:54:42.3 TM: [0:54:42.3] ____ universe right now and we’re gonna get some guests on so they can talk about it with us. And then they can let everybody know like, “Don’t worry, it’s fine, you’re doing it wrong,” hopefully, or we can change it. So Liz, you were awesome. Maybe we can have you on in a year again and see how everybody’s doing or something.
0:55:00.4 CB: Absolutely, yeah. Well, and after you have…
0:55:01.3 LO: Yeah, that would be great.
0:55:01.7 CB: Hundreds of our folks reach out to you, then we’d love to hear a bunch of success stories and stuff. I wanted to just reiterate that if you teach anything, reach out because you…
0:55:17.6 TM: Except bartending school. Unless that somehow applies to home Ec. But I don’t think they’re gonna really be able to connect…
0:55:23.1 CB: No. Yeah, there might be some things, and you know if you are in that, right.
0:55:27.4 TM: The moment [0:55:28.3] ____ that are bartending all day at home, I don’t know if that’s the right business from 10:00 to 12:00, so… But no, like Chris said, don’t be afraid. Send it in. If you’re a lesson business making an impact, having people grow athletically…
0:55:42.4 CB: Coaching programs, martial arts, anything because those could be PE, supplementary PE programs. And so for those of you… Also, you’d mentioned, I just wanted to throw that out there, some of the expeditions, the academic expeditions. And so there’s so many learning programs out there that do all sorts of exploratory, expeditionary learning, and so if you have that kind of program… Just know that it’s not limited to the arts, this is open to other supplementary arts and language, I should say.
0:56:14.2 TM: What’s missing? At the school, and does your lesson business fill it? That would be the first question. It’s what’s missing. And don’t and pigeon-hole it, call, ask. Liz just gave you all of her credentials, everything. Liz is now… You have access. So our members, our listeners have access to the one of the main directors at WASC, use it. And Liz and Chris…
0:56:40.8 CB: It’s like Christmas.
0:56:43.8 LO: In July.
0:56:44.5 TM: Congratulation. Win everybody. Again, everybody, Liz, thank you. Chris, thank you. Thank you to all of our listeners for tuning in, this was The TeacherZone with Chris and Tyler sponsored of course by Teacherzone.com. And please go get our e-book if you haven’t yet, teacherzone.com/chaos. And that’s the Chaos to Culture, five stages of growth that we all grow through. That e-book is free for you. Head out there. And again, hit Liz up. It was awesome having you, guys. And we’ll see you all next time.
0:57:16.6 LO: Thanks. Bye, bye bye.
0:57:17.8 CB: Bye everybody.