To review WMS FINAL Self-Study & Action Plans, Visiting Committee Report 
& "Cliff Notes" of the Visiting Committee's Commendations and Recommendations, 
please scroll to the bottom of this page, click on document to download and print.

"Accreditation is a process that asks the school to demonstrate the capacity, commitment, and competence of all stakeholders to support high-quality student learning and ongoing school improvement.  Accreditation is a vehicle for the school to focus on the learning and growth of today's students and on the practices that will ensure the long-term sustainability necessary for schools to be able to serve future generations of students as well." 

July 2017

Congratulations WMS Faculty & Staff! 

May 2017

We Did It!  WMS faculty-staff celebrate completion of our mid-term Accreditation visit!  It was a team effort but special thanks 
to Pat Rice for coordinating it...not just the visit but the full year of prep!

April 2017

Mid-Cycle Accreditation Visit: Please Join Us! 

In 2014, Waimea Middle School earned a six year Accreditation term with a mid-cycle visit scheduled for this school year (2016-17) from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). 

Time flies – and our mid-cycle Visiting Committee will be here Mon.-Tues., April 10-11, 2017.  Committee members include Dr. Steve Shiraki from the UH-Manoa, and Ms. Susie Osborne, who is po’o at Kua o Ka La Public Charter School in Puna. 

Accreditation is a significant commitment by the school to “continuous improvement” with detailed collaborative action plans for focus areas identified by the Visiting Committee in 2014.  These action plans map out very specific strategies, professional development, budgets and much more to better support progress for all students.  Our faculty-staff have worked persistently throughout the past three years to fulfill this commitment and have now produced progress reports that document actions, successes and areas that need continued attention.

The Visiting Committee will review these reports and, as important, meet with school personnel, students and community members and will observe classes.  The goal is to determine whether we are making satisfactory progress.  

All WMS families and community friends are invited to attend a “Meet and Greet” with Dr. Shiraki and Ms. Osborne on Monday, April 10.  We will start with a tour of the new STEAM Building from 3:30-4:20 p.m. and will then hold our regular Local Advisory Panel (LAP) Meeting from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Classroom K-03.  Families are invited to participate in the “Meet and Greet” and LAP meeting or only the “Meet and Greet.” 

An RSVP to Family Outreach Coordinator Amy Kailimai is helpful (887-6090 Ext. 223) but not essential.  

January 2016 

Accreditation Action Plans & Implementation are in progress to systematically address:    
    • 1)     Sustainable Budget
    • 2)     Fundraising 
    • 3)     Differentiated Instruction
    • 4)     Response to Intervention (RTI) System
    • 5)     Effective Teaching/Instructional Strategies
    • 6)     Formative and Classroom-Based Assessments
    • 7)     Inclusive Learning Environment
    • 8)     Professional Development  

September 2014

KS-Supported Schools Earn Accreditation

Kamehameha Schools' I Mua Newsroom - Sept. 26, 2014

“ I look around tonight, I can see that our program has lived up to its name. Hoʻolako Like – to enrich together – is what we are doing for culture-based education today, to ensure a vibrant future for all Hawaiians for generations to come.” -- KS Interim CEO Jack Wong.  

Mahalo to Kamehameha Schools Ho'olako Like Department, and also to Ho'okako'o Corp. and Hawai'i Association of Independent Schools (HAIS) for your support of WMS -- and six other Hawaiian focused public charter schools through the Accreditation process!  Special congratulations to our "sister" Ho'okako'o schools -- Kualapu'u Elementary and Kamaile Academy!  

PROUD MOMENT: Our Ho’okako’o educational ‘ohana including leadership from both of our “sister” public conversion charter schools — Kualapu’u Elementary on Moloka’i and Kamaile Academy in Waianae  -  and our Local School Board leadership gathered recently with our Kamehameha Schools’ Ho’olako Like Division partners to celebrate the huge achievement of Accreditation and commitment to continuous improvement. Each of the schools was presented with a beautiful Kahili pa’a lima.


* * * * *

Our Accreditation Sustainable Budget & Fundraising Focus Group Rolls Out It's Initial Project:


                                                   To learn more about our Fun Run/Walk this Friday, Sept. 12, please click here!  

We'd love to have you join for this fun pauhana Friday celebration of doing the right thing for all of our community's children! 

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* * * * *

May 2014

* * * * *

May 5, 2014: Announcement Coincides With A $10M Legislative Appropriation For New STEM Building

Waimea Middle School Receives 6-Year WASC Accreditation! 

Waimea Middle School today was informed it has been awarded a 6-year Accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

“This represents national recognition of the great work our teachers and staff are doing here at Waimea Middle School (WMS). It validates the school’s academic and organizational effectiveness in delivering what’s best for students and also being committed to continuous improvement,” said Principal Matt Horne in sharing the news this morning with students, faculty, staff, families, school partners and the community.

The WASC Commission recently met and reviewed the report submitted by our school’s Visiting Committee, which was chaired by Dr. Steve Shiraki, an Education Specialist with the Hawai’i State Department of Education (DOE). Based on the Visiting Committee’s recommendation to the WASC Commission, Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School has been granted a “Six-Year Term with a Midterm Review.”

“This is perfect timing as it coincides with National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 5-9, 2014, when we honor teachers for their dedication to children,” said Horne. “Even better, is the fact that this news comes on the heels of last week’s authorization of almost $10 million by the 2014 State Legislature – to be added to the $5 million appropriated in 2013 – to construct our school’s long dreamed of 9-classroom Science-Technology building,” said Horne.

“We are ecstatic to have the building fully funded and thank our legislators – State Sen. Malama Solomon and Rep. Cindy Evans in particular. We also thank Gov. Neil Abercrombie for recently releasing the first $5M and visiting with us last week and committing to expedite release of this year’s $10M to get construction started as soon as possible,” Horne said.

“Accreditation – coupled with 21st century STEM education classrooms -- puts Waimea Middle School on the map as one of the state’s most progressive and effective public middle schools,” said Horne.

"This is a real milestone in Waimea Middle’s history as a school – congratulations to everyone who was involved.  We couldn’t be happier for the students and families of Waimea,” said Dr. Megan McCorriston on behalf of Ho’okako’o, which is school’s governing board.

“I couldn’t be happier for the whole community of Waimea; it’s wonderful to have such a great school in our town,” said WMS parent John Balaam.


Daniel Gomez, another WMS parent who serves as a volunteer member of the school’s Local Advisory Panel, said: “The real testament of what your efforts have already achieved is in more than WASC’s Accreditation…but in the daily and weekly effects seen in kids and families who, like mine, regularly experience the benefits or your life-giving passion! Thanks to each of you for your limitless giving and care towards each of our keiki (including the smallest unseen acts from the many of you behind the scenes who might go unacknowledged).” 

We extend deep gratitude to our entire faculty and staff, every single one of whom has participated in the Accreditation process,” said Horne. 

“We especially thank our school’s Accreditation Steering Committee that included teacher Nau’i Murphy and school counselor Mary Martinson working with long-time Waimea educator Pat Rice. We also thank our focus group chairs, our volunteer Local Advisory Panel (LAP), our Ho’okako’o Local School Board, and also students, parents and community members who have been deeply involved in our accreditation,” said Horne.

WMS applied for accreditation with the assistance of Hawai’i Association of Independent Schools (HAIS) and Kamehameha Schools. We established eight focus groups tasked with examining all aspects of school life, from curriculum, assessment and governance to student supports and family engagement, to facilities and financial accountability and transparency. These focus groups produced a comprehensive Self Study that identified strengths and challenges. These conclusions were prioritized and four Action Plans developed that commit the school to an accountable course of continuous improvement, said Horne.

HAIS then identified an Accreditation Visiting Team of respected educators to thoroughly review the school and its Self Study and Action Plans.  Visiting Team members in addition to Dr. Shiraki included Ryan Masa, Chief School Officer with the Hawaiian Education Council, Dr. Katina Soares, Vice Principal of Kualapu’u Public Conversion Charter School on Moloka’i, Mollie Sperry, a retired head of school, and Puanani Wilhelm, Education Director for Kua O Ka La Public Charter School.

The Visiting Committee spent three days here in late March conducting an in-depth review that involved observing every teacher in action, as well as interviewing each of the focus groups and also students, families, community members, partners, the school’s administrators and its local school board. The Visiting Team then produced a 57-page report for WASC that included both extensive commendations and recommendations to guide the school’s ongoing improvement process. 

“The Visiting Committee had high praise for WMS as a safe and caring school with strong student supports and family and community involvement. The Visiting Committee also commended our school’s dedicated team of teachers for going above and beyond to fulfill the school’s mission of ‘empowering all students with the skills, values and cultural understanding to successfully navigate high school and beyond’,” said Horne.

“To celebrate these two significant achievements, we are today inviting the entire Waimea school-community to a steak fry next Wed., May 14, from 5-7 p.m. in the school cafeteria.  It’ll be a wonderful celebration to recognize community-wide support for doing what’s best for the children of Waimea. The steak fry is being hosted by a private funder, The Neilan Foundation, which is helping WMS become more sustainable by underwriting cost saving strategies such as converting to photo voltaic and exploring purchase of our own school buses. The steak fry is free to children 14 and under; it’s really free to everyone else but we do suggest a donation and all money raised will go to our new School Bus Fund,” said Horne.

The steak fry also will include presentation of The Neilan Foundation’s new WMS “Grit” Awards for 30 students, and five $1,000 Teacher-Staff “Culture of Excellence” Awards. 

“What a great year it is for the children of Waimea!  We hope the entire community will join us May 14 for a delicious meal and to thank everyone who has made this possible,” said Horne.

Waimea Middle School is the public school of the Waimea/South Kohala region of Hawai’i Island with about 285 6th-8th grade students.  For more information about the school, including the Accreditation Self Study and Visiting Committee Report, go to

April 2014 

Accreditation Visiting Committee Commends WMS!

Accreditation is a never-ending process. It’s all about “continuous improvement” and our faculty and staff are committed to this.

But — really — it’s time to celebrate!  Last week’s formal Visit for Accreditation culminated 2+ years of hard work involving the entire faculty and staff and also many families and community friends. We won’t know the specific recommendation made by the Visiting Committee  to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) for a few more weeks, but the committee did share major Commendations and Recommendations. We anxiously await the written report but for now, we are happy to share several major Commendations:

C They commended WMS administration, faculty and staff for creating a safe, nurturing environment where students can focus on their learning.

C They commended students for embracing schoolwide core values and demonstrating them in their relationships with staff, other students, and the community.

C They commended the faculty and staff for their dedication to student learning as evidenced by their involvement in co-curricular and extra-curricular programs, their participation in school decisions, and their willingness to overlap roles and work beyond the required hours to ensure the work is done.

C They commended the school and its community partners who individually and collectively help to create meaningful, relevant learning experiences that extend far beyond the classroom to promote quality student learning and achievement.

There were other Commendations and many Recommendations and we will share these when they are finalized. But for now, we are celebrating everyone’s collaborative hard work and professionalism focused on what’s best for our students.

Mahalo to everyone who contributed to this process with a special Mahalo to our Ho’okako’o Local School Board and staff, our volunteer Local Advisory Panel, our internal Accreditation Steering Committee, and to the families and friends who attended last week’s LAP meeting (almost 50 strong!) and who spoke so passionately in support of our school. 

A Warm Mahalo!  


March 2014

WMS To Welcome WASC Accreditation Visiting Committee 

March 30-April 2, 2014


Waimea Middle School, which was designated a “Candidate for Accreditation” about 18 months ago by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), will welcome WASCʻs five-member Visiting Committee to campus March 30-April 2, 2014 to determine if the 285-student 6th, 7th and 8th grade public school is ready to be Accredited. 


The WASC Accreditation process is designed to assist schools in engaging the energies of all members of the school-community in reviewing and clarifying the school’s purpose, analyzing the effectiveness of the current program for students, developing plans to strengthen the current program, and assessing the stability and operation of the school.


Members of the WASC Visiting Committee include Team Chair Steve Shiraki with the DOE Office of Curriculum Instruction and Student Support, Katina Soares, Vice Principal at Kualapuʻu Elementary Public Conversion Charter School on Molokaʻi, Puanani Wilhelm, Education Director at Kua O Ka La Public Charter School in Pahoa, Ryan Masa, Chief School Officer at Hawaiian Education Council, and Mollie Sperry, Head of School (retired) with Academy of the Pacific. 


Preparing for this Accreditation visit has been a two-year process involving every member of the WMS faculty and staff and also its Hoʻokakoʻo Local School Board, its Local Advisory Panel (LAP) and its families and students.  They have collaborated on an in-depth Self-Study that evaluates the effectiveness of the school’s programs and operations to support high achievement of all students.  

The WMS Accreditation Self-Study resulted in developing four schoolwide Action Plans that will serve as a guide for ongoing improvement.  WMS Action Plans address (1) Student Supports, (2) Curriculum Alignment, (3) Educational Technology and (4) Development and Resource Management. 

During the visit, Accreditation team members will observe all classrooms, meet with faculty and staff members of the Self-Studyʻs eight Focus Groups to discuss their research, findings and proposed Action Plans, and talk with students, families and community partners. 


All WMS families, community partners and friends are invited to meet with the Accreditation Visiting Committee during the monthly Local Advisory Panel (LAP) meeting from 4-6 p.m., Mon., March 31 in Classroom K-04.  The meeting, chaired by community volunteer Dr. Kamana Beamer, will begin with a presentation by WMS 8th grade East Coast Travelers who will have just returned from an American History educational trip to Washington, D.C, New York City and Philadelphia. 

Supporting WMS through the Accreditation process has been the Hawai’i Association of Independent Schools (HAIS) and Kamehameha Schools.  

* * * * *

Very Important WMS Local Advisory Panel (LAP) Meeting with Accreditation Visiting Committee  

Mon., March 31, 4-6 p.m.  Classroom K-04.  Please join us!  

                                                                                                        All families and community friends welcome as well as students and faculty-staff.   

    * * * * *

February 2014

Waimea Middle School is currently involved in a joint Accreditation process through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Hawai’i Association of Independent Schools (HAIS). 

From March 30-April 2, 2014, we will be involved in our formal visit with 5 members selected by HAIS.  During the visit, we will ask stakeholders from all members of the school-community to meet with the visiting team to share perceptions of the school.

The Accreditation process is designed to assist schools in engaging the energies of all members of the school-community in reviewing and clarifying the school’s purpose, analyzing the effectiveness of the current program for students, developing plans to strengthen the current program, and assessing the stability and operation of the school.

We began the Accreditation process in the 2011-’12 school year with an Initial Visit with two representatives selected by HAIS.   In school year 2012-13 we began year one of our Self-Study.  This school year (2013-14), we completed the Self-Study in November and submitted it to WASC and HAIS. 

It is our hope that we will earn a substantial term of Accreditation.  

Progress Recap:

December 2013

Our Self-Study and Action Plans have now been submitted to WASC and HAIS and our formal Accreditation Visit is scheduled for Sun., March 30-Wed., April 2, 2014.  Details to come.  Mahalo to all for the tremendous effort that went into getting us to this point and supporting continuous school improvement!  

To review our Self-Study and Action Plans, please scroll to the bottom of this page and download pdf file. 

Please note:  The entire WMS school-community especially families and community friends are invited to our WMS LAP meeting from 4-6 p.m., Mon., March 31, 2014 to meet with the Accreditation Visiting Committee.  It would ideal to have reviewed the school's Self-Study and Action Plans prior to this meeting.  Questions?  Please call Principal Matt Horne (887-6090 Ext. 225).  

* * * * *

October 2013

Accreditation Process Continues

                                                         Family Input Requested On DRAFT 'Action Plans' 

A letter has been sent home to WMS families in the Oct. 15 Tuesday Envelope asking for input on our Draft Action Plans.  These Draft Action Plans identify specific steps to be undertaken to achieve specific goals and also who is responsible for the actions and a timeline.  The purpose of Action Plans is to help move the school forward in supporting student achievement by addressing the top priorities identified in our in-depth Self Study.  

Here's the 2-page letter that was sent to families identifying the four Action Plans and asking for comments.  While the deadline was originally Oct. 21, we would still welcome input...please click to download, and then provide your thoughts (they can be hand-written and also may remain anonymous).  They have your student return it to his/her Advisory teacher or to the school office.  If it's easier to respond by email, please send comments to Mrs. Pat Rice ( 

An update on Accreditation will be shared at our next Local Advisory Panel (LAP) Meeting - 4-6 p.m., Mon., Oct. 28 in Classroom K-04.  Everyone is welcome to all LAP meetings.  Please click here to see the complete LAP agenda.  Mahalo! 

* * * * *

Finalized Vision, Mission, Beliefs & Schoolwide Learning Results (October 2013)
(This document reflects schoolwide input including faculty, staff, students, families, community members and our Local Advisory Panel.) 

November 2012

Accredition Self-Study Continues

Family Input Requested On DRAFT ‘Vision, Beliefs, School Wide Learning Results’

A letter was sent home to WMS Families in the November 13, 2012 Tuesday Envelope, asking them to please review the Draft “Vision, Beliefs & School Wide Learning Results” Statement.  This is part of our on-going Accreditation Self-Study. 


DRAFT - DRAFT - DRAFT  (To print and review, double click on this document or scroll to the bottom of the page)

August 2012

WMS Accreditation Leadership:

Matt Horne, Nau'i Murphy, Pat Rice & Mary Martinson 

Formation of School-Community Accreditation Focus Groups:

1) The School’s Philosophy/Purpose (Articulation WG) – led by Tisha Gusman & Catherine Shafer

2) The Governing Body (Governance WG) – led by Erica Owens

3) Finances/Development/Fundraising – led by Cherise Mundon

4) Administration/Faculty & Staff (ELT WG) – led by Jade Bowman and Mary Martinson.

5) Students – led by Shelby Loo.

6) The Community of the School – led by Patti Cook.

7) The Program (STEM WG) – led by Eunice "Laz" Lazarus & Spencer Williams

8) The School Plant/Health & Safety – led by Sherri Takamoto. 


To read more about the "assignment" each of these groups are working on, scroll to the bottom and download the Self Study K-12 Secondary Template provided by the Hawai'i Association of Independent Schools (HAIS). 

May 2012

Congratulations To All -- This Is A Major Step Forward!

Waimea Middle School Becomes

‘A Candidate For Accreditation’!

In what represents a major step forward and recognizes schoolwide academic  progress, Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School has become a “Candidate for Accreditation.”  This was approved by the Schools Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and comes after an Initial Accreditation Visit on April 13, 2012, covering the school’s entire 6th, 7th and 8th grade academic programs.  WASC Accreditation of a school is considered the “Good Housekeeping Seal” of approval in the education world.

WMS’ Initial Accreditation Visit Report prepared by the visiting team cites the following Schoolwide Areas of Strength:

  • The entire school staff for remaining on a steady course of action keeping students focused on their work, unified in purpose consistent with their mission and vision.
  • A dedicated staff that put kids first, creating the best experiences possible for them.
  • The entire school staff for remaining on a steady course of action keeping students focused on their work, unified in purpose consistent with their mission and vision.
  • A dedicated staff that put kids first, creating the best experiences possible for them.
  • Data-driven instruction and decision-making in collaboration with various stakeholder groups.                                 
  • Well run facilities, adequate instructional space and significant room for expansion.
  • School leadership and staff for providing a variety of learning experiences that support the needs of middle school learners.
  • School leadership, staff, parents and students for consistent academic growth over time and exceeding benchmarks for average daily attendance.
  • Administration, teachers and staff for providing a safe, secure learning environment with disciplinary referrals below statewide middle school averages.
  • School leadership for strong, coordinated community involvement in planning the future of WMS.
  • A Local School Board – Ho’okako’o Corp. – for establishing a consistent, systematic improvement path for its charter schools tied to specific multi-year Indicators of Success dashboards.

For WMS, “Candidacy for Accreditation” means the school has agreed to collaborate on preparing a written report to the WASC Commission to address progress that is being made in meeting the recommendations of the Initial Visiting Committee.  This report will be due no later than June 1, 2013. 

Also, prior to the end of the term of candidacy, the school must complete a self-study that evaluates the effectiveness of the school’s programs and operations to support high achievement of all students. 

What does “Candidacy For Accreditation” mean to students, families and our community? 

WMS will need to form Focus Groups and will be inviting students, family members and community members to participate as the school embarks on a comprehensive self-study.  The self-study will include a schoolwide action plan that will serve as a guide for ongoing improvement.

We will have more about this to share with the start of the next school year - stay tuned!  

Supporting WMS through the accreditation process are Kamehameha Schools, Ho’okako’o Corp., and the Hawai’i Association of Independent Schools (HAIS).

Waimea Middle School's Accreditation Team is led by Pat Rice, Mary Martinson and Nau'i Murphy. 


For more information about WASC's Accreditation process:

Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Accrediting Commission for Schools
533 Airport Blvd., Suite 200
Burlingame, CA 94010

To read WMS' Initial Accreditation Report, scroll to the bottom of this page and download the attachment. 

* * * * * 

Accreditation Begins!  Initial Team Visit April 13, 2012

Accreditation is considered the “Good Housekeeping Seal” of school excellence. 

With the support of and serious preparation by our faculty and staff, and also with the support of Kamehameha Schools,

Ho’okako’o Corp. and the Hawai’i Association of Independent Schools (HAIS),

WMS formally began the school Accreditation process by welcoming

an Initial WASC visiting team to campus April 13. 

This represents a huge step forward for the school and reflects our ongoing commitment

to constant improvement with student learning and high expectations for all.

Accreditation guests visited classes, talked with students, faculty, staff and family members

as well as Ho'okako'o Board members and staff. 

The purpose of the visit is to become a “candidate” for Accreditation,

which requires a commitment to a deep three-year self-study of this school-community’s vision, goals and dreams. 

We thank our teacher and staff as well as Kamehameha Schools, HC, HAIS and WASC

for helping to keep us moving forward!