Each Member diocese has both an Elementary School and High School WCEA Commissioner. It is the responsibility of the respective Commissioners to assist the school community in the preparation of a Self Study document using an approved Protocol:
- Improving Student Learning (ISL 2012) for Catholic elementary schools
- Ensuring Educational Excellence (E3) for Catholic high schools.
These Protocols are criteria-based and lead the school to examine specific aspects of school life and the extent at which they are met in this time in the school's history such as:
- Catholic Identity (the school is measured by 8 standards, i.e. prayer life, sacramental life, service projects, and the permeation of Catholic values in all aspects of school life)
- Organization for Learning (how the school is goverened and administrated)
- Curriculum and Instruction (what is learned and how it is taught)
- Support Services (Academic Counseling, Assisting Students with Special Needs, Spiritual Counseling)
- Resources (Financial and Human Resources)
The school community then prepares for a three-day visit by an accreditation team composed of educators who are trained evaluators from other schools with educational expertise.
A Visiting Committee spends three days with the school community after review of the Self Study document. During the three-day visit, the Committee visits classrooms, investigates the written evidence of responses to the WCEA criteria, holds interviews with the members of the school community, and prepares a written report on its findings. The Visiting Committee also writes a recommendation of an Accreditation Status based upon factors relative to the school community’s successes and growth needs. This report and recommendation is given to the WCEA Commissioner. In May of each year, the full WCEA Commission reads the reports and recommendations and votes for an Accreditation Status for each school.