The Catholic Mission Schools of Palau, Mindszenty High School (MHS) and Maris Stella School, have both been granted a six-year accreditation status by the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC).
The accreditation status is based on findings from the schools’ reports, which have been compiled by the schools’ staff and stakeholders over the past couple years, and the WASC accreditation team’s visits to the schools in December 2020. The status will be valid up to June 30, 2027.
Accreditation from ACS WASC, which has accredited over five thousand schools worldwide, is meant to increase a school’s reliability for student families and for colleges to which graduating students apply, by demonstrating that a school meets an internationally-recognized standard.
While originally serving schools in California and Hawaii, WASC is now accrediting over 400 schools outside of the US, including schools in the Freely Associated States, Peru, and East Asia. Accreditation status is based on the academic goals of a school, as well as the school’s ability to demonstrate that it has the policies, resources, and practices in place to achieve those goals.
Father Richard McAuliff, Director of Catholic Schools in Yap and Palau, commented that achieving a six-year WASC accreditation on the first visit from an accreditation team is a particularly impressive accomplishment.
“A six-year term of accreditation from WASC is a great sign of success,” said Fr. McAuliff.
According to a letter written to MHS by Gregory Franklin, Commission Chairperson for ACS WASC, the status is dependent upon the schools’ “continual adherence with the ACS WASC policies, procedures, and criteria for accreditation”, including the requirement that schools annually contribute members to participate on visiting committees. The school will receive a two-day “mid-cycle” visit from the accreditation team in three years, in order to determine if the school’s action plan presented during the accreditation process has been followed and has shown progress.
Principals Julita Dohorong of MHS and Lorenza Olkeriil of Maris Stella both congratulated the staff, the board members, the students, and the students’ families for working together to achieve the six-year accreditation.
MHS Principal Dohorong stressed that all of the school’s administration and staff was involved in the long process, from preparing reports to undergoing classroom observations.
“We’ve all been working hard for this,” said Principal Dohorong. “Despite the challenges we face here, we have a dedicated staff and stakeholders who really do their best to make sure that student learning remains strong. I hope this is a testament to everyone that perseverance really does bring about rewards.”
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has been pushing for schools in Palau to achieve accreditation status for the past several years, as part of an effort to standardize Palau’s educational system. Palau High School (PHS) was the first of Palau’s schools to gain WASC accreditation in 2006.

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