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MLHS & Vanguard earn State Accreditation

Moses Lake High School and Vanguard Academy

Earn Prestigious State Accreditation

June 5, 2024, [Moses Lake, WA] — The Moses Lake School District is proud to announce that Moses Lake High School (MLHS) and Vanguard Academy have successfully completed the rigorous Washington State Accreditation process, reinforcing their commitment to providing high-quality, rigorous education for its students. This accreditation not only affirms the quality education and rigorous programs available at both high schools, but also opens doors for our students to various career pathways, prestigious programs, universities, U.S Military Academies, and international universities. It also ensures eligibility for College Board programs and offers Advanced Placement courses. 

“The accreditation process is a valuable process that supports our school's commitment to continuous improvement of student learning, achievement, and growth,” said Thomas Jay, MLHS Assistant Principal. 

The accreditation process, which began in the fall of 2023, involved a thorough self-reflection and external review, assessing each school's vision, mission, District strategic plan, and School Improvement Plan (SIP). Then, throughout the year, school administrative leadership teams conducted a comprehensive self-assessment analyzing data, determining needs, setting goals, and gathering feedback from staff, students, parents, and community stakeholders. 

Following the completion of this groundwork, an external team of educators and administrators from the Association of Educational School Districts (AESD) performed a site visit to review each high school’s accreditation process and readiness for the final presentation to the ASED panel. 

“The accreditation process allowed us to review what has been accomplished as a new school and helps the Vanguard Academy continue to plan for effective communication about the powerful learning that occurs in a mastery-based learning environment,” stated Matt Stevens, Principal at Vanguard Academy.  

After the site visit, MLHS received a number of commendations as well as a few recommendations to focus on.


Commendations for Moses Lake High School included:

  • Leadership: Building leadership has positively impacted the school by building trust through communicating clear expectations and maintaining accountability for students and staff. Administrators are visible throughout the campus, regularly sharing data and feedback related to the goals, which fosters trust.
  • School Improvement Plan (SIP): The data-driven, well-developed SIP effectively targets the school’s key goals.

Recommendations for MLHS:

  • Extracurricular Opportunities: Enhance extracurricular opportunities for further student involvement, including academic support programs, sports, and academic teams, and seek transportation solutions for students who need them.
  • Parent and Community Involvement: Increase efforts to inform and involve parents and community members to gather feedback and support.

In response to these recommendations, MLHS hosted a “Coffee and Conversations” event hosted by building administrators. Parents and participants shared their thoughts on improvements and positive progress to formulate ideas and strategies with the goal of increasing student achievement and closing the achievement gap to ensure the success of every student at MLHS. 

Future plans include securing funding for after-school transportation and forming a Parent Cabinet and Student Cabinet to enhance transparency, communication, and involvement.


Vanguard Academy Commendations: 

  • Positive Learning Environment: Students and staff want to be at Vanguard and display pride for their community.
  • Relationship Building: Staff is intentional about building relationships and trust among each other and students, fostering a safe and supportive climate that provides a sense of community. The “House” structure at Vanguard nurtures this sense of belonging and family atmosphere for all.
  • Academic Monitoring: Core academics are effectively addressed and monitored in a variety of ways, both through classwork and integrated projects.

Recommendations for Vanguard:

  • Define Learning Models: Work towards a consensus about the definitions and implementations of “Mastery Based Learning,” “Project Based Learning,” and “Standards Based Learning” at Vanguard Academy.
  • Community Outreach: Further promote the learning opportunities at Vanguard to district students, parents, and local community.

In response to these recommendations, Vanguard Academy actively engaged the community by hosting events such as the Fall Festival and three exhibition nights, where students present their passion projects to parents and community members. Additionally, Vanguard Academy students have presented their work on the redesign of Yonezawa Park to the Grant County Conservation District and City of Moses Lake officials. Students have shared their project on the impacts of food waste with a number of food service organizations, such as Michael’s. They have also participated in service projects around the community and hosted tours for all 8th grade students in the Moses LAke School District prior to high school open enrollment. 

Looking ahead, Vanguard Academy plans to continue partnering with community organizations to display and receive feedback about student projects. They also aim to form a parent advisory council and increase the publication of activities and collaborations with the community and other schools.

“The feedback we received from the site team and the review panel was supportive and encouraging for the kind of learning and the valuable educational experience it provides to students. We know that incorporating the use of projects as the core of the instructional model demonstrates student achievement, and we know Vanguard provides a strong feeling of belonging and acceptance for all students,” continues principal Stevens.

The final phase of the accreditation process involved formal presentations to the AESD State Panel at Capital Region ESD 113 (Tumwater, WA). These presentations underscored the rationale for seeking accreditation, involvement of the staff, and the extensive use of data to set and achieve goals. 

While accreditation is granted for a six-year period, a third-year review is conducted to monitor ongoing progress towards school goals, celebrate successes, and make necessary adjustments.

“The process is worthwhile and provides for collaboration and reflection by the MLHS community, for external review and validation of the school improvement plan, and the process that led to its development,” added MLHS Principal, Sheila Kries. “It also serves our community a statement of accountability to the public and our students. We’re proud of the work our staff has achieved.”

About AESD Accreditation

Accredidation badge

The Washington State AESD Accreditation process is designed to assist schools in developing practices that best suit their unique needs for continuous improvement. Aligned with School Improvement Planning (SIP), it offers a personalized approach to meet each school's specific requirements. This process promotes collaboration, deep reflection, external review, and validation of school improvement plans, ensuring accountability to the public.

To date, over 300 schools across the state, ranging from middle schools, private schools and comprehensive high schools, have achieved AESD Accreditation following confirmation by a panel of volunteer ESD Board members. 

Accreditation is granted for a period of six years, conditioned on a third-year review to check on continued progress towards the school’s goals, celebrate successes, and recalibrate as needed.