Saint Mary's Catholic School is a part of the Western Catholic Education Association.
WHAT IS WCEA?
The Western Catholic Educational Association is a private educational accrediting agency established under the auspices of the Bishops of the Catholic (Arch) Dioceses of California.
The mission of WCEA is to promote quality Catholic education for students in our member elementary and secondary schools through an accrediting process that assures the primacy of faith formation and educational excellence.
The major purpose of this agency is to coordinate the accreditation process by assisting schools in their self-evaluative programs, to establish general standards for excellence, to grant WCEA Accreditation, and to cooperate formally with regional accrediting organizations as determined by the WCEA Board of Directors.
How does Saint Mary's fit into the process?
The Catholic Elementary Schools were founded essentially as parish schools after the Council of Baltimore in 1884. For over 100 years these schools were conducted by various Religious Orders of men and women.
The purpose of the Catholic parish school was primarily to teach the Roman Catholic faith. The second purpose was to develop an academic curriculum that would be permeated with the values taught in the Roman Catholic Church.
Over the years, it became more important to guarantee the parents and the parish that the elementary school was academically sound and spiritually formative for its students. School accreditation was a means to that end.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Western Catholic Educational Association came into being with its emphasis on the Catholic identity of the school as well as its academic program. Today all Catholic elementary schools (both parish and private) are fully accredited by the WCEA in California and Hawaii. To date, seven other western states [including Montana] have adopted the WCEA process for school accreditation with the same purposes in mind.