St. Mary’s School receives WRISA accreditation

By Jalen Maki

Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor

TOMAHAWK – The Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Religious and Independent Schools Accreditation (WRISA) announced the accreditation of St. Mary’s School in Tomahawk on Jan. 20.

The school had proven compliance with WRISA educational standards and is a member in good standing, according to a release from WRISA.

According to WRISA’s website,, the Guiding Principles of Accreditation include the school being evaluated “as far as possible, in terms of its own vision, mission, and core values. Although individual differences exist among schools and communities, schools are evaluated in terms of standards.”

Schools are also evaluated “upon the basis of its total identity as an institution of learning. While it seems necessary that a school be judged in terms of its particular characteristics, it is recognized that variations will appear in the degree of success achieved.”

“Standards should promote educational growth,” the website states. “They should guide continuous self-evaluation and improvement.”

The standards address “certain basic characteristics,” including the “intellectual and moral climate of the school; condition of the school facility and grounds; adequacy of equipment and supplies; quality of instructional materials; preservation of student records; existence of school policies; proof of a stable financial condition; evidence of a comprehensive educational program; evidence of long/short-range planning; evidence of ongoing professional development of staff; and evidence of qualified leadership and educational staff,” according to the website.

“We applaud the accomplishments of the St. Mary School community and its commitment to ongoing school improvement and high standards of excellence,” WRISA Executive Director Beatrice Weiland stated.

Weiland said all religious and independent schools in the state that have been in operation with students for at least two years and meet extensive eligibility criteria may apply to WRISA for entry in to the accreditation process. Schools are required to complete a comprehensive year-long Self Study, host a Site Visit by a team of peers, and develop and implement a Long Range Plan for school improvement.

Accredited schools enter a seven-year cycle, in which they submit Annual Reports to the Board of Directors that detail progress in meeting yearly goals. Schools conduct a new Self Study in the cycle’s sixth year, followed by another Site Visit and the submittal of a new Visiting Team Report and Long Range Plan to the Board of Directors in the seventh year.

For more information and a complete listing of schools, visit

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