All nine GRACE schools received accreditation through the Wisconsin Religious and Independent Schools Accreditation (WRISA) organization in the summer of 2019. It was a major undertaking and a remarkable accomplishment for GRACE, which is one of the largest systems in the state with about 2,200 students.
“We are incredibly proud to be the first school system (in the Diocese of Green Bay) to receive system-wide accreditation through WRISA,” Bill Micksch, Chair of the GRACE Board of Trustees, said at the time. “This accomplishment demonstrates our commitment to high achievement in all that we do. Our system-wide accreditation validates our work, which continually strives for faith-filled excellence in academics benefiting not only our students but our families and our community as well.”
The accreditation was a comprehensive culmination of two years of intensive self-study.
“We’re honored to see how our teachers and leaders embraced this significant work,” GRACE President Kimberly Desotell said at the time. “It is reflective of our dedication to the entire GRACE community.”
WRISA was formed in 1991 by the Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools to provide non-public schools with an ongoing school improvement process.
WRISA’s three-phase accreditation process provides school communities with the opportunity to explore every aspect of their school program, receive valuable feedback from a team of impartial professional educators, and develop a long-range plan using the WRISA framework. Once accredited, schools file an annual report documenting they are in compliance with the WRISA Standards and that they have made progress on their long-range plan.
WRISA is a state chapter of the National Federation of Nonpublic School State Accrediting Associations, which is recognized by the College Board and the Office of Non-Public Education, an office within the U.S. Department of Education.
Todd Blahnik, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Green Bay, said visiting accreditation team members expressed how impressed they were with all GRACE schools. “I couldn’t be more pleased at how well things went,” he said at the time. “I truly believe that if every parent could see what happens each day in our GRACE schools, they would see that the sacrifice of sending their child to a Catholic school is priceless.”
Todd Blahnik added that accreditation for schools in the Diocese of Green Bay “assures all school stakeholders that the school operations are fully connected to the school’s mission and Catholic identity, recognizes and affirms the excellent programs and unique qualities of the schools, and provides accountability to the school’s many and varied publics.”