Sequoia Pathway Academy is going through the arduous, voluntary process of becoming an accredited high school.

Sequoia Pathway Academy is seeking accreditation, school officials said.

Mariama Jenkins, a spokesman for accrediting agency AdvancED, said the charter school became a candidate for accreditation in April after first applying in 2014.

The school opened in 2009.

“We are happy to be partners with AdvancED and will continue finalizing our process,” said District Director Alfonso Alva.

A parent of one graduate has said she was surprised to learn Pathway was a nonaccredited school.

Danelle Mayfield’s son graduated from the school in May. She heard Pathway was not accredited two months later through a social media post on a community forum.

“Since we’ve now found out that Pathway is not an accredited school, my son even told me that if he would have known that, he would’ve gone to Maricopa (High School) to graduate,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield pulled her fourth-grade daughter from the school this year and placed her in a Maricopa Unified School District elementary “because of the accreditation status and because of the multiple teachers and administration that [were] leaving Pathway,” she said.

Notable administrative changes at the school over the summer included the departure of former high school Principal Nate Lamma and elementary Assistant Principal Aundre Bell.

Alva said the school is scheduled to have an accreditation review by AdvancED next spring per policy.

Mark Plitzuweit, CEO of Edkey Inc., the parent company over Sequoia Pathway Academy, said although accreditation for K-12 schools is not a requirement, the administration is committed to following through with the rest of the process.

“Our graduates are able to continue on into fields of their choosing, even as far back as 2009, as long as they meet either the employment requirements or school entrance requirements,” Plitzuweit said.

Graduates from nonaccredited schools still have access to higher learning, although they may have additional steps to complete before acceptance.

For example, according to an Arizona State University spokesperson, ASU will accept students who have graduated from a nonaccredited high school, if they meet freshman admission requirements and additional criteria, including:

  • An admissible GED score, or
  • completion of an associate’s degree, or
  • Written confirmation/acknowledgement that the school in question is in progress of seeking accreditation from the state, or
  • Written confirmation/acknowledgement that the state recognizes diplomas from this school. 

Accredited schools in Maricopa include Legacy Traditional Charter School and Maricopa High School. The purpose of accreditation is to certify an institution has met established standards and assist the school in achieving goals.