What is Accreditation?
Independent School accreditation is a peer-review process that fosters excellence in education and encourages school improvement through discovery, dialogue, compliance, and commitment. Accreditation enables a member school to develop clearly defined goals and objectives based on its unique mission and philosophy.
Accreditation is both a process and a status. It is the process of reviewing schools and their programs to assess their educational quality – how well they serve students and society. This review is repeated every five to ten years if the institution or program is to sustain its accreditation. The result of the successfully completed process is the designation of “accredited” status.
What is Recognition?
ICAISA Recognition is a status conferred to ICAISA members that have successfully completed the recognition process. The recognition process includes a self-study prepared by the accrediting association followed by a visit conducted by peer reviewers from other accreditation organizations. A major focus of the recognition process is the assessment of compliance and alignment with the ICAISA Guiding Principles, including the Criteria for Effective Accreditation Practices. Accrediting associations must demonstrate ongoing compliance with ICAISA Guiding Principles through a ten-year cycle of reviews in order to maintain recognition status.
As the leader of a school accredited by two ICAISA member organizations, I can attest to the importance and influence of the accrediting process in helping our school and our community of trustees, faculty and staff, students, and parents to thrive within the context of our mission. As a Head of School who embraces the challenge and responsibility of leading an accrediting team and serving on a standards committee, I can confidently assert that ICAISA recognized associations serve a vital role in promoting the rich variety of strong, mission-driven independent schools across the globe.
– David W. Monaco, Allen Meyer Family Head of School, Parish Episcopal School
What is the value of Accreditation
The accreditation process provides an opportunity for a school to periodically assess and refine its mission and purpose, including outcomes for its students. The school also provides evidence to show its success in achieving these outcomes. Because each school community is unique, the accreditation process requires a school to demonstrate how its practices align with its mission and values. By seeking accreditation, a school demonstrates its commitment to quality assurance by meeting established standards and ensuring continuous improvement.
What if a school is not meeting standards?
ICAISA Complaint Policy
Complaints between individual persons and schools: It is ICAISA’s policy to not intervene in any specific complaints between an individual and a school. ICAISA encourages these individuals to pursue their issue directly with the school by contacting the appropriate school official.
Complaints between individual persons and ICAISA Member Associations: If an individual believes that an ICAISA-member association is not conducting its accreditation program with broad and general adherence to the ICAISA Criteria for Effective Independent School Accreditation Practices, that individual may submit his/her written complaint in writing to the Executive Director of ICAISA. The complaint must be signed and dated and must include contact information for the complainant. It is within the sole discretion of the Executive Director of ICAISA, after consultation with selected members of the Board of Directors, to determine whether or not to respond to the complaint, to conduct any necessary investigation and to determine the nature of the response. ICAISA will endeavor to maintain confidentiality regarding the complaint and any resulting investigation and response.