Accreditation Self-Study Guidelines
The accreditation process has three phases: the self-study report, the self-study validation visit, and the follow-up. Each school is evaluated on the basis of NISAC's Standards for Accreditation, its own statement of objectives, and the degree to which it is accomplishing its purposes and functions.
A self-study is the initial step of the accreditation process. Its primary intent is to improve the quality of the instructional program of the school. The end result of the self-study process is receiving NISAC accreditation. This process should involve the administration, staff, parents, students and community, which make up the infrastructure of the school. Depending on the size of the school, the self-study usually is accomplished over a period of several months. NISAC provides self-study coordinator workshops and support to assist in conducting this step. During this phase, the self-study teams assess their school and determine its strengths and areas needing improvement based on the NISAC's Standards of Accreditation.
SELF-STUDY STEERING COMMITTEE
The self-study committee consists of a self-study coordinator, a steering committee, and sub-committees. The self-study coordinator will be the key person overseeing the process and moving the committee towards completing the self-study in a timely manner. The steering committee will consist of the self-study coordinator, the principal/administrator, the chairs of each subcommittee and other selected members.
The number and make-up of the sub-committees will vary depending on the size and programs of each school. The areas to be considered are:
Philosophy, Objectives and Organization
The basic responsibilities of the self-study coordinator and the principal/administrator are to:
1. participate in a self-study coordinator training,
2. establish a detailed timeline for the self-study and its committees,
3. determine needed support resources (finances, clerical help, etc.),
4. provide an orientation for the school staff and other interested parties,
5. appoint chairs for each subcommittee,
6. train the chairs concerning their role,
7. help form sub-committees,
8. direct and supervise the completion of the school's self-study report,
9. and assist in problem solving.
Each committee will be given one or more specific areas of the NISAC Standards for Accreditation as their focus. The basic steps in this process are to:
1. understand the purpose of the self-study is for school improvement,
2. analyze current information for each focus area,
3. evaluate findings and their effectiveness in accomplishing the school's purpose,
4. determine the school's strengths and weaknesses in each area,
5. develop plans for improving the school's educational effectiveness,
6. prepare a report for each focus areas.
SELF-STUDY VALIDATION VISIT
A visiting committee is comprised of representatives from NISAC staff and member schools. The visiting committee will review a school's self-study report prior to the visit. The visiting committee will meet with the self-study committee from the applicant school, observe school operations, validate the evidence gathered, and confer with individuals from all levels of the school. The visiting committee will draft a report of commendations and recommendations for the school, discuss the report with the self-study committee and entire school staff, and submit the report to the Council.
Depending on the terms of accreditation granted, follow-up could consist of an annual progress report or a full self-study. Each school is expected to pursue the implementation of the NISAC recommendations during their term of accreditation.