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SAIS-SACS Accreditation
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SAIS-SACS Accreditation

Since 2004, SAIS has offered accreditation in partnership with The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Like the SAIS only process, SAIS-SACS accreditation is founded on three pillars of:

  • compliance with the standards and indicators
  • the completion of a self-study
  • a visit by a team of peer educators

This process allows our members to pursue accreditation and to maintain the identity and mission that each school embraces. We ask you to tell your story and to show us who you are. We want to know that your efforts are driven by the mission of your school and that you do what you say you do. An SAIS-SACS accreditation confirms that your intended efforts are your actualized ones.

In the SAIS-SACS process, SAIS serves as your point of contact. All accreditation efforts are managed by SAIS, though your accreditation is approved by both SAIS and SACS.

Currently there is no annual reporting to SACS (except for demographic updates as requested). Annual demographic updates are also required by SAIS at the time of yearly membership payment. In addition, an SAIS two year interim report is required as part of the SAIS accreditation.

To begin the SAIS-SACS Process:

A school must first be a member of SAIS to seek accreditation through us. Membership information is located under the ‘Membership’ tab of our website. All criteria must be met before the accreditation process can begin.

In order to maintain the quality and meaning of the SAIS “brand” of accreditation, the organization’s membership criteria has been updated. The membership criteria in place for SAIS today is much different than in the past. Schools that joined the organization under the old criteria were grandfathered. However, all member schools (even those that were grandfathered) are encouraged to meet the current criteria and seek accreditation, both of which show signs of a quality school.

If you have any questions about the current membership criteria, please contact Damian Kavanagh at (404) 918-8850 or

If you are joining SACS for the first time, please allow us to help manage your application. If you are not already a member of SACS, you may join SACS while joining SAIS. Please complete the SACS-CASI Application. The completed/signed application may be included in the membership package that you are mailing to SAIS. Please enclose a check payable to SACS in the amount selected on the Dues Schedule (page 2 of the SACS-CASI Application). The $350 SACS application fee will be waived if SACS membership is obtained through SAIS. SAIS will hand-deliver your application and check to SACS.

If you are a current member of SACS, you must maintain your membership in order to pursue and earn SAIS-SACS accreditation.

The Guidebook outlines the accreditation process from beginning to end, highlighting the ‘milestone markers’ along the way. In addition, the online video offers an additional overview of the accreditation process.

Click on the following links to access the Guidebook and Online Video

Submit the Request for Participation online form one year prior to the anticipated date of your visit. You will receive an automatic response that your form has been received. SAIS will assign a visiting team chair as quickly as possible.

A school’s self-study offers its leaders an opportunity not only to tell its story, but also to direct its future. The self-study can be completed using the any number of models, but we find that our schools most appreciate the school improvement or strategic planning options.

Click here for more information regarding self-study.

SAIS will assign your team members. You may suggest areas of expertise that would be valuable to your school, but the final creation of the team is the responsibility of SAIS, in conjunction with your chair. The actual logistics and costs of travel, lodging, food, etc, vary from visit to visit, but should be made in conjunction with the chair by the school’s accreditation coordinator. Please see the Guidebook for additional information.

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Board/Head Retreat
October 22, 2017 | Atlanta, GA
This retreat offers an excellent opportunity to strengthen the communication and partnership between heads and board members.

Annual Conference
October 22-24, 2017 | Atlanta, GA
Join us to network with regional colleagues as we delve into relevant independent school issues.

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