What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a voluntary process of self-evaluation and continuous improvement that reflects compliance with required standards/indicators; involves a self-study; and includes a peer review by educators from outside of your school. Independent schools that seek accreditation through SAIS understand that our process is designed specifically with you in mind. SAIS accreditation allows you to tell your story, to set your goals, to be ‘independent,’ while still fulfilling the stringent and focused compliance requirements of our process. SAIS accreditation focuses on your school and your efforts to fulfill the school’s mission.
A brief history of SAIS and SAIS-SACS Accreditation
SAIS accreditation was first offered in 2002 and has seen several revisions of indicators and practice as we have continued to refine the process. Within two years, in 2004, SAIS partnered with The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in the creation of the SAIS-SACS Accreditation process, which spoke to the needs of both of the organizations, and more importantly, to the needs of independent schools across the traditional southeastern region.
SAIS is proud to have partnered with SACS in this effort. The SAIS mission is to provide leadership, accreditation services, and professional development resources that will strengthen member schools as they fulfill their missions. We are honored to have SACS at our side.
What SAIS offers
SAIS offers accreditation of two types:
- SAIS Only: Using this process, a school responds to SAIS standards and indicators, creates a self-study, and is visited by a peer review team. SAIS membership is required.
- SAIS-SACS: Using this process, a school responds to SAIS standards and indicators (not those of SACS), creates a self-study, and is visited by a peer review team. This process results in accreditation by both SAIS and SACS, therefore membership in both SAIS and SACS is required. The accreditation process and accreditation data keeping are the responsibility of SAIS.
Once the appropriate memberships are in place, both the SAIS and SAIS-SACS accreditation processes require that a school be in compliance with all SAIS indicators. This compliance must be maintained throughout the five year period until reaccreditation. Schools report to SAIS on compliance at the two year point, using this time as a mid-cycle checkpoint for meeting goals and changes.
The logistics of the visit are presented in the SAIS Guidebook, which includes the standards/indicators. We invite you to review the Guidebook to better understand the process requirements. We also invite you to view our online accreditation video, which offers an additional overview of the SAIS process.
SAIS is a certified member of the Commission on Accreditation, currently overseen by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Not unlike a school accreditation, SAIS voluntarily participates in a rigorous and impartial review of its accreditation program, and demonstrates adherence to the Commission’s Criteria for Effective Independent School Accreditation Practices.
To view our certificate, click here.