SAIS Accreditation Policies
- Accreditation Committee: The SAIS Board of Trustees has established the SAIS Accreditation Committee to oversee the accreditation services offered by SAIS. The committee is charged with the following duties:
- Develop and monitor policies and procedures pertaining to accreditation.
- Recommend the fee structure for participating schools and other cost issues pertaining to the accreditation process.
- Establish and maintain a review board whose members review and act upon visiting team recommendations regarding accreditation status and recommend actions to the Board of Trustees.
- The Board of Trustees reviews and officially approves the schools recommended for accreditation by the Accreditation Committee.
- Accreditation Appeal Process
- If the visiting team recommendation is rejected by a review board, specific reasons will be given and the school may be given a timeframe and assistance to address deficiencies.
- The decision of a review board may be appealed in writing by the head of school, referencing specific area(s) in which the school was found deficient.
- A subsequent review board will review the original review board’s findings and the head of school’s appeal letter.
- If the decision is upheld by the subsequent review board, the decision may be appealed in writing by the head of school to the SAIS Board of Trustees.
- The school’s accreditation status will remain unchanged during an appeals process.
- The judgment of the SAIS Board of Trustees is final.
- Interim Report Requirements: Accredited schools must submit a two-year interim report to SAIS after the team visit. This report ensures continued compliance with standards/indicators and documents efforts made in addressing the visiting team’s recommendations and the school’s self-study goals.
- Member in good standing: Schools must remain a member in good standing with all annual membership dues paid in full and abide by policies and procedures.
- Notification of substantive change / head of school change: Accredited schools must notify SAIS in a timely manner of a substantive change using the form at www.sais.org/change. Changes may include: head of school change, other leadership changes, adding or contracting grade levels, merger, name change, mission change, major construction, crisis situation, litigation, school closure, other changes. In the event of a substantive change, SAIS may request additional information or conduct a visit to the school.
- Statement on retention of student records if a school closes: SAIS schools are required to implement and maintain a records retention system that meets applicable governmental requirements for all operating, financial, personnel, and student records (SAIS Indicator 5.12). The records retention system applies to paper and electronic records, includes appropriate back-up systems, and details consistent processes for records destruction. In states where no guidance is provided by governmental agencies, SAIS schools should consult with the SAIS office to ensure appropriate access and maintenance of all relevant records in the event of school closure.
- Terms of accreditation and re-accreditation: Terms of accreditation are generally for five years commencing on July 1 and concluding on June 30. Schools must host a visiting team prior to the expiration of their term of accreditation and during the same semester of their previous accreditation if a re-accreditation visit and within three years of becoming a candidate for accreditation if an initial accreditation. Any variance to an accreditation timeline must be approved by SAIS. The visit will demonstrate the school’s integrity and trustworthiness in complying with standards and responding to previous recommendations. A new self-study is required for each five-year period reflecting evidence of continuous improvement. SAIS will typically notify schools of their visit 18-24 months prior and will ask the school to complete a Request for Participation form.
- Non compliance: Stakeholders may file a non-compliance complaint against a school. Upon receipt and verification of a non-compliance report, the school will be given an opportunity to respond to the inquiry. The inquiry, response, and any subsequent written correspondence on the matter may be made available to the accreditation visiting team chair on the next accreditation visit. However, an immediate investigative visit to the school may be undertaken if the response by the school is unsatisfactory or an accumulation of complaints indicates that a school’s response is inconsistent with a preponderance of evidence. As is frequently the case, if a school’s practices are bordering on non-compliance, a discussion that is triggered by a non-compliance complaint is often a catalyst to remedy such practices. In the event that a school is not compliant, a series of actions will be undertaken with the school such as but not limited to: a request to remedy the non-compliance issue, placing the school on warned status or probation, and an ultimate action of dropping accreditation.