What Is Accreditation?
Accreditation is a self-evaluation process that schools and school systems voluntarily use to demonstrate they are meeting a defined set of research-based performance standards. The standards examine schools in a holistic way, supplementing student-testing data to provide a more complete measure of a school’s performance and chart a strategic and realistic course for continuous school improvement.
Why should your school be accredited by Middle States?
1. Helps you and your colleagues successfully establish and reach goals, develop a strategic plan, promote staff development and more.
2. Gives staff a sense of pride in their work and provides opportunities for professional development.
3. Builds coalitions of parents, teachers and administrators and unites diverse groups in the effort to provide the best outcomes possible for your students.
4. Gives your school an advantage with parents who want their children to attend a school with high standards where student achievement is paramount.
5. Without accreditation, graduates of your schools may not be able to attend certain colleges or qualify for federal grants or loans that make college possible for many students.
How does the accreditation process work?
The process begins with a self-study conducted by the school and requires input from a coalition of school leaders, teachers, parents and students. Following the self-study, a team of volunteer educators from Middle States-accredited schools conducts an on-site peer review to observe school operations and interview various stakeholders. The team then makes its recommendation to Middle States, where it undergoes a multi-level review by some of the best educators in the field before being approved.One-size does not fit all
The Middle States Association’s accreditation process respects the individual nature and character of each school. Although it is required that all schools meet the same Standards for Accreditation, there is sufficient flexibility within the Standards and protocols so that different schools can demonstrate they meet the Standards in different ways.
The MSA Standards for Accreditation
When it comes to evaluating schools and school systems, the Middle States Association looks at the whole school- not just test scores. We realize that improving outcomes requires a comprehensive approach. When we assess whether a school should be accredited we look at how the school performs in 12 key areas that make up our Standards for Accreditation:
Governance and Leadership
School Improvement Planning
School Organization and Staff
Health and Safety
Assessment and Evidence of Student Learning
Student Life and Activities