Our Philosophy

 

  We believe the goal of a school should be to provide the best educational program for its students. The program, encompassing both the cognitive and effective components of education, should foster human growth and development and enable the students to become responsible, productive members of our democratic society.

  Each school should engage in ongoing program improvement, through objective and subjective, internal and external evaluations to assess progress in achieving its philosophy, goals and objectives.

  The primary goal of evaluation and accreditation is the self-improvement of the school. A self-evaluation process by the staff and community of the school, with the assistance of self-study instruments, is the primary basis for evaulation and accreditation of a school. The Council grants accreditation when the school provides compelling evidence that (1) it is substantially accomplishing its own stated purposes and function identified as appropriate for an institution of its type, and (2) the school is meeting an acceptable level of quality in accordance with the general standards adopted by the Council.

Terms of Accreditation

 

1. Candidate for Accreditation

To become a Candidate, a school submits an application, fee, and participates in a review by a visitation committee. Providing the institution meets minimum standards, the school will become a Candidate. Candidacy terms require an annual report and expires at the end of three years.

 

2. Accreditation

Full accreditation may be applied for after a first year as a Candidate. Application, fee, a Self-study, and a visitation committee are important parts of the process. Terms may be granted for periods from one to six years.

The Accreditation Process

 

  1. Apply for Candidacy for Accreditation. When a school believes they are reasonably moving towards meeting NISAC’s “Standards for Accreditation,” they may apply for Candidacy for Accreditation. Candidacy is required prior to applying for full accreditation.

 

  2. Schedule a candidacy visitation. A candidacy visitation is scheduled in order to meet with school administration and staff, to verify the application information, identify commendations and recommendations for  pursuing full accreditation.

 

  3. Apply for Accreditation. After working through any recommendations, a school may apply for accreditation after their first year as a Candidate. A self-study is required for the school to detail who they are, how they function and areas for improvement. A visitation committee is then scheduled to come and confirm the self-study, identifying commendations and recommendations. The accreditation board reviews the findings of the visitation committee and determines eligibility and terms for accreditation. Once accepted, a school works through the self-study/visitation committee process for a new term of accreditation.

 

Standards for Accreditation

 

In applying for membership, address each general area with narrative, comments, description (use additional paper when necessary), or refer to any supportive documentation you have included:

1. Philosophy and Objectives

A.        Define your educational philosophy and statement of objectives

B.         Both statements shall reflect a professional perspective of education and an understanding of student growth and development.

2. Organization

A.        The business structure shall be clearly defined and maintenance of all necessary documents shall comply with local and state

            requirements. (Types of Structure: Profit or Non-profit corporation, sole proprietor, general partnerships or partnerships

B.         Each organization shall have a governing body, school board or committee, which shall be responsible for the development of

            general policy, direction, and financial stability of the institution.

C.        The governing body, school board or committee shall maintain printed materials available to the general public of its structure,

            internal policies and procedures. All legally binding decisions and/or contracts shall be properly documented. Policies and

            procedures shall show professional ethics and high standards.

D.        The governing body, school board, or committee should delegate executive and administrative functions to the chief executive officer

            who shall be recognized as the head of the organization.

E.         A complete range of grades being served is required for accreditation (K-6, 8-12, etc) or one or more specific programs, e.g. all

            honor's programs, art, math or science. An institution must have a minimum of 100 students for accreditation. The organization shall

            have completed three full years prior to the visiting committee's self-study evaluation.

F.         Records of all finances shall be kept accurately and shall be available for audit by an independent auditor from outside the

            organization. The governing body should approve the budget. The budget should be realistic and adequate based on the

            institution's size and goals. Finances shall not become a hindrance to the educational goals of the institution. The organization's

            financial resources should be sufficient to fulfill its programs.

G.        Facilities and offices shall be suitable for the purposes of the institution's programs and shall meet legal requirements and shall be

            well maintained.

 

3. Administration

A.        Accountability

            1.         Schools are required to maintain the following records:

                        a.         A listing of faculty with their addresses and qualifications.

                        b.         Verification of licenses, degrees or credentials.

                        c.         Criminal record summary (fingerprinting check) for those school employees who do not have valid teaching

                                    credentials but have contact with students.

                        d.         A list of all costs associated with education (e.g. costs for enrollment, curriculum, books, testing, assessment,

                                    conferences and other items).

                        e.         Accurate, complete financial records.

            2.         Information regarding the appropriate state requirements relative to the number of school days in a year, and the number of

                        hours per day students are expected to study must be provided to enrolling students.

            3.         Schools shall adhere to all state laws regarding child abuse reporting and health and safety code requirements.

B.         Enrollment/Admissions

            1.         Upon enrollment or admission, the student and the adult who will be responsible for ensuring the child is properly educated

                        must meet with a teacher/representative of the school to discuss:

                        a.         Student's prior school experience and records.

                        b.         An informal assessment of current student accomplishments and skills to determine the appropriate curriculum.

                        c.         Formal assessment and testing if deemed necessary.

                        d.         Review of curriculum (formal or informal) to ensure the parent and/or student fully understands their responsibilities.

                        e.         The responsibilities of each member of the educational partnership: the teacher, the parent or other adult, and the

                                    student.

                         f.          Financial arrangements for paying for the curriculum, administrative enrollment and/or other services.

                        g.         When and where to call for assistance.

             2.         The Individuals with Disabilities.Within the structure of the home education center, the provision of these services may be

                         contingent upon the nature of the services and the severity of the disabling condition. At the time of enrollment, the following                           consideration must be reviewed:

                         a.         type of disability; eligibility under federal and state criteria;

                         b.         intensity of the required services;

                         c.         provider of services, i.e. district of residence or home education center;

                         d.         IEP specifications, i.e. duration and frequency;

                         e.         special credential or license requirements.

C.        Student Records - Schools must maintain accurate and complete records for their students. Specific provisions must be made for

            ensuring the safety, security and confidentiality of all student records.

            1.         Requirements - The following items are required for cumulative file records.

                        a.         Legal name of student.

                        b.         Date of birth.

                        c.         Verification of birth date (e.g. copy of birth certificate or passport).

                        d.         Sex of student.

                        e.         Name and address of parents of minor students

                                    1.         Address of student, if different from parents.

                                    2.         Annual verification of the name and address of parents and student.

                        f.          Entering and leaving date of each school year.

                        g.         Subjects taken during each year, semester, summer session or quarter.

                        h.         Grades or credits, if given.

                        i.          Grades or credits towards high school graduation.

                        j.          Verification of, or exemption from, required immunizations.

                        k.         Date of high school graduation, or passing the CHSPE or GED or equivalent.

                        l.          IEPs, standardized test results or any other records of assessment.

                       m.        Attendance records.

                       n.         Report of Health Examination for School Entry or Waiver of Health Check up for School Entry within 90 days of entering

                                   the first grade.

                       o.         Cumulative records from prior schools.

            2. Safety/Confidentiality

                       a.         Cumulative files must be maintained with access limited to those who need to know or use the information for

                                    legitimate school and student purposes. For example, records may be stored in locked files cabinets or a locked

                                    office/storage room.

                       b.         Computerized student records must be backed up when major changes occur (e.g. at the end of grading periods,

                                    end of the school year) or on a regular schedule (e.g. monthly) For safety reasons, the backed up data must be 

                                    maintained at a separate physical site from the school's administrative office. Access to computerized student

                                    records must be limited to those with a need to know or use the information through use of passwords of other control

                                    methods.

            3. Transfer

                       a.         When a student enrolls, the school must request records from prior educational institutions, if any, within 30 days of

                                   enrollment. If records are not received within a further 30-day period, a follow-up request must be made.

                       b.         Upon the departure of a student from the school, when another institution requests in writing for the transfer of the

                                   student's cumulative records, records must be mailed within 30 days.

            4. Long Term Maintenance      

                       a.         Permanent records of graduated or no longer enrolled students should be kept by the school.

                       b.         If the school goes out of business, the records will be maintained by the individual or organization listed on the most

                                   recent affidavit, or transferred to the local public school system. Also, every effort should be made to give a copy of

                                   pupils' permanent records to the pupils' parents.

                       c.         If the school is purchased or otherwise transferred to another educational institution, records will be transferred to that

                                   organization.

 

4.         Instructional Program

A.        Course of Study

            1.         The school shall have a defined course of study as detailed below:

            2.         General supervision and ongoing assessment of the Instructional Program will be made by a qualified teacher.

B.         Curriculum

            1.         The school will have a curricular program with written course descriptions and objectives that meet state requirements, and

                         the student's needs, abilities and interests while at the same time providing all students with suitable courses of study

                         consistent with the school's philosophy, goals and objectives.

             2.         There will be adequate and appropriate instructional and other resources to implement the curricular program.

             3.         The curriculum shall support a wide variety of programs utilizing up-to-date information and providing accessibility to all

                         students. Instructional strategies such as independent study and self paced learning may be used to meet the learning

                         styles of students of all ages and produce a high academic achievement and meet individual learning objectives.

             4.         The curriculum shall be the object of on-going cooperative evaluation involving the administration, faculty, parents and

                         students.

C.        Resources

            1.         Human Resources - The school will have qualified staff to create, implement and supervise its instructional program.

            2.         Service Resources - The school will have a plan for student support services that identifies the needs, interest, aptitudes and

                        goals of all students and provides these students with appropriate educational, career, personal and social guidance and

                        other necessary student support services.

            3.         Network Guide and Communication - There will be a strong communications network supporting staff interaction and

                        accountability including the involvement of parents, students and community.

D.        Standards for Graduation

            1.         The school shall have a standard for graduation consistent with the goals, objectives and philosophy of the school, while at

                         the same time meeting state requirements.

5.         Teachers

A.        Qualifications

            1.         The school will be staffed by persons capable of teaching and meet state minimum requirements for teachers of private

                        schools.

            2.         The school will have qualified faculty members working cooperatively to create an environment in which effective learning

                         takes place.

B.         Support

            1.         The teachers shall meet and communicate on a regularly scheduled basis and receive continuous staff training.

C.        Education

            1.         The school shall provide ongoing opportunities for teacher education and development.

            2.         Teachers shall be encouraged to pursue continuing education.

6. Student

A. Enrollment Assessment

            1.         Academic - At time of enrollment, the skills, academic background, abilities, interests, and learning needs of each student

                        must be assessed in order to determine an appropriate educational program for the student.

                        a.         Prior to enrollment or within the first month, the following records of the student (if any) should be obtained from prior

                                    academic institutions and reviewed:

                                     l.          Past school records

                                    2.         Current achievement records

                                    3.         Results of formal/informal tests or other assessments that may be available

                                    4.         Individual Education Plans, if any

                        b.         To determine the provision of an appropriate curriculum, if any, the administrator may conduct informal assessments

                                    of a student's ability (e.g. in reading, writing or mathematics).  These informal assessments may be documented for

                                    the student's file.

             2.         Learning Needs and Styles - Professional and/or informal assessment tools will be used to better determine the student's

                         special learning needs and/or styles,

             3.         Special Education Needs - Professional assessments are to be made, where appropriate, to ensure students with special

                         needs are provided programs appropriate to those needs.

B.         Development of Independent Study Course/Goals

             1.         At the initial consultation, the student, parent, and/or other person responsible for the student's education will be provided 

                         with a comprehensive explanation of independent study.  This includes:

                         a.         Providing the student/parent/teacher with an explanation of the roles and responsibilities of the student, parent,

                                     and/or teacher.

                         b.         Ensuring the curriculum options are explained

                         c.         Documenting the learning goals to be accomplished during the next review period, and the timetables for

                                     accomplishment.

                         d.         Describing the support available from the program.

C.        Standards for Assessment

            1.         Each school shall have standards for verifying student's progress and adherence to the independent study program.

                        Meetings, tests, report cards, transcripts, portfolio, etc.

 

7. Exceptions

  1. Any exceptions to the standards of accreditation must be presented in writing to the Accreditation Association for consideration. Each organization is unique and may have legitimate reasons for exceptions.

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