Accreditation

CAIS Accreditation drives each school to continually strive for excellence, be more intentional in its practices and be accountable to all of its constituents.

All good schools continually evaluate their program and operations; however, self-evaluation alone can fall short with a limited internal perspective. Periodically supplementing self-evaluation with an external review can offer schools a new viewpoint that may otherwise go unrecognized and act as a catalyst for change.

The CAIS accreditation process is designed to achieve the dual purpose of accountability and school improvement - aligning their practices to the highest National Standards while guiding them through a continuous whole school improvement process, which combines both an internal self-evaluation and an external peer review.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that there are unusual barriers to application for CAIS membership. In the spirit of collaboration and support, the following guidelines will apply for the 2020-2021 school year.

  • Member and Candidate schools have access to all CAIS privileges, including Heads & Chairs and National Leadership Conferences, Leadership Institute modules at member rates, access to the resources in CAIS Connect, surveys, and Zoom meetings and webinars.

  • Applicant schools that have submitted both the fees and application materials will be given full membership privileges (listed above) at member rates.

The CAIS Standards and Indicators of Effective Practice are designed to reflect generally accepted principles of best practice in delivering high-quality education and furthering whole school improvement and sustainability. The Standards and Indicators are constantly evolving and are not to be taken as standards of reasonable conduct in any particular circumstance. It is up to each member school of CAIS to assess its specific circumstances and to take reasonable care.

The CAIS Standards and Indicators of Effective Practice are not intended to be a comprehensive code of the standards that, if met, will ensure that a school is a healthy and safe environment and is effective in delivering a high-quality education. The Standards and Indicators are constantly evolving and are intended as generally accepted principles of best practice in delivering education of genuine quality and furthering whole school improvement and sustainability. They are not to be taken as standards of reasonable conduct in any particular circumstance. It is up to each member school of CAIS to assess its own specific circumstances and to take reasonable care in those specific circumstances.


Currently, CAIS is a member in good standing with the International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA). ICAISA is the international leader in independent school accreditation. ICAISA advances excellence and upholds standards in order to ensure quality and accountability in independent schools across the globe. In addition to establishing and maintaining criteria for effective accreditation and conducting formal evaluations of member association accreditation programs, ICAISA also examines and assesses the evolving educational environment, and acts as a catalyst in partnership with associations in navigating significant change, developing innovative practices, and promoting transformative leadership in the accreditation field. Ultimately, the work of ICAISA strengthens independent school education and supports the ongoing improvement of individual schools.

The Value of Accreditation by an ICAISA Member Association (PDF)

CAIS National Standards

Mission, Vision, Value & Strategy

The school has clear mission, vision, values and strategy. These statements are understood and accepted by all constituencies: Board, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and students. The statements give direction to the Strategic Plan (including curricular, co-curricular, financial, organizational) to ensure that all facets of school life are in alignment.

Co-Curriculum & Learning Environment

The school promotes and acts upon the academic, emotional, physical and social potentials of all its members within an ethical community.

 

Academic Program

The school’s program is congruent with its mission and strategy; it is based upon an articulated philosophy and research about the ways in which students learn and effective ways to teach them. Through an ongoing consultative process, the school has published a definition of excellence in teaching and learning that encompasses current research.

 

School Leadership

The school has an overall administrative organization, which communicates, carries out and supports the school’s mission and strategic plan.

Human Resources

The school’s Human Resources strategy is in place to ensure that the people practices and policies support the educational purpose of the school and are aligned with the mission, vision, values and strategies.

School & Community

The constituent relations, communications, and fundraising programs of the school are well planned and effective, both serving the community and engaging them in achieving the school’s mission. As well, the school has established systems and procedures to maintain harmonious relationships with the community in which it exists.

Enrolment Management

The school has defined those qualities that constitute a “mission appropriate” student and has established policies and procedures for enrolment management that ensure that the school is enrolling mission appropriate students.

 

Governance

The Board’s membership, structure and processes advance the school’s mission, vision and long-term viability; and the Board operates in fiduciary, strategic and generative modes.

Finance

The school’s financial resources and financial planning are adequate to support the school’s mission and to sustain the school’s long-term permanence and strength.

 

Physical Plant, Health & Safety

The physical plant, grounds and operations of the school support the mission, vision and programs of the school. The school has established and effectively implemented guidelines and procedures that promote a safe and healthy school environment.

Commitment to School Improvement

The school demonstrates a commitment to continuous whole school improvement.

Boarding & Homestay Programs

The Boarding program operates in a way that assures an enriched and extended learning experience for all students.

The Homestay program operates in a way that assures an enriched and extended learning experience for all students.