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CAIS Accreditation drives each school to be accountable to all of its constituents, to be more intentional in its practices, and to constantly strive for excellence.
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 - holding schools accountable 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.
Currently, CAIS is a member in good standing with the International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA). ICAISA is an international authority on independent school accreditation. The primary purpose of ICAISA is to provide quality assurance and accountability for the accreditation programs of its state, regional, and international member associations. 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, while enhancing the learning experiences of their students.
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.
Vision, Mission, 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-Curricular & Learning Environment
The school promotes and acts upon the academic, emotional, physical and social potentials of all its members within an ethical community.
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.
The school has an overall administrative organization, which communicates, carries out and supports the school's mission and strategic plan.
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 vision, mission, 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.
The school has defined those qualities that constitute a “mission appropriate” student and has established policies and procedures for enrolment management that ensures that the school is enrolling mission appropriate students.
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.
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 vision, mission 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.
The Boarding program operates in a way that assures an enriched and extended learning experience for all students.