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2021 CAIS National Standards
In an ever changing world it is essential that Schools are committed to a process that supports continuous whole school improvement. Effective strategy and leadership are key components of the process that will allow for the long-term strength and permanence of a School. Strategic Direction refers to the purpose, leadership and governance of a School. Cohesive integration of these structures drives and ensures that the School lives its vision, mission and values.
Standard 1 – School Purpose
School purpose is expressed through the School’s vision, mission, values and strategy. It is understood and accepted by the community including Board, faculty, staff, families, students and alumni. School purpose aligns all facets of School life and supports a commitment to continuous School improvement.
Standard 2 – School Leadership
Strong leadership critically assesses current practice, policies, procedures and/or guidelines that foster strategic innovation. Leadership sets the tone for continuous whole school improvement. An intentional leadership structure is necessary to realize the Mission and Strategy of the School. Leadership places student learning, safety and well-being at the forefront. A positive School culture and climate begins with strong School Leadership and depends upon effective communication with faculty, staff, students and families.
Standard 3 – Governance
Effective governance is critical to the long-term success of Independent Schools. Effective Boards steward and safeguard the health of their Schools for future generations. The Board ensures the School has a clear strategic direction, provides appropriate risk oversight, ensures the School has leadership capacity and resources and effectively manages Board performance.
An Education Program that is comprehensive, dynamic and future facing is essential to the continued relevance and success of CAIS Schools. Powerful Education Programs are rooted in a commitment to the success and well-being of all students and are delivered through robust systems of challenge and support. Foundational concepts and structures prepare students within CAIS Schools to be productive contributors to society, today and in the future.
STANDARD 4 – EDUCATION PROGRAM FOUNDATION
In order to support excellence in student learning, a School requires a strong foundation upon which to base its Education Program. This foundation is grounded in a learning and teaching philosophy that includes a commitment to evidence-based best practices, ongoing improvement and supportive relationships. It is further supported by decisions that recognize the interconnectedness of spaces, schedules and organizational structures.
STANDARD 5 – LEARNING AND TEACHING
Learning and Teaching is at the heart of every School. The key components of a robust learning and teaching program include pedagogy, curriculum, co-curricular programming, assessment, evaluation and reporting. It is essential these components function collectively in the provision of a dynamic, comprehensive, effective and personalized learning experience.
STANDARD 6 – STUDENT WELL-BEING AND SUPPORT
Schools must support all aspects of student well-being. These supports must be inclusive of the current and future academic needs and overall well-being of students at all grade levels. In order to provide students with a positive School experience, effective personal and academic support systems must be in place.
STANDARD 7 – ESSENTIAL CONCEPTS
Independent Schools must be intentional in preparing students for a changing world. Key competencies and understanding of concepts enable students to be informed, productive citizens now and in the future. These are fundamental to the educational program. These essential concepts include learning skills, positive dispositions, pluralism, well-being, child protection, global citizenship, cultural competence, and environmental sustainability. These concepts are reflected across all facets of the Education Program and put into practice at all developmental stages of learning.
STANDARD 8B – CUSTODIAL CARE: BOARDING
A Boarding School has the responsibility to provide a living and learning experience for students that extends beyond the regular School day. A Boarding Student program must demonstrate a commitment to students’ well-being, safety and the cultivation of positive long-lasting relationships.
STANDARD 8H – CUSTODIAL CARE: HOMESTAY
A School that embraces a Homestay program has the responsibility to provide a safe environment that enriches and extends the living and learning experience beyond the regular School day. A Homestay program must demonstrate a commitment to student safety, well-being and the fostering of positive relationships throughout the community.
STANDARD 8E – CUSTODIAL CARE: EXCHANGE
A School that embraces an Exchange program has the responsibility to provide a safe environment that enriches and extends the living and learning experience for the student beyond the regular School day. An Exchange program must demonstrate a commitment to student safety, well-being, the fostering of positive relationships and being an enriching experience for students.
Robust School Operations are fundamental for a School to accomplish the aims of the Education Program. The success of a School depends on high functioning and coordinated operations including recruitment and community engagement, human resources, finance and facilities. School Operations set the foundation for the School's long-term strength and permanence.
STANDARD 9 – RECRUITMENT AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENt
The Recruitment and Community Engagement Standard connects the areas of enrolment management, marketing and communications, and advancement. The collective efforts of these School functions are vital to the effective operations and long-term permanence of the School. Collaboratively, these groups enlist and engage the community in a values-driven manner to support recruitment, retention, communication and community building, in service of the School’s mission, vision, values and strategic goals.
STANDARD 10 – HUMAN RESOURCES
The School’s effectiveness in achieving its stated purpose depends on the quality of its people. Effective procedures for recruiting, on-boarding, people development, retention, success-planning and off-boarding must be strategic, fair and ethical. These practices contribute to a safe, collaborative, respectful and equitable workplace.
STANDARD 11 – FINANCE
Sound financial management is essential to the sustainability of the School. Institutional strength and permanence are supported when financial resources are managed and dispersed in support of the strategic directions of the School. Financial sustainability requires planning for the unexpected and proactive business continuity plans.
STANDARD 12 – FACILITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE
The School’s facilities must be intentionally designed and maintained to realize the School’s purpose. The specific areas of focus include physical plant, grounds, food services, transportation, environmental sustainability and the infrastructure for Information Technology. Well planned and maintained facilities support the success of both the School’s Education Program and community.