Steps to Becoming a CAIS Member School

Application Process for Candidate Status

#1: Schools wishing to apply for CAIS membership should contact Tracey Nolan at the CAIS office at to arrange a time to speak with the Executive Director Patti MacDonald about CAIS, the value of membership and the accreditation process. In order to apply for membership, schools have to be in continuous operation and viable for at least five years.

#2: Initial meeting of the CAIS Executive Director with the Head of School, Leadership Team and the Board of the School.

#3: Submit an application package and pay the application fee.

  • TIMING: Following an initial visit to the school from the CAIS Executive Director.

#4: CAIS reviews the application and contacts the Head of School to arrange a one-day visit by the Applicant School Review Team composed of two CAIS School Heads (one being a CAIS Board member) and a Business Officer.

  • TIMING: Within one month after application received.

#5: One-day visit conducted by Applicant School Review Team on a mutually agreed date.

#6: The Applicant School Review Team submits a report including a recommendation on whether the applicant is ready to become a Candidate. This is put forward to the CAIS Evaluation Council. All information will remain confidential to CAIS and the Applicant School Review Team.

  • TIMING: Report finalized within one month following the visit from the Review Team.

#7: The CAIS Evaluation Council reviews the report and makes a recommendation to the CAIS Board of Directors, which makes all final decisions on applicant acceptance.

  • TIMING: The report will be discussed at the next Evaluation Council meeting and the next scheduled Board meeting (five meetings per year).

#8: Following the CAIS Board meeting, the applicant will receive a letter from the CAIS Executive Director detailing the Board’s decision. The applicant will also receive a summary of the Applicant School Review Team’s report outlining the observed areas of strength and areas for improvement.

#9: If Candidate Status is granted, the school will prepare for a Full Accreditation Visit, meeting all National Standards and engaging in a self-study internal review process.

  • TIMING: Full Accreditation Visit will occur within three years after a school becomes a Candidate.

#10: If Candidate Status is not granted, the school will be invited to re-apply in the future.

#11: Within three years of the CAIS Board’s decision to grant Candidate Status, a date will be scheduled for the first Full Accreditation Visit, based on the National Standards and Indicators of Effective Practice. This four-day Accreditation Visit follows a 12-18-month internal evaluation process based on the CAIS National Standards, Indicators of Effective Practice and Guiding Questions.

  • TIMING: Full Accreditation Visit is arranged on a mutually agreed date with the Director of Accreditation & Research.

#12: The resulting Accreditation Visiting Committee Report will be presented to the CAIS Evaluation Council, which will make a recommendation to the Board on the application for full CAIS Member School status.

#13: Should it be determined in the Accreditation Review that a Candidate school is not meeting any of the CAIS National Standards, the Candidate school will have one year to successfully address the recommendations within the Standards not met. Failure to do so will result in membership being denied.

  • TIMING: Most schools take four years from application to acceptance as a full CAIS Member School.

#14: The CAIS Board of Directors makes all final decisions on member acceptance.

Benefits of Membership

Why should schools join CAIS?