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Steps to Becoming a CAIS Member School
We are pleased that you are exploring the pathway towards CAIS Membership.
CAIS Accreditation supports continuous improvement in all aspects of Independent Schools. The School’s Vision, Mission, Values and Strategy underpin all decisions made by School Leaders and the Board. School Strategy is rooted in robust research, data analysis and understanding of the needs of the internal community and external trends. The CAIS Accreditation Process is both a tool to support the development of School Strategy and a set of Standards to scaffold continual improvement.
Our members value the accreditation process. In a 2019 CAIS survey, 92% of members agreed or strongly agreed that the accreditation program effectively drives continuous school improvement and positively impacts school operations.
Application Process for Candidate Status
Step 1: Schools interested in applying for CAIS membership should contact the CAIS Accreditation Team at email@example.com to arrange a time to speak with the Executive Director 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.
Step 2: The CAIS Executive Director will tour the School and have an initial meeting with the Head of School. If the School decides to go forward with the application additional meetings with the School Leadership Team and the Board will be arranged.
Step 3: The School organizes the required documentation, completes a DocuSign application agreement, and pays the application fee. Detailed information about preparing the application can be found in the 2023 CAIS Membership Information Package.
Step 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 three months of receipt of application package.
Step 5: One-day visit conducted by Applicant School Review Team on a mutually agreed date.
Step 6: The Applicant School Review Team submits an Applicant School Report including a recommendation on whether the applicant is ready to become a Candidate. This Report 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 three months following the visit from the Review Team.
Step 7: The CAIS Evaluation Council reviews the Report and makes a recommendation to the CAIS Board of Directors, based on the assessment of the capacity of the School to meet all Standards in the subsequent three years. The CAIS Board makes all final decisions on the Applicant School’s acceptance.
TIMING ➤ The report will be discussed at the next Evaluation Council meeting and the next scheduled CAIS Board meeting (five meetings per year).
Step 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 Report outlining the observed areas of strength and areas for improvement.
Step 9: If Candidate Status is granted, the School will prepare for a Full Peer Review, engaging in a Self Study process and meeting all 2021 CAIS National Standards.
TIMING ➤ The Peer Review will occur within three years after a School has been granted Candidate status.
Step 10: If Candidate Status is not granted, the school will be invited to re-apply in the future.
Step 11: Once a School has been accepted as a Candidate, it will commence the Accreditation process. The Peer Review will need to be completed within three years. The four-day Peer Review follows a Self Study process based on the 2021 CAIS National Standards.
TIMING ➤ The Peer Review is arranged on a mutually agreed date with the Director of Accreditation.
Step 12: The resulting Peer Review Report will be presented to the CAIS Evaluation Council which will make a recommendation to the Board on the application for CAIS Member School status.
Step 13: Should it be determined in the Peer Review that a Candidate School is not meeting any of the 2021 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.
Step 14: The CAIS Board of Directors makes all final decisions on member acceptance.