To be an accredited NYSAIS school verifies that the school has been held accountable by a rigorous process and by the highest of standards. Central to the NYSAIS accreditation process is the school’s self-study, a thorough self-examination seen through the lens of the school’s mission, involving the application of the NYSAIS criteria for accreditation, which are based on principles of best practice. The examination is inclusive, involving all members of the school community. Explored are all aspects of school life including governance, finances, teaching and learning, operations and community. Taking a year to complete, the self study is the foundation of what will follow, the visit of a committee of peers, experts in their field, chaired by a Head of School. After the completion of the self-study and visiting committee reports the NYSAIS Commission for Accreditation convenes to recommend the term and conditions of accreditation to the NYSAIS Board of Trustees, which is the final arbiter. NYSAIS is the accrediting body for NYSAIS member schools and is chartered as an accrediting body by the New York State Board of Regents. All NYSAIS full member schools must be accredited by NYSAIS.
The NYSAIS accreditation cycle is a continuous process of self-study and accreditation over a ten-year period. A full term of accreditation is five years. An inclusive accreditation review, which encompasses all aspects of the school and involves the participation of all members of the school community followed by a four-day visit from a committee of peers, occurs every ten years. During the fifth year of the accreditation cycle, the school prepares a progress report followed by a two-day visit from a smaller committee. The NYSAIS Commission on Accreditation recommends the term and condition of accreditation and the NYSAIS Board of Trustees has the final approval.
NAIS’s data collection and benchmarking tool, DASL, builds on 60 years of data that schools previously contributed to StatsOnline. Annual participation in the NAIS-DASL program is a requirement of NYSAIS membership, and during the accreditation process, schools are able to generate data reports to support their self-studies.
Additionally, NYSAIS and the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) have agreed to a data partnership to maximize the value of the data schools enter into DASL annually. This partnership allows all NYSAIS schools to access NBOA’s Business Intelligence for Independent Schools (BIIS) platform. In addition, NYSAIS will now have administrative access to BIIS and can analyze data that will inform our work and share meaningful and actionable findings with NYSAIS members.
Originally convened in 2002 as the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Commission on Accreditation, the International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA) comprises 20 accrediting bodies, including NYSAIS, that have undergone a rigorous and impartial review of their accreditation programs and have demonstrated adherence to the ICAISA Criteria for Effective Independent School Accreditation Practices.