ISAS welcomes diversity in its membership. A school is evaluated in terms of its realization of its own mission and philosophy and compliance with the Standards for Membership of the Association.
Membership is open to college preparatory independent schools which meet the Standards for Membership of the Association on a continuing basis, including elementary schools which prepare students for college preparatory secondary school programs.
A school is classified as Accredited when it meets the requirements of all policies and standards of the Association or when, in the opinion of the Standards Committee and the Board of Directors, non-compliance with one or more of the policies and standards does not compromise to a serious degree the quality of the school’s educational program.
A school is classified as Warned when, in the judgment of the Standards Committee and the Board of Directors, (a) the school fails to meet one or more of the policies and standards of the Association and the resulting deficiency seriously compromises the quality of the school’s educational program, (b) the school fails to remedy or make substantial progress toward remedying all deficiencies noted by the Standards Committee at its last review, (c) the school consistently violates policies or standards, or (d) the school deliberately violates one or more of the standards.
Warned status may continue for up to three years. If the cause for Warned status has not been corrected within that time, the school will be removed from Association membership. Under extraordinary circumstances and by a vote of three-fourths of the Board of Directors at a regularly scheduled meeting, Warned status may be continued for longer than three years.
A school which is unable to or refuses to meet the Standards for Membership in the Association may be removed from membership. A school at risk for removal shall be given a warning of one year unless three-fourths of the Board of Directors, at a regularly scheduled meeting, votes to recommend to the Membership that the school's accreditation be immediately removed.
Adopted November 1973, Revised August 1991, November 2004, June 2017
Recognition of Accreditation Candidacy Schools
ISAS recognizes the value to an applying school of provisional affiliation with the Association. Recognition of Accreditation Candidacy (RAC) status may be useful, especially to a new school. RAC status is a temporary status and is not to be confused with membership in the Association. RAC status may not be used for publicity purposes, in the press or in any school literature.
Revised August 1991
The conditions for Recognition of Accreditation Candidacy (RAC) status are as follows:
- The school must be independent and must be developing in accordance with the general standards for membership in the Association.
- The school must complete and submit to the Standards Committee the Documentation of Adherence to Standards.
- The school must be visited by ISAS representatives who will review organizational and educational objectives of the school, control and management, administrative organization, faculty and curriculum, admissions policies, the physical plant, financial stability and long-range objectives, integrity of purpose and design, and the degree of progress toward ISAS accreditation.
- The school shall cover all costs of the visit by ISAS representatives, including travel, meals, and lodging.
- After its investigation, the Standards Committee will recommend to the Board of Directors and to the membership of the Association any school which merits RAC status. RAC status is granted upon a majority vote of the membership of the Association.
- A school on RAC status shall pay one-half of Association dues annually. The school will also be responsible for other Association assessments, including conference assessments.
- The head of a school on RAC status is entitled to attend, without vote, membership meetings of the Association.
- RAC status may be continued for a maximum of five years. If the school does not succeed in that time in meeting standards for membership in the Association, it will be removed from RAC status. Removal does not preclude the possibility that the institution may be evaluated at a later time for acceptance as an Association member, but the school may not be readmitted to the status of Recognition of Accreditation Candidacy.
Application for Membership
- An applicant school submits an Application for Membership with the Application Fee to the Executive Director of ISAS. The Application must be accompanied by independently audited financial statements and other required submissions as specified on the Application for Membership.
- If the Standards Committee accepts the Application for Membership, the school is authorized to proceed with Documentation of Adherence to Standards. If the Application for Membership is accepted, the school submits the Evaluation Fee.
- The school submits a copy of its Documentation of Adherence to Standards to each member of the appropriate Commission of the Standards Committee and to the ISAS office.
- If the Documentation of Adherence to Standards is accepted by the Standards Committee, the school is authorized to proceed with Self Study.
- After successful completion of the Self Study, the school is evaluated by an ISAS Visiting Committee which submits the Report of the Visiting Committee to the Standards Committee, the head of the applying school, and the chair of the board of trustees of the applying school.
- The Standards Committee presents a recommendation on accreditation and membership to the Board of Directors and to the membership of the Association.
Revised July 2002
Financial Obligations of Applicant and Member Schools
An applicant school must submit the Application Fee with the Application for Membership and must submit the Evaluation Fee if the Standards Committee grants permission to proceed with Documentation of Adherence to Standards. The applicant school is responsible for all expenses of any ISAS visit to the school, including preliminary visits and the Accreditation Visit.
An applicant school accepted for membership in the Association at the fall meeting of the Association will pay one-half of annual Association dues upon notification of acceptance.
Annual Association dues are payable on July 1 and are based on a school’s enrollment at the opening of the preceding academic year as submitted by the school. Dues consist of a base fee plus an assessment for each student according to that student’s level, either Preschool or K-12. A member school is responsible for all expenses of evaluations and visits involved in the accreditation process.A member school arranging for governance or strategic planning workshops conducted by ISAS staff will be responsible for travel, meals, and lodging expenses along with the fee set by the Finance Committee for such services.Fees for conferences and workshops for heads of school, administrator groups, beginning teachers, etc. will be determined by the ISAS staff and charged on a participation basis.
Revised July 2000
The Evaluation Process
ISAS evaluation and accreditation are ongoing processes. Member schools progress through a ten-year evaluation cycle, as follows:
Accreditation Visit -
Members of the Visiting Committee review the school’s completed Self Study and Documentation of Adherence to Standards during the Accreditation Visit. The Report of the Visiting Committee is submitted to the appropriate commission of the Standards Committee for recommendation to the Board of Directors on reaccreditation.
Interim Report - Year 5
The school’s response to Summary Recommendations provides the structure for the Interim Report in the fifth year of the accreditation cycle. The Interim Report also requires updated information on:
- The school’s financial condition
- Non-discriminatory practices
- Health and safety code compliance
- Faculty development
- Faculty census
- Student enrollment and placement
- Any substantive changes that impact school operations
Self Study and Documentation of Adherence to Standards - Year 10
Self Study should involve a broad cross section of the school’s constituents and should lead to exploration of ways to improve the school’s program and operations. The process affords a school the opportunity for reflection on its mission, its efforts to fulfill that mission, its strengths, and areas which call for improvement.The Documentation of Adherence to Standards is also completed during the year of Self Study to demonstrate the school’s compliance with ISAS Standards. This report consists of narrative responses, school data and statistics, and requested school policies, handbooks, and publications.
Annual and Other Reports
Each September, schools must submit an Annual Report of school demographic information, substantive changes, and improvement initiatives.The Standards Committee has the authority to require other reports responding to specific issues from member schools.
Submission of Statistical ReportsEach member school, as a condition of membership, must submit, in a timely manner, all reports and information requested by the Association.
A member school has the right to appear before the Standards Committee to contest any recommendation or decision for adverse accrediting action. The procedures for appeal are:
A school will be notified in writing that the Standards Committee, at a regularly scheduled meeting, deferred action on the school’s report until its next regularly scheduled meeting. The notification will include the reasons for deferral and the reasons for any proposed adverse accrediting action. Communication will occur within four weeks of the meeting at which such action is taken.
The school may request that its representative(s) appear before the Standards Committee at its next regularly scheduled meeting to make appeal or submit additional information.
A school wishing to contest a decision of the Standards Committee may make application to the Executive Director to have its representative(s) appear before the Board of Directors. The intention of the school to make this appeal must be submitted in writing to the ISAS Executive Director no less than twenty-four hours before the regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Directors at which the accreditation of the school is to be considered.
Non-Member Schools Denied ISAS Membership
A non-member school may appeal a decision denying Association accreditation and membership through the following procedures:
The school will be notified in writing that the Standards Committee, at a regularly scheduled meeting, deferred action on the school’s application for membership until its next regularly scheduled meeting. The notification will include the reasons for deferral as well as notice of the Committee’s intention to recommend against accreditation and membership. Communication will occur within four weeks of the meeting at which such action is taken.
The school may request that its representative(s) appear before the Standards Committee at its next regularly scheduled meeting to appeal or to submit additional information.
If the applying school so requests, its application, along with the Standards Committee recommendation and rationale, will be submitted to the Board of Directors for review at a regularly scheduled Board meeting. The Board of Directors shall appoint a review committee to consider the application and the Standard Committee’s recommendation. The review committee shall report to the Board of Directors no later than the next regularly scheduled Board meeting.
The applying school is entitled to have its representative(s) appear before the Board of Directors to make appeal before formal action is taken. The request of the school for time on the agenda of the Board meeting must be filed with the ISAS Executive Director at least twenty-four hours before the regularly scheduled Board meeting at which action is to be taken on the school’s application for membership.
Amended November 1987, Revised July 2002