International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation
The Council, originally established by the NAIS Board of Trustees in 2001 as the Commission on Accreditation, was created inn response to requests from several independent school state and regional accrediting associations; it convened for the first time in 2002. The Council’s work is intended to assure the quality of independent school accrediting programs. The Board charged the Commission to develop criteria for effective independent school accreditation practices, exemplary standards, and models of successful accreditation policies and procedures; to engage in research to inform accreditation practice; and to promote, through advocacy efforts, public understanding of and credibility for independent school accrediting programs.
The Council, which is guided by operating protocols, is comprised of 19 members from NAIS independent school accrediting associations, two at-large members, and two NAIS board members. It meets twice a year, with committee work conducted as needed. There are three standing committees: Organizational Issues, Policy, and Emerging Issues.
The member associations of the commission are accountable to one another through a process patterned on the independent school accreditation model. Over the course of a 10-year cycle, associations will prepare a self-study demonstrating compliance with the Criteria for Effective Independent School Accreditation Practices; the criteria provide common ground for member associations by delineating best practices, policies, and procedures. In addition, associations will use the Model Core Standards— a set of “ideal” standards — in assessing their own, host a visit from peers on the Council, receive recommendations from the Council, and engage in follow-up activities designed to improve the accreditation process. As with school accreditation, this will serve two purposes: institutional improvement and quality assurance.
ISAS Group Benefits Trust
The Independent Schools Association of the Southwest Group Benefits Trust (the “ISAS Trust”) was established in 1989 by three member schools with the goal of providing a self-insured medical and dental plan for ISAS member school employees and their dependents. The ISAS Trust has since expanded to offer long-term disability and life insurance plans and vision insurance.
TEPSAC (Texas Private School Accreditation Commission)
The Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC) helps ensure quality in private schools by monitoring and approving organizations that accredit the various non-public elementary and secondary educational institutions in the state of Texas.
TEPSAC is not of itself an accrediting organization. It is instead a confederation of accrediting associations whose primary purpose is to maintain standards of accreditation among its membership. These standards of accreditation are comparable to Texas Education Agency (TEA) standards and preserve the integrity of the member organizations and the schools they accredit. Individual schools may seek accreditation from a TEPSAC association member.
The State Commissioner of Education recognizes the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission and its affiliated non-public schools. Since 1986, the Texas Education Agency, through the Commissioner of Education, has recognized the accreditation responsibilities of TEPSAC and its affiliated associations.
The relationship of TEPSAC with the State Commissioner of Education allows for the following activities related to accredited non-public schools:
- Transferability of student credits earned in accredited non-public schools to Texas public schools
- Recognition of teacher service in accredited non-public schools for salary increment purposes in Texas public schools
- TEPSAC meetings held biannually with Agency liaisons to ensure the ongoing integrity and quality of the process
ISAS was reaccredited by TEPSAC in the spring of 2016 as a member in good standing, meeting the responsibilities listed in the Criteria for Approving Accrediting Associations as stipulated in the TEPSAC manual.
OPSAC (Oklahoma Private School Accreditation Commission)
The Oklahoma Private School Accreditation Commission (OPSAC) assists the Oklahoma State Board of Education by monitoring and approving organizations that accredit non-public (private) elementary and secondary schools in Oklahoma.
OPSAC is not an accrediting agency. It is, instead, a consortium of accrediting agencies whose primary purpose is to maintain standards among its member agencies. Schools must apply to OPSAC member agencies for accreditation.
The relationship of OPSAC with the Oklahoma State Department of Education provides the following activities related to accredited nonpublic schools:
- Transference of student credits earned in accredited nonpublic schools to Oklahoma public schools
- The listing of all accredited non-public schools with the Oklahoma State Department of Education
- OPSAC meetings held biannually with an Oklahoma State Department of Education liaison to ensure the ongoing integrity and quality of the process.
ISAS was re-accredited by OPSAC in 2006.
TPSA (Texas Private Schools Association)
The Texas Private Schools Association (TPSA, formerly TANS) was created to represent private schools in Texas in 1967. The organization was officially chartered on February 24, 1972.
- Protection for the rights of private schools in Texas.
- Representation to state legislators and regulators.
- Networking for the whole community of non-public education in Texas.
- A public voice for the benefits of private schooling to all the citizens of Texas.
Structured to meet the diverse needs of private schools statewide, TPSA connects Texas member schools to trends and events that affect non-public education.
NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools)
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), governed by a board of trustees and staffed by approximately 40 individuals, is a membership organization which represents more than 1,300 independent schools and associations in the U.S. and affiliates with independent schools abroad as well.
The National Association of Independent Schools acts as the national voice of independent pre-collegiate education and as the center for collective action on behalf of its membership. It serves and strengthens its member schools and associations by articulating and promoting high standards of educational quality and ethical behavior, by working to preserve their independence to serve the democratic society from which that independence derives, and by advocating broad access for students in affirming the principles of equity and justice.
CAPE (Council for American Private Education)
The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) is a coalition of national organizations and state affiliates serving private elementary and secondary schools. There are 29,000 private schools in America; in fact, one in four of the nation’s schools is a private school. More than six million students attend them. CAPE member organizations represent more than 80 percent of private school enrollment nationwide.
NBOA (National Business Officers Association)
The National Business Officers Association (NBOA) is the professional association for Independent School Business Officers. NBOA provides information to help its members work effectively and efficiently in an increasingly demanding environment. NBOA seeks to help members streamline business and strategic operations through education, member consortia, and research. In order to avoid duplicating good programs, NBOA seeks opportunities to form strategic partnerships with other organizations committed to bringing quality programs to all independent schools.
NBOA is a virtual organization committed to using technology to deliver its mission. Its employees are in Colorado, Connecticut, and Maryland. The members of the Board of Directors are located throughout the country from Maine to Hawaii.
NBOA helps to create and maintain a sense of community among independent school business officers. How?
- The NBOA Listserv is an active discussion forum using e-mail to connect over 700 business officer participants.
- NBOA offers conferences and programs throughout the year in various locations around the US. Meals and unstructured time are an important part of these events so that people can develop connections with others in the profession.
- NBOA provides information that helps schools streamline their business operation and stay current on emerging new issues.
- NBOA holds webcasts as often as weekly on topics of interest to business officers and their schools. Recent subject matter included: IRS Form 990, Fiduciary Responsibility, Changes in 403(b) plans, the Economy and Stock Market, and much more.
- The members-only Professional Development Library has documents, forms, and white papers about every aspect of school business management. The content is constantly expanding.
- NBOA brings nationally renowned speakers to its conferences. This allows business officers to hear directly from the experts about a wide variety of subjects.