Independent Schools Association of the Southwest

Accreditation Process

ISAS evaluation and accreditation are ongoing processes.  Member schools proceed through a ten-year evaluation cycle.

The process of Self Study affords the opportunity for reflection on a school’s mission, efforts to fulfill that mission, strengths, and areas which call for improvement.  Done well, this experience involves a broad cross-section of the school’s constituents and bears fruit beyond merely preparing for an accreditation visit.  Gathering feedback, evaluating results, and collaborating to identify trends, challenges, and opportunities can lead a community to clearer definition of mission fulfillment and to self-improvement.

Documentation of Adherence to Standards (DAS) is completed as part of Self Study to demonstrate the school’s compliance with ISAS Standards.  While the Self Study report calls for qualitative analysis, reflection, and identification of action for school improvement, Documentation of Adherence to Standards is a more objective report which includes narrative responses, school data and statistics, and school policies, handbooks, and publications.

The Accreditation Visit provides a goal toward which Self Study progresses.  School constituencies profit from feedback in the Commendations and Recommendations detailed in the Report of the Visiting Committee, and the Report is reviewed by the ISAS Standards Committee as a basis for their recommendation to the ISAS Board of Directors on a school’s accreditation.  A vote of the full membership is required for a school seeking initial accreditation and membership in the Association.

The school’s response to Summary Recommendations provides structure for the Interim Report in the fifth year of the accreditation cycle.  Annual Reports provide a yearly snapshot of school data, substantive changes, initiatives completed or in progress, and future plans.

Our exceptionally high standards are the backbone of ISAS, and our greatest strength.
–Arnie Holtberg, Head of School Emeritus,
St. Mark’s School of Texas, Dallas, TX