Why Accreditation Matters
Independent schools do not need a license to operate in Colorado. Accreditation through the ACIS is a rigorous and exacting process involving a comprehensive self-study, a multi-day, on-site visit including in-depth interviews with faculty and staff, a compliance assessment including all relevant safety and programmatic standards, and a summary report from an evaluation team that details areas of program strength and opportunities for growth. It’s a process we proactively undergo in the name of ongoing school improvement for the benefit of our current families, our teachers and administrators, as well as new and prospective families in the Denver community.
ACIS accreditation demonstrates a school’s competency in several ways:
- High Standards ACIS holds schools to a common set of rigorous standards that reflect the proven characteristics of good independent schools. Those standards are based on Principles of Good Practice of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) – of which Stanley is also a member.
- Mission-Program Congruence Accreditation by ACIS offers reasonable assurance that an independent school provides the character and quality of education claimed in its marketing materials.
- School Viability ACIS accreditation offers reasonable assurance that a school is financially viable, with effective leadership to maintain long-term stability. That is important because problems with governance or finance are the most common reasons for independent school failure.
- Continuous Improvement To maintain ACIS accreditation, school leaders must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to school improvement. Evidence of that commitment includes: ongoing curriculum development and teacher education, effective two-way communication with school families, and the use of learning assessments to guide program improvements.
- Legal Compliance Accreditation provides reasonable assurance that a school meets or exceeds relevant government regulations involving: health, fire, safety, sanitation, and other requirements.
- College Admissions For students at the high school level, school accreditation facilitates acceptance into college. Students from accredited schools often receive priority consideration, while those from unaccredited schools must provide special evidence to demonstrate their readiness for higher
- Third-Party Accountability The rigorous accreditation process of ACIS requires meaningful and comprehensive evaluation of the school by outside experts who validate strengths and hold school leaders accountable for addressing weaknesses. Accountable to a higher authority, ACIS’s accreditation program is periodically evaluated by the International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (icaisa.org). ACAISA supports continuous improvement by holding ACIS responsible for compliance with its Criteria for Effective Independent School Accreditation Practices.