Answers to commonly asked questions about Public School Accreditation
How does a public school become Accredited?
Schools which voluntarily demonstrate through the relevant CPS Committee's evaluation processes that they meet established CPS Standards are Accredited and thus become members of NEASC. Member schools must undertake a community-wide self-reflection (formerly called "self-study") involving the participation of faculty, administrators, staff, students, community members, and board members.
Is accreditation a “one size fits all” process?
NEASC does not espouse a “cookie cutter” model for accreditation. Although schools use the same Standards for Accreditation, NEASC respects the unique culture of each school and encourages them to develop a mission statement which is reflective of the values and beliefs of that particular learning community. NEASC wants schools to develop goals to meet the needs of the students within their buildings, not the forces outside of their buildings.
What support do we get from NEASC during the process?
NEASC provides on-site and/or electronic technical support and materials during the candidacy and self-reflection phases of the process. Schools have license to call on that support at any time for any reason. The Commission office will set up the peer review team with input from the school, and it will ensure that reports are completed and returned in a timely fashion. Finally, the Commission office is available to assist schools in preparing and submitting reports to the Commission during the follow-up period.
Who makes decisions regarding Accredition?
The Visiting Teams
A committee of peers conduct the on-site assessments of institutions to evaluate their alignment with Standards for Accreditation.
The NEASC Commissioners
Commissioners – professional peers nominated from the educational community – approve the accreditation status of each member school based on reports generated by the Visiting Teams.
What does a school do after it receives Accreditation?
School personnel respond to recommendations stated in the Accreditation Visiting Team Report by designing and implementing short-term and long-range plans for improvement.
Will the accreditation process raise test scores?
The accreditation process will not of itself raise test scores. However, involvement in and completion of the process will directly impact the climate for teaching and learning and, as a result, affect test scores.
What if my school is underperforming? Can we still be accredited?
The accreditation process can serve as a guide for an underperforming school. Rather than enter into an immediate self reflection, the school becomes a pre-candidate and uses the Standards as guides to determine those areas in need of priority attention. The NEASC staff is available to assist the school in setting both direction and priorities to ensure continuing progress toward shoring up its weaknesses by meeting the Standards. The school and the NEASC work closely together to determine when the school is ready to begin the full accreditation process.