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ACCREDITATION FAQS

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Below is a continuously growing collection of questions and answers gathered from our members. 

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Accreditation FAQs

Accreditation is a voluntary method of quality assurance and school improvement used by education providers in a variety of school environments. Based on compliance with established standards of excellence, the foundation of the school improvement accreditation process is grounded in a school’s self-study and individualized goal setting. Accreditation is a continuous cycle of review and reflection that guides a school in evaluating each component of its mission.

CSI Accreditation:

  • Verifies your school is adhering to its Christian mission and vision
  • Ensures parents, students, and other stakeholders that you are committed to high academic standards
  • Thoroughly assess strengths and weaknesses
  • Helps you meet and exceed local, state, and national standards needed for government funding
  • Informs colleges, states, and donors of your commitment to excellence

Our transformational Christian worldview is deeply embedded throughout the school improvement process. Each step in your accreditation journey will guide you to an assurance that your school is true to its mission and fully integrating of Biblical principles with high educational standards.

We have recently adapted our practice concerning preschool accreditation. While we encourage preschool staff to actively engage in the full-school accreditation process, we do not include preschool grade levels on a school’s formal accreditation certificate. In the near future we are considering adding preschool indicators to our accreditation protocols. If a preschool then holds a valid state license, has no plans to request a license waiver, is an active part of the larger school setting, and can meet the qualifications of CSI preschool indicators, CSI will include preschool grade levels in the formal accreditation process.

CSI does not currently accredit online, virtual, or cyber schools.

CSI does not accredit traditional home schools or home school cooperatives; however, we do accredit a number of Christian schools that are considered University Model Schools. We also accredit Christian schools that utilize both Classical and Charlotte Mason approaches to schooling.

Schools are required to undergo a comprehensive accreditation process every five years.

For annual accreditation renewal, accredited schools must submit documentation to CSI by April 15 to provide evidence of forward movement on the goals detailed in the school improvement plan.

After applying to become an accreditation candidate, schools have up to three years to begin the work of the self-study process. The accreditation self-study, hosting of a site visit team, and the resulting report and development of initial school improvement goals usually take a minimum of 15 to 18 months to complete.

Two proven researched protocols guide the accreditation process. Our team will help you determine which is best suited for your school. Our Measuring the Mission protocol is used for schools that have previously undergone accreditation. Our Vision to Action is designed for newer schools that aren’t as familiar with the accreditation process.

To help lay the groundwork for accreditation, groups of staff and stakeholders investigate, evaluate, and analyze all the school does in light of its unique mission. Results serve as the basis for the school’s improvement plan and provides context for the site team accreditation visit.

Yes. Assembled by your school and CSI, a team of educators spends two to three days assessing compliance with standards, identifying school community strengths, and making recommendations for improvement. The team writes the school’s accreditation report and makes a recommendation to the CSI Accreditation Commission for approval of accreditation.

Yes, you must be a standard or affiliate member of CSI in order to pursue accreditation. Apply to become a CSI member today.

  • A $500 one-time candidacy application fee
  • A $600 annual accreditation services fee
  • A site visit fee dependent on school enrollment paid once every five years
  • Fewer than 500 students: $1,000
  • 500–1,000 students: $1,500
  • More than 1,000 students: $2,000
  • Travel, lodging, and meal costs for regional coordinators and site visit team members

The basic process is as follows:

  • Enroll in regular or affiliate CSI membership
  • Apply to become a candidate for accreditation
  • Become assigned to your CSI regional coordinator
  • Take one to three years to complete your self-study
  • Host site team visit
  • Receive accreditation report with recommendation to the CSI Accreditation Commission
  • Await final accreditation approval by the Commission, either in January or July
  • Receive formal approval and certificate of accreditation
  • Submit reporting documents to CSI for annual renewal of accreditation for a five-year cycle

It’s any school that has applied for CSI accreditation and has been approved to move ahead with the process. The school is assigned a regional coordinator who visits the school and trains specific staff on how to work within CSI Accreditation protocols. A candidate school has up to three years to host a site visit. Note that approved accreditation candidates are eligible for associated grant, scholarship, and voucher programs in many states.

We are recognized by numerous states, state-based associations, and independent school associations for accreditation, grant, scholarship, and voucher purposes.

They include:

  • AdvancED, including the North Central Association (NCA), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC)
  • Coalition of Christian School Accreditors (CCSA)
  • Georgia Private School Accreditation Council (GAPSAC)
  • International Alliance for School Accreditation (The Alliance)
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA)
  • Minnesota Nonpublic Education Council
  • Oklahoma Private School Accreditation Commission (OPSAC)
  • Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS)
  • States of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin
  • U.S. Department of Education for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), and I-20 and I-17 forms.
  • Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE)
  • Washington Federation of Independent Schools (WFIS)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Yes. CSI takes the lead in all dual accreditations to ensure your school receives an accreditation grounded in a distinctively Christian worldview.

Partners include:

  • AdvancED, including the North Central Association (NCA), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC)
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

If you have a question you’d like to see answered:

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