Accreditation for School Improvement
Why seek ACCS accreditation?
The ACCS offers the only accreditation specifically for classical Christian schools. ACCS accreditation is a school-improvement program that provides an evaluation of a school and its practices to encourage stability, quality, and a measure of excellence.
Listen to a headmaster whose school recently received recognition as an ACCS-accredited school.
Accredited members meet our foundational standards for a classical Christian school. Schools often make improvements during the initial stage as they prepare documentation to demonstrate compliance. After ACCS staff validate the self-study documentation, a visit committee is identified with members from other ACCS-accredited schools. The on-site visit provides school administrators with an opportunity to build relationships with other administrators facing similar issues. Unlike other accrediting agencies, we verify the classical nature of the school’s teaching so that it reaches a foundational set of requirements.
While the ACCS accreditation process follows a familiar pattern of self-study followed by an on-site visit, the focus of this process is carefully targeted at the most important elements of successful schools.
Step 1: Apply to become an accreditation candidate.
Prerequisite: Active ACCS Membership
Step 2: Host a previsit.
Prerequisite: Approved Candidate for Accreditation
Once approved as a candidate for ACCS accreditation, schools schedule a one-day site visit with the ACCS director of accreditation (or designee).
Step 3: Complete your self-study.
Prerequisite: Approved Candidate for Accreditation
Candidate schools receive instruction helpful to complete their self-study. Schools have up to one year to complete the self-study.
Step 4: Host an Accreditation Committee Visit.
Prerequisite: Self-study has been reviewed and approved
Step 5: Decision on Accreditation.
Prerequisite: Draft accreditation report reviewed by school
An ad-hoc committee will review the draft accreditation report and school’s response to the report. Initial accreditation may be awarded for up to two years.
ACCS accreditation measures how well schools are consistently implementing a classical Christian philosophy of education throughout the entire school organization from school board oversight to classroom pedagogy, including:
- Student participation, conduct, and development.
- Staff training.
- Parent-teacher relations.
- Operational and financial policies.
- Community support.
- The overall spiritual demeanor in the school classrooms.
- The integration of Scripture throughout their schools curricula.
- Conformity with classical Christian methods in their classrooms.
The standards for the ACCS classical and Christian School accreditation program are available to all. The accreditation handbook, which contains all of the information necessary for schools deciding whether or not to seek accreditation, is available by request.
Note: This document only contains the standards for accreditation, not the application for school accreditation or other materials required for ACCS school accreditation. Page numbers reflect pages excerpted from the complete handbook. Click on the above link to download the standards.
ACCS Accreditation operates in all 50 states. A few states allow or require private recognition of accreditors within their state’s law. We are officially recognized in those states (below):
If your state is not listed here, it probably means that your state does not directly recognize private accreditors. We accredit schools in nearly every state. Due to our valued independence, we do not seek direct recognition by the state.
ACCS accreditation is permitted in all states in which we operate. However, the following state-dependent limitations may be a relevant consideration for parents in a few states:
- Transferring students from ACCS schools into public k-12 schools may be more difficult in some cases.
- Sports leagues and extra-curriculurs may be more limited for ACCS accredited schools.
- Colleges scholarships which require a state-certified diploma may be impacted. College admission is generally not affected, but may be in rare cases. Several colleges offer exclusive ACCS scholarships and many others specifically seek ACCS graduates.
ACCS accreditation is specifically recognized in states that have private entities for private school accreditation, including: Georgia, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia.
Why is independence so important? We encourage you to read our statement on independent accreditation.
Available only for ACCS–accredited schools
Teacher certification should verify the presence of demonstrable philosophical understanding and competent teaching skills in the one certified. The ACCS Teacher Certification is established to enable teachers to attain the highest level of classical Christian instruction under the supervision of their school’s administrator, while providing a long term independent record of that accomplishment with ACCS as well as a certificate of achievement for each level of proficiency attained.
Schools can add certified teachers to the database and receive certificates on the Member Resource Center (MRC).