NJAIS Standards for Accreditation
1. The school has a clearly stated mission/philosophy statement that is reviewed periodically and approved by the Board of Trustees.
2. The school communicates its mission/philosophy to all constituents.
3. The mission/philosophy informs school decisions and programs.
4. The school is incorporated as a non-profit organization and has been granted by the Internal Revenue Service 501(c)3 status or an equivalent form of tax-exempt status.
5. The school and its governance structure are organized with independence from other organizations or individuals as to ensure its ability to fulfill its mission.
6. The Board reviews and maintains Bylaws and keeps minutes of meetings that conform to legal requirements while assuring that the school and Board operate in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
7. The Board develops and regularly reviews Board written policies in a Policy Manual.
8. The Board has sole fiduciary responsibility for the school and ensures that adequate financial resources and facilities are provided for the institution.
9. The Board has appropriate policies to support the creation, review, and approval of an annual operating and capital budget, as well as short and long-range financial plans.
10. The Board engages in regular strategic planning and documents in writing the school’s strategic plan.
11. The Board understands its central role in development/institutional advancement and actively supports these efforts.
12. The Board provides a written contract for the Head of School that sets forth major responsibilities, a mutually agreed upon plan of evaluation of the Head, compensation and benefits, the term of employment, a required termination notice, and ensures the Head’s right to address the Board with regard to situations in which the Head’s position might be at risk.
13. The Board demonstrates effective boundaries between the policy-making role of the Board and the role of the Head of School as educational leader and manager of school day-to-day operations.
14. The Board ensures stability in transitions of Head and Board leadership and provides transition planning.
15. The Board has an effective process to identify, cultivate, and select new members to its Board.
16. There is orientation for Board members and ongoing professional development for the school’s Trustees.
17. The Board has a regular, clearly defined, and well-administered program of evaluation for itself as an entity and for individual Board members.
18. The Board reviews annually and signs individually a conflict of interest and confidentiality statement.
III. SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY
19. The climate and culture of the school reflect the school’s mission/philosophy.
20. In keeping with its mission/philosophy, the school promotes an equitable, just, and inclusive community that inspires students to respect others and value diversity.
21. The school’s admissions and financial assistance policies and practices are consistent with the school’s mission/philosophy and include efforts for diversity in the student body.
22. The school employs methods of communicating with its stakeholders that are appropriate to the school’s mission, size, and means.
23. There are clearly articulated channels by which members of all constituency groups (including faculty, parents, students, alumni) can communicate meaningfully with school administrators.
24. The school strives to maintain good relationships with the community in which it is located.
25. The school strives to promote a culture of global understanding that is appropriate to the school’s mission, size, and means.
26. The school strives to promote a commitment to environmental responsibility for current and future generations.
27. The school makes full disclosure of its mission, policies, programs, and practices in the following written documents:
- Mission/philosophy statement, goals, objectives
- Written statement of non-discrimination against any person in admissions, employment, or otherwise in any manner that is in violation of local, state, or federal laws. This non-discrimination statement is published in the school’s brochures, website, Bylaws, and other documents.
- Listing of faculty and staff that includes their relevant credentials
- Published curriculum guide or document that gives full descriptions of all programs and activities, including graduation requirements
- Guidelines and policies under which the school operates, such as handbooks
- Enrollment contract that specifies tuition, fees, and all financial responsibilities
- Discipline policy
- Anti-bullying policy
- Policies and procedures for addressing complaints by employees, parents, students, alumni
- Religious affiliation of the school and family obligation, if applicable
28. The school has policies and procedures that govern the retention, maintenance, and use of personnel, financial, corporate, legal, health and safety, and student records, including print and digital records. All records are protected against catastrophic loss and are available only to authorized personnel.
29. The school has clearly defined policies and procedures that promote a climate of emotional and physical safety among students and between students and the faculty, administration, and staff. Discipline practices shall be humane and mindful of the inherent dignity in every student. Corporal punishment is not an acceptable practice.
30. The educational and extracurricular programs stem from the school’s beliefs about teaching and learning, are consistent with the mission/philosophy of the school, and are reviewed regularly.
31. Congruent with the school’s mission/philosophy, the school’s programs demonstrate consideration for intellectual, social, physical, aesthetic, and ethical education of students. The program encourages freedom of inquiry, respects diversity of viewpoints, and promotes critical thinking.
32. The school’s published curriculum is informed by its mission/philosophy.
33. Consistent with its mission/philosophy, the school’s program has sufficient range for the learning styles, developmental needs, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds of the students enrolled in the school.
34. The school has a clear process for evaluating individual student progress and reporting to parents or guardians on a periodic basis.
35. The school provides adequate resources, (e.g. instructional materials, library, technology, and field trips) that support and enrich the academic program.
36. The school demonstrates responsible and ongoing understanding of current educational research and best practices consistent with its mission.
37. The school has in place a procedure for follow-up on graduate success, and utilizes resulting data to assess its goals and programs.
38. The school provides evidence of a thoughtful process, respectful of its mission, for the collection and use in school decision-making of data (internal and external) about student learning, for both current and past students.
39. The school’s online education and/or distance education are congruent with its mission/philosophy. (Respond if your school utilizes online/distance education.)
40. The school has a technology program and plan that addresses communication, administration, and instruction.
41. The school maintains a website that provides useful information for all constituencies.
42. The school integrates technology skills and applications into the instructional program where appropriate.
43. The school provides guidance, appropriate placement counseling, advisory, and counseling services that are consistent with the school's mission/philosophy and educational program. The school has the responsibility to provide these services directly and/or by referral.
44. The school provides appropriate health services for students and employees that are administered and carried out by personnel who have appropriate training and experience.
45. The school meets all state requirements regarding the health services that it offers.
46. The school follows relevant state standards for maintaining health information on students and appropriate confidentiality guidelines when sharing information with school staff.
47. If food services are provided by the school, facilities and staff for food services meet applicable health and safety standards.
VII. SCHOOL FINANCE
48. The school has sufficient resources to maintain the program of the school and meet the needs of the students, faculty, administration, and staff.
49. The school has appropriate policies and procedures for managing the financial resources of the school including the following:
- An accounting system that allows for timely preparation of an income statement and a balance sheet, covering all school revenues, expenses, and funds
- A budget-making process
- A financial plan including historical and prospective data showing revenues, expenses, and fund balances
- A professional annual audit, including management letter.
50. The financial responsibilities of the parents/guardians are stated and published.
51. The school helps support the needs of students receiving financial aid with regard to activities both on and off-campus.
52. The Board ensures that the school has adequate provision for risk assessment, mitigation, and management, including the transfer of liability, property and casualty risk through appropriate insurance.
53. There are controls, including appropriate segregation of duties, for managing the funds of each organization operating under the umbrella of the school.
54. The school has a development/advancement program congruent with its mission/philosophy and that can be reasonably anticipated to meet the current and future needs of the school.
55. The administration is organized in a manner enabling it to carry out the mission/philosophy of the school.
56. Faculty, administration, and staff members are sufficient in number to accomplish the work for which they are responsible.
57. The Head of School determines that all the members of the faculty, administration, and staff are qualified for their positions and responsibilities, and are committed to the mission/philosophy of the school.
58. The Head, either directly or through designees, employs and assigns all faculty, administration, and staff.
59. The school conducts comprehensive background checks for all employees before the first day of employment.
60. Faculty, administrators, and staff annually receive written information regarding their responsibilities, compensation, benefits, and terms of employment, all of which are administered fairly.
61. The school provides ongoing opportunities for professional growth.
62. The school has a clearly defined and well-administered program of evaluation for faculty, administration, and staff.
IX. SCHOOL FACILITIES/SAFETY/EQUIPMENT/SERVICES
63. The school's facilities and equipment are adequate to support its program.
64. The school maintains its facilities and equipment so as to meet applicable health, fire, safety, security, and sanitary standards, and have current documentation on file confirming the safety standards.
65. Preventative and emergency health, safety, and security procedures are clear and well documented, and include a crisis management plan for both on and off-campus activities.
66. The physical facilities and equipment are adequately maintained, and a plan is in place for their long-term protection and renewal.
X. RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS/HOMESTAY STUDENTS (if applicable)
(Note: Homestay students refer to enrolled international students who reside off campus with host families, not with parents or other relatives or guardians.)
67. The residential program is so conceived and staffed to fulfill that aspect of the school’s mission, particularly with respect to the portion of the day outside regular classroom hours, including evening, weekend, and vacation activities.
68. The residential program is a unified part of the total life of the school.
69. The school provides for the needs of international students including an intentional curriculum, appropriate facilities, engaging activities, and adequate supervision of living arrangements to meet the needs of the students.
XI. SCHOOLS AFFILIATED WITH RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS/FAITH-BASED SCHOOLS
70. There shall be a provision in the school's Bylaws for a Board of Trustees that shall be elected or appointed according to the guidelines established by the governing body of the affiliated religious organization/faith-based institution. An independent religiously affiliated/faith-based school will provide in the Bylaws a clear statement about its religious relationship and identity.
71. A clearly stated policy, outlining the relationship of the school to its sponsoring organization and the responsibilities of each, will be included in the school's Bylaws and/or policy handbook.
72. The school has a clearly articulated statement of its religious goals, and these are reflected in school practices and policies, and communicated to all constituents.
NJAIS Standards for Accreditation approved by the NJAIS Board of Trustees on 20 June 2013.
Download a copy of the NJAIS Accreditation Standards.