Accreditation Process

posted Aug 26, 2016, 12:12 PM by Suzanne WARDINI

The International School of Dakar is accredited by the Council of International School (CIS) based in Europe and the Middle States Association (MSA) based in the United States. Our ten-year accreditation will expire in May 2017. The school is currently in the middle of an 18-month process to earn our re-accreditation.

Accreditation is vital for international schools because it is an external validation of their quality, which is essential for our students when they apply to colleges and universities around the world.

The first step in the accreditation process was a week-long visit to the school by a two-person team, with one member from each accrediting agency last October. During the visit, the accreditation members visited classrooms, reviewed the school’s policies, procedures and financial statements, provided information sessions to the different stakeholders, and spoke with students, parents, teachers, administrators and board members.

The Preparatory Team’s final report identified a number of the school’s strengths:
  • Strong, purposeful, and effective board leadership providing direction for the school and its community.
  • Recruiting practices aimed at acquiring the best teachers.
  • Supportive parent community.
  • Effective and broad-reaching counseling program.
  • Well-resourced school with the technology infrastructure necessary for student learning.
  • An extensive after-school activities program, including sports.
  • A school that is truly at the heart of its community.
The team also identified the following key areas needing attention:
  • Develop a formal process and defined indicators to assess the school’s success in achieving the strategic plan.
  • Create more opportunities for students to engage in service outside of the school in order to connect to the host country in meaningful ways.
  • Ensure that all students are challenged by the content of their courses.
  • Ensure that the curriculum is documented appropriately through the school.
  • Given the importance of the English Language Learning program at ISD, ensure all staff members at ISD receive appropriate training and determine whether the current level of staffing is appropriate.
The school has already addressed a number of the areas listed above and will continue to implement changes to ensure we are improving in all issues raised.

The next step in the process, and undeniably the most important, was to begin the self-study, which is a critical examination of all aspects of the school compared to established best practice standards for education. The teachers and administrators examined the following seven major curriculum areas including English, language arts, math, science and modern languages from November to May of the last school year. The committees determined a list of commendations and recommendations for each area and have begun to implement the recommended changes. At present, we have completed about one-third of the self-study.

Over the next few months, committees will look at other aspects of the school including governance, leadership, school culture, and operational systems. The committees will be comprised of teachers, administrators, board members and parents. Send me an email ( if you feel that you would be interested in joining one of the self-study committees.

The final step in the process is a visit by the accreditation team in April 2017. The team will be comprised of eight to ten educators from around the world. Prior to coming to Dakar, the team will read our self-study. Once they arrive, they will spend a week getting to know our school, following a similar schedule as the preparatory team. The purpose of the visiting team is to provide an objective assessment of the self-study and identify specific recommendations for school improvement.

ISD successfully completed the accreditation process ten years ago as well as the mid-term visit in 2012. I am fully confident that we will be re-accredited again and am looking forward to using the process to make ISD an even better school for our students.

Dr. Alan Knobloch
School Director