The Accreditation Process

posted Oct 16, 2015, 10:47 AM by Suzanne WARDINI   [ updated Oct 16, 2015, 10:51 AM ]

Dear Parents,

This week, George Hobson, from the Council of International Schools in Europe, and Steve Charbonneau, a principal from The American School of Kinshasa, representing the Middle States Association were at ISD conducting the preparatory visit as part of our re-accreditation process. The purpose of the preparatory visit is to assess the school’s readiness to undertake the accreditation process and provide the school with information and training to help the school complete the self-study process. Over a three day period, George and Steve had 24 meetings, spoke with 47 staff members, six students, six to eight parents, and the Board of Trustees. On the last day, they provided training to the 14 staff and one board member who will serve as the Steering Committee for the self-study. The goal of the self-study process is for the school to conduct a rigorous self-review of the school.

The self-study process will take 16 months to complete and involve every teacher and administrator, many support staff members, parents, and students. It will begin in November with a comprehensive survey of the students, parents, teachers, and board members. Twenty different committees will compare the school’s practices with established best practice standards. The committees will cover all subject areas, English, math, French, science, all three divisions, elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as the school’s guiding statements, financial operations, and board governance. Below are some of the standards the committees will use.
  • Teaching practices shall reflect an understanding of the different ways in which students learn, and this is evidenced by student engagement and performance. 
  • The school shall have formal procedures and defined criteria to effectively and regularly assess the impact of teaching strategies and the level of student performance. 
  • The school shall have educational and financial plans for the near and long term that ensure school viability, are supportive of the mission and are explained to the school community. 
At the end of the process, the school will prepare a lengthy report detailing how the school compares to the standards, the strengths of ISD, and the areas of improvement.

In April of 2017, a team of eight educators representing both CIS and MSA will visit ISD for a week. This team will provide an objective assessment of the conclusions of the self-study. After the visit, the team will submit a report to the accrediting agencies who will then determine if the school is re-accredited. Given the quality of ISD and the initial feedback of the preparatory visitors, I am very optimistic that ISD will be re-accredited provided we produce a high quality self-study report.

Conducting the self-study will take a significant amount of time. We will use our regularly scheduled Monday afternoon meetings, our calendared early release days, and professional development days to meet in our self-study committees and complete the self-study. This may mean some of our other initiatives like the strategic planning goals may not proceed as quickly as we had originally planned.

The accreditation process is important to the school. The main benefit is the school, at the end of the process, has a plan for how to improve every aspect of the school. Another benefit is the external validation of the quality of the ISD. This is an important and necessary element to our students being accepted to top universities around the world.

I will keep you informed of each step and let you know how parents can help the school in this process.

Dr. Alan Knoboch