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What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a word that is tossed around in education circles regularly, but perhaps it is not as widely understood as we might think. In short, accreditation is a school’s attempt to be considered “credible.” This usually involves multiple partners in a four- step process. First, the school engages in a self-study to examine its effectiveness in such issues as: curriculum, teacher proficiency, resources, and student outcomes to name a few. These areas generally fall into categories that are called “standards” which are established by the accrediting body to which the school belongs. Second, the school submits itself to peer school personnel from outside who do an evaluation of the self-study documentation and then come to the school for a first-hand look in what is termed a “site visit.” Third, the accrediting body then issues a series of “commendations” where the school has excelled in meeting/exceeding the standards and also a list of “recommendations” where the school needs to address growth areas. Finally, the school responds to the recommendations with appropriate actions and receives the accrediting body’s stamp of approval. This is a process that is repeated over time in an effort to continuously improve as a school.

Why is Accreditation Important?

The importance of providing a quality education for its students cannot be overstated. Being credible as an educational institution is vital to parent confidence, peer school interactions, community perceptions, and ultimately most importantly student development. An accrediting body’s mission is to partner with its member schools to make sure that the quality of each local school is ensured through the rigorous and repetitive process described above.

Our Accreditation Journey

Grace Academy was founded by professional educators who invested sacrificially for over a decade to establish a solid foundation as a school. The growing enrollment attests to the credibility of the school in the community generally and in parents’ eyes specifically. In 2019, we became a member school of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). In its welcome letter, President Larry Taylor stated: “ACSI’s primary goal is to strengthen Christian schools and equip Christian educators as they prepare students academically and inspire them to become devoted followers of Jesus Christ. We do this through resources and services that are designed to help you improve your school and accomplish the Kingdom work of Christian education.” In the 2020/2021 school year we will formally begin the process of pursuing accreditation via the first step of self-study. We anticipate the overall timeline to encompass 4-5 years before ACSI accreditation is achieved.