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PAIS Standards for Accreditation

PAIS (Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools) Commission for Accreditation examines the school’s compliance with evaluative standards before recommending accreditation for ratification by the PAIS Board of Directors.

The five main areas addressed by the evaluative standards are:

  1. Organization & Administration
  2. Program
  3. Personnel
  4. Health & Safety
  5. Physical Plant

The PAIS accreditation standards are periodically reviewed and updated.

The PAIS Accreditation Standards:

  1. The school has a clearly delineated mission/philosophy that defines its purposes and guides the community in articulating its goals, academic program, daily operations, and strategic planning.
  2. The governing body of the School understands and adheres to the ICAISA  Principles of Good Practice for Governance and works in partnership with the head of school to fulfill these principles.
  3. The governing body clearly articulates a definition of diversity consistent with the school’s mission and philosophy and, further, takes diversity into consideration in planning and decision-making.
  4. The governing body establishes policies that promote, ensure and support a culture of sustainability for the School.
  5. The school has a clearly defined and sustainable leadership structure, which oversees mission-appropriate implementation of governing body policies, school operations, academic and non-academic programs, and personnel.
  6. The school’s financial practices, resources, and financial planning are adequate to support its mission and long-term financial sustainability.
  7. The school’s financial management procedures, including a formal budget-making process and accounting methods are in compliance with generally accepted accounting principles.
  8. The school conducts a professional full-opinion audit annually.
  9. The school’s advancement program exemplifies the best qualities of the institution and reflects the highest standards of personal and professional conduct.
  10. The school has a well-defined and published admission process.
  11. The school’s institutional development/fund raising program supports the school’s mission and vision.
  12. The school’s communications are clear and consistent to all consitutencies and effectively support its mission and vision.
  13. The school’s internal and external marketing initiatives support its mission and vision .
  14. The school has procedures for the effective involvement of the school community and works to maintain harmonious relationships with the local community.
  15. The school’s academic program is consistent with its mission and philosophy, and is based on current research regarding the learning process and pedagogy reflecting best practices of independent school education.
  16. The school articulates, publishes, implements, and regularly reviews its educational goals, objectives and outcomes reflected through its curriculum for each grade/age level and in each program area. 
  17. The school demonstrates that its program, practices, and institutional culture are informed by relevant research regarding how students learn and the knowledge and capacities they will need in the 21st century.
  18. The school’s student support services, extracurricular programs and activities facilitate and enhance student learning and offer a broad range of educational experiences for students.
  19. The school provides evidence of procedures to evaluate, report, and track individual and collective student progress; to assess the effectiveness of student learning through the use of data; and to use assembled data to make sustainable decisions.
  20. The school’s residential program provides a wholesome and nurturing environment that ensures a balance between academic and residential life.
  21. The school employs a sufficient number of qualified administrators, faculty, and staff to carry out its academic program, to conduct school operations, and to meet the needs of the students. 
  22. The school demonstrates its commitment to providing a safe and healthy environment for its community.
  23. The school has emergency procedures in place for evacuation or lock down of buildings, health crisis, or catastrophic event.
  24. The school’s physical facilities are appropriate, adequately accommodate its program and meet the needs of its students and the school community.
  25. Certificates of Occupancy from the Department of Labor or, for schools in the cities of Erie, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton, the Department of Licenses and Inspection, are on file for all campus buildings.

Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools (PAIS) • 37 East Germantown Pike, Suite 302 • Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
610-567-2960 • Fax 610-567-2963


PAIS is an equal opportunity employer. PAIS and its member schools comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding discrimination in admissions and employment.
PAIS is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to accredit private schools in the State of Pennsylvania.
PAIS is internationally recognized through the International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA) Commission on Accreditation.

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