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Why Choose an Accredited School?

Are independent schools required to be accredited?

No. In Pennsylvania, schools must be licensed by the State Board of Private Academic Schools, operate under the authority of a bona fide religious institution, or be accredited in lieu of licensure by a State recognized accrediting agency.

What is the purpose of accreditation?

The primary purpose of accreditation is to promote the education and well-being of all children in independent schools and promote school improvement. PAIS accreditation protects the public interest by assessing the school’s congruence with its own mission and its compliance with PAIS standards.

What distinguishes a PAIS-accredited school?

Two distinguishing features of a PAIS-accredited school are:

  • Completion of an in-depth Self Study
  • Successful adherence to a rigorous set of standards

As part of the periodic evaluation, the entire school participates in a process of self-examination focused on excellence in education. The school reviews its own philosophy of education and, over a one to two-year period, assesses the extent to which it achieves PAIS accreditation standards in light of its mission and philosophy.

A school accredited by PAIS is deemed to have met a rigorous set of standards. Although PAIS member schools vary significantly in their purpose, program, and style, each school is subject to certain means of accountability including the following:

• It must meet the published PAIS standards concerning educational program, institutional organization and administration, personnel, health and safety, and physical facilities.

  • It must satisfy its constituencies concerning the quality of their educational program and services.
  • It must demonstrate its commitment to ongoing self-improvement through participation in the ten-year cycle of the evaluation process as established by the PAIS Board of Directors through the Commission for Accreditation.

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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