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Accreditation Visit Cycle

INITIAL/TEN-YEAR ACCREDITATION
The process begins with the school’s development of a comprehensive self-study typically occurring over a two-year period. Appointed by the VAIS Accreditation Committee, visiting team leaders conduct a preliminary visit and document review to assess the school’s readiness to conduct the visit and to make preparations for the on-site evaluation. Based on discussions with visiting team leaders and the Head of the School, VAIS staff carefully select additional visiting team members who represent independent schools and who have been nominated to serve VAIS in this capacity. Team members receive the school's report, curriculum, and other pertinent information in advance of the on-site evaluation. During the on-site evaluation, the visiting team examines every facet of the school through interviews with representatives of all constituent groups, classroom visits, and observations of campus life. These provide team members with the background needed to compile the visiting team report. Finally, team members apply their accumulated knowledge to record individual votes on each VAIS Standard for Membership. The team makes no recommendation concerning accreditation. The Accreditation Committee makes a recommendation on accreditation to the VAIS Board of Directors and determines additional reporting that will be required by the school. All decisions concerning accreditation rest with the VAIS Board. In the year following the visit, the school is requested to provide a One Year Report of progress to VAIS. 

INTERIM ACCREDITATION
Typically five years following the school’s initial or ten-year accreditation, an interim evaluation is conducted. Within the interim progress report that the school prepares, each of the major challenges and any strong recommendations identified in the previous visiting team report are addressed. In addition, the school describes new programs and/or significant developments since the last on-site evaluation, and presents its published curriculum and supporting documentation. Though a smaller visiting team is appointed for the on-site evaluation, the interim evaluation process parallels the ten-year review in scope, including review of documentation and individual votes on all Standards for Membership. The format of the interim visiting team report is abbreviated.  The visiting team’s report and their vote on Standards is forwarded to the full VAIS Accreditation Committee for review. The Accreditation Committee makes a recommendation on accreditation to the VAIS Board of Directors and determines additional reporting that will be required by the school. All decisions concerning accreditation rest with the VAIS Board. In the year following the visit, the school is requested to provide a One Year Report of progress to VAIS. 


  

Request for Change in Cycle

DELAY OF VISIT
A school wishing to move its accreditation visit forward should request the postponement in writing to the Director of Accreditation. The director will consult with the chair of the Accreditation Committee concerning the request and notify the Head of School of the decision in writing. The balance of schedules from year to year is often a determining factor when a postponement of an accreditation visit is granted. 
  

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