K-12 Accreditation Process and Steps to Accreditation
The three fundamental requirements of the Accreditation Process are:
Meeting the standards and accreditation policies,
Demonstrating quality assurance through an internal and external review,
Engaging in continuous improvement.
The FCCPSA philosophical framework of accreditation is based on a process that is committed to: quality standards, a quality process, a culturally competent team and a procedurally competent chair to oversee every component.
Accreditation is designed to be a continuous improvement process for the school. This process is not just about collecting evidence for a one-time event but rather continuing to evaluate the overall effectiveness of improvement efforts every day.
The School Quality Factors (SQF), serve as a roadmap for institutions on their Improvement Journey. The School Quality Factors are:
Impact of Instruction
Efficacy of Engagement
Membership to Accreditation:
Each of these steps or topics listed below, have training sessions in the Member Services section of the website for member institutions.
1) Membership with the FCCPSA:
Accreditation by the FCCPSA is available only to member schools. Schools must have successfully been in operation for a minimum of one year before beginning the accreditation process. The FCCPSA was founded to provide training and resources for the creation and support of Christian private schools. One of its first goals as an organization was the development of the Private School Administrator's Manual. That manual and the workshop training that is available (both in person and on-line) are invaluable tools in building a quality school that is ready to begin the accreditation process.
2) Internal Review:
When a school applies for accreditation, they will be provided with an Internal Review Workbook so they can begin the process of reviewing their current practices. The Internal Review Evaluation process is designed to be an honest evaluation of the institution's current level of quality. A major component of the accreditation process is to identify and prioritize areas for improvement. This is the first step in that process, not the final exam. That means that low scores do not end the process; they provide a foundation for improvement. All of the Domains and Standards are included in the review so the institution can evaluate areas of both strengths and weaknesses.
3) Site Readiness Review:
Once the Internal Review has been completed, a Site Readiness Visit will be scheduled. The inspector will spend approximately three hours on site, meeting with the administrative team, and reviewing the responses of the Self-Evaluation. At the conclusion of the visit, the school will be:
• Approved to move forward with the Self-Study as a Candidate for Accreditation or
• Provided with a detailed listing of the quality standards that need to be addressed before the Self-Study portion can be started.
The Self-Study is the process whereby the institution begins documenting their level of compliance with the four Domains. Each of the Domains has been divided into four Standards, allowing for several teams within the institution to focus on specific areas. Each Standard has between one and five Indicators. For each of the sixteen sections (and included standards), the school will provide documentation and narratives as evidence of their current level of compliance. Essential to completing the Self-Study will require that the school:
• Collect student performance data,
• Conduct Stakeholder Surveys: Including at least teachers, students and parents,
• Provide a self-assessment for each section,
• Provide an executive summary,
• Create a Continuous Improvement Plan.
During this process, the school's administration will have access to the Evaluation Chair for assistance and guidance throughout the process.
5) Review of the Self-Study:
The Evaluation Chair and Inspection Team will review the evidences and narratives contained in the Self-Study. Areas of clarification or additional documentation will be communicated with the school's administration before the Site Visit is Scheduled.
6) Site-Visit (External Review):
Depending on the type of program or programs the institution offers the culturally competent team will:
• Conduct classroom observations using the AdvancED ELEOT system. (Effective Learning Environment Observation Tool),
• Review student performance,
• Review student cum folders,
• Review internal and external stakeholder interviews,
• Determine the extent to which the institution meets the FCCPSA, AdvancED and Florida specific Standards (including high school diploma requirements),
• Examine additional artifacts and evidence as needed,
• Verify compliance with state local and funding requirements,
• Conduct a thorough Safe, Sanitary and Secure inspection of the campus,
• Demonstrate appropriate financial management and audit system.
Once the External Review has been completed, the Evaluation Team will prepare a comprehensive report of the team's findings. Included in the report will be: a recognition of the institution's best practices, opportunities for improvement, improvement priorities.
7) FCCPSA Accreditation Committee Review:
The results of the Self-Study, External Review and the institution's Continuous Improvement Plan will be presented to the FCCPSA Accreditation Committee for review. The committee will vote to approve the school for accreditation, or provide a list of areas of improvement that must be met before accreditation can be obtained.
8) FCCPSA Accreditation:
Accreditation is a continuous process. The institution must:
• Maintain membership with the FCCPSA,
• Submit an annual report each year detailing their progress on the Continuous Improvement Plan,
• Engage in ongoing self-evaluation from valid data collection and stakeholder communication,
• Report substantive changes.
9) AdvancEd/SACS Accreditation:
For institutions that wish to add AdvancED accreditation (which should be the goal of every institution), the school will need to complete the AdvancED application with applicable fees. The Accreditation Committee Review and documentation will be provided to the appropriate AdvancED office by the FCCPSA.
*Subject to the provisions in the FCCPSA Policy Manual.
Note: Schools must appropriately refer to their participation in the accreditation program and report their status correctly and ethically, throughout the process. Any misrepresentation by an institution will result in the removing of the program from the accreditation process, loss of membership and forfeiture of any funds paid.