By Kevin Yaley
Head of School
School accreditation is a peer-review process that fosters excellence in education and encourages school improvement through discovery, dialogue, compliance, and commitment. Accreditation enables a member school to develop clearly defined goals and objectives based on its mission and philosophy.
To become a full member of the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), schools must have received accreditation by the Association. The accreditation process includes a written self-study based on 16 standards with responses to questions about every aspect of the school. This report is followed by an on-site visit by a team of educators who look into every aspect of the school’s programs and operations to assess its effectiveness in fulfilling the school’s stated purposes. Since June 2018, the Parker faculty and staff have been working diligently to complete our self-study through which we have been able to review and clarify our purpose and goals for students and begin to develop plans to accomplish these goals.
Later this month, we will be soliciting feedback from our Parker parents through a brief survey that will ask our community to comment on key indicators of how well Parker is maintaining a healthy climate that reflects the values of our mission. In our survey, we will present examples of indicators listed in the CAIS accreditation manual under Chapter 5: Climate and Community.
Example indicators include:
- In the context of its mission, the school actively promotes diversity and equity in its student body, fosters cultural competence in its faculty and staff, and seeks to instill in students an appreciation for and understanding of the range of human differences. Students experience the school as a safe, equitable, and inclusive place.
- Constituents appreciate, understand, and use the established avenues of communication with the school.
- There is an effective process by which families are informed of and educated about the policies and practices of the school.
- Alumni/ae and their parents—as well as other constituencies beyond parents of current students—are actively informed about, appropriately engaged in, and supportive of the school.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete the upcoming survey and for helping us strive for excellence in all areas of the School.
The final self-study document will be submitted to CAIS on Dec. 1, 2019. In early February, a committee of CAIS independent school leaders will spend four days on campus with the goal of identifying areas of strength and areas needing improvement, as well as assessing how well Parker lives up to our stated mission and how effectively we meet or exceed the 16 accreditation standards.
Thereafter, the Visiting Committee submits its report with a confidential recommendation regarding an accreditation status for the school. The Visiting Committee report and recommendation are carefully reviewed by the Secondary Board of Standards and by the CAIS staff. After discussing the recommendation for status for each school, the Board of Standards makes a recommendation to the CAIS Board of Directors, which reviews the recommendation and makes the ultimate determination about a school’s accreditation status.
For the past six accreditation cycles, Parker has received the maximum status. Of equal importance, the findings and recommendations from each of those past cycles have undoubtedly propelled Parker to even greater heights, and it is our hope and expectation that the same is true of our upcoming visit.