IACCS offers schools a quality accreditation program patterned after the nationally recognized standards of FACCS. Once a qualifying school has attained a full accreditation status, they may apply for expanded national and international co-accreditations under the FACCS/National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA) protocols.
FACCS is one of the 18 fully recognized accrediting associations of the National Council for Private School Accreditaton (NCPSA www.ncpsa.org).
NCPSA, as one of the six alliance members of the Commission on International and TransRegional Accreditation (CITA www.citaschools.org), provides FACCS with a unique relationship with all other reputible regional, national, and international accrediting agencies.
Accreditation by FACCS/IACCS is based on the evaluation of the school by a visiting committee. The committee is guided by the overall picture that the school presents through the multiple self-study documents, and peer insight gained by the evaluation team through an on-site visit. The school should provide a quality and safe environment in which children have the opportunity for maximum growth and total development. In the evaluation of a school, the efficiency of learning, the quality of instruction, the acquired habits of thought, reason, and study, the educational outputs evidenced through assessments and surveys, in relation to the spiritual, academic, and moral level of the school will each be considered.
EXPLANATION OF THE TERM "STANDARD"
FACCS/IACCS considers a "standard" to be a level of achievement that should be attained by a satisfactorily functioning school. Ideally, these "standards" should be met in all areas of school operation and are offered as minimum expectations. The failure of a school to meet a portion of one or more of these "standards" will not necessarily preclude some level of accreditation standing. Therefore, "standards" should be understood to serve as points of reference and comparison in appraising the overall effectiveness of a school.
1.0 ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION
A quality Christian school has a well developed statement of purpose and mission which is the result of a philosophy of Christian education based on the Word of God. It demonstrates stable leadership and a well established organizational structure and system of governance. It also maintains the financial resources which are necessary to fulfill the mission and vision of the school.
1.1 Prospectus, Philosophy, and Mission
1.1.1 The school has a written statement of the philosophy, mission, and objectives which reflects expectations for student learning and spiritual growth.
1.1.2 The philosophy of the school is based on the Word of God as “the sole rule of faith and practice.”
1.1.3 The school has a concise mission statement that is clearly communicated and is effectively applied to every aspect of the school’s programs, operation, and curriculum.
1.1.4 The goals of the ministry are inclusive of the school’s philosophy and mission, and are expressed as short term goals (1-5 years) and long-term goals (6 or more years).
1.1.5 The prospectus of the school, developed in coordination with the Parent/Student Handbook, publications, and advertisements, thoroughly addresses consumer protection requirements set forth in state and federal law.
1.2 Governance and Leadership
1.2.1 The school has a governing entity which assumes the responsibility for the development of general school governance policies, maintaining the stated direction of the school ministry, and the financial stability of the school.
1.2.2 The school maintains a Policy or Administrative Manual, minutes of board meetings, Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws, and other data in a professional manner. School policy is clearly communicated to school staff through a well written Personnel Manual or Faculty Handbook.
1.2.3 The governing entity, as charged under corporate policy, is responsible for employing the administrative leadership, and working with that leadership to carry out the stated mission of the school and the achievement of school goals.
1.2.4 The governing entity delegates executive and administrative functions to the administrative head of the school. The administrative head of the school reports to the governing entity of the school and provides leadership that will ensure that the academic and extracurricular programs of the school promote the specified goals for student development.
1.2.5 The administrative head of the school has developed a Crisis Manual, inclusive of a management plan that provides for the training and practice of such a plan.
1.2.6 The school has an appropriate number of administrative personnel.
1.2.7 The administrative head of the school assumes responsibility for the instructional program of the school.
1.2.8 The administrative head oversees an effective system of evaluation for all school personnel.
1.2.9 The school leadership provides for an appropriate procedure of maintaining personnel records.
1.3.1 The financial resources of the school are sufficient to adequately support the program of the school in a manner which reflects a commitment to Biblical principles and high standards of excellence.
1.3.2 The school maintains current, accurate, and detailed financial records.
1.3.3 The school maintains adequate insurance protection.
1.3.4 The school conducts an external “unfriendly” audit a minimum of every 5 years if the student population is less than 500, and every 3 years if the student population exceeds 500.
1.3.5 The school prepares and operates with an annual budget.
1.3.6 The school’s bookkeeping procedures reflect accepted accounting procedures for receiving, depositing, and disbursing of funds.
1.3.7 The school utilizes a quality system of accounting with adequate offsite backup capabilities.
1.3.8 The school provides a financial compensation package that is based on training, experience, and/or merit, and that is clearly understood by all personnel.
1.3.9 The school has a salary and benefit schedule for full-time academic faculty that equals a minimum of 65% of the district school system.
1.3.10 The school offers financial assistance/scholarship opportunities on a fair and equitable basis.
1.4 Cumulative Records
1.4.1 The school maintains permanent cumulative records for each child in a fireproof filing cabinet, or an alternate procedure with backup disks maintained at a different location than the school.
1.4.2 The school maintains current records of attendance, spiritual, physical, social, and emotional growth, birth, immunization, and physical exam.
1.4.3 The school is knowledgeable of Florida law and has an established policy and procedure for the disposition of cumulative and other student records in the event of closure.
2.0 STAFF AND FACULTY
A quality Christian school shall provide competent and qualified staff/faculty to meet the stated mission and goals of the school.
2.1.1 The governing entity, the head of school, the faculty, and all other personnel are born-again believers in Jesus Christ and are persons of integrity, stability, and good reputation. They are in agreement with the “FACCS and AACS Statement of Faith.”
2.1.2 The head of the school and the teachers demonstrate a love and respect for children, provide a friendly, professional, and ethical relationship with them, and maintain an understanding of their growth and needs.
2.1.3 All preschool teachers show evidence of sufficient training or successful experience to meet the requirements of having knowledge of preschool children, family relations, hygiene, and early childhood growth and development.
2.1.4 Teachers at the K4 or younger level meet the minimum of the requirements under state law as to credentialing, training, passage of literacy tests, etc. if the school participates in state or federally funded programs.
2.1.5 All full-time teachers, K5 through grade 12, have a minimum of a BA/BS degree; earned from a reputable conventional college, or specialist credentials, that qualify them to teach the assigned subjects, and maintain required certifications in-fields of their proficiency.
2.1.6 Administrators, guidance counselors, and Library/Media Specialists hold a minimum of a BA/BS degree with in-field endorsement, and/or a graduate degree in educational administration or the respective related field.
2.1.7 All teachers are encouraged to continue their professional training.
2.1.8 The school has a sufficient number of full-time faculty members to carry out its educational program effectively.
2.1.9 Teacher turnover does not exceed a five-year annual average of 20%
2.1.10 Schools with alternate specialist instructional faculty must satisfy waiver requirements.
2.1.11 All assistant teachers shall have a minimum of two years of college and be under the supervision of a mentor teacher.
2.1.12 All teachers have been properly listed on the Summary of Staff Chart and each administrative and academic faculty member has completed the provided Faculty Staff Blank.
2.2 Personnel Policy
2.2.1 The school conducts regular faculty meetings that include components of professional development.
2.2.2 The school has a Faculty Manual which contains school policies and procedures concerning the teacher's role in the day-to-day operation of the school.
2.2.3 The school has written policies for the qualifications, selection, training, and assignment of substitute teachers.
2.3 Personnel Supervision and Evaluation
2.3.1 Consistent effective supervision and evaluation are followed according to policy for all school personnel.
3.0 ACADEMIC PROGRAMS
A quality Christian school offers a curriculum that is consistent with the school’s mission and a Biblical worldview, using instructional strategies that are aligned with the goals and objectives, as taught at each grade and subject level, for student learning, and provided in a comprehensive Academic Manual.
3.1 General Standards
3.1.1 Each applicable program (early childhood, preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and secondary) is appropriate to each child's developmental level and presents curriculum content that is consistent with the school’s mission.
3.1.2 The school maintains standards which provide for the optimum level of academic opportunity, and “net” core academic hours, for each student and which meet recognized standards of the State of Florida .
3.1.3 The instructional strategies and learning activities of the school focus on the active involvement of students in the learning process and the achievement of essential knowledge and skills as well as on application of higher-order thinking.
3.1.4 The school has a written technology plan which is implemented and evaluated on a continual basis.
3.1.5 The policies governing extracurricular activities are consistent with the school's mission, philosophy and Biblical standards.
3.1.6 The school maintains single academic classes for each grade when providing core courses of instruction.
3.2 Early Childhood/Pre-school/Kindergarten
3.2.1 The Early Childhood/Pre-school/Kindergarten program is designed to provide each student with an appropriate atmosphere conducive to each child learningproper social techniques, respect for others, and understanding of others.
3.2.2 Each child is assisted in the development of independence, confidence, and self-control through a balanced program of work, rest, and play.
3.2.3 There is evidence that students are provided with opportunities to stimulate their interest in math, science, literature, and Bible.
3.2.4 The program provides activities designed to improve the communication skills of each student, including the preparation for reading and the development of appropriate listening skills.
3.2.5 The program functions in such a way as to meet the expectations of parents within the philosophical scope of the school ministry.
3.2.6 The program includes a minimum of three (3) “net” hours of directed instruction.
3.2.7 The program maintains published teacher/pupil ratios.
3.2.8Gold Seal Recognition: Throughout the applicable general Standards for the accreditation of K5 through grade 12 programs there is an identification of core expectations that are equally applicable to a early childhood program, e.g., governance, corporate structure, By-Laws, personnel, qualifications, health, safety, responsibilities to governmental agencies, civil authorities, consumer protection, administrative/Director qualifications, disciplinary procedures, admissions criteria, student assessment, curricula, parental and other collaboration, health screening, continuing program improvement, and so forth. These are key components are already stipulated that meet or exceed recognized Gold Seal Standards. These integral Standards, as applicable to the Early Childhood Program seeking recognition are found in Standards 1.00, 2.00, 3.00-3.26, 4.00, 5.00, 6.00-6.3.0, 6.50, and 7.00. Thus, they are not reiterated in this section. However, self-contained or autonomous early childhood programs seeking Gold Seal recognition and accreditation must also fully satisfy the additional requirements, for such recognition, as determined in state law and expanded in the FACCS Self Study Model.
3.2.9 The program provides for the identification of strengths, weaknesses, and a continuing process of improvement to strengthen those areas identified.
3.3.1 The elementary program is designed to meet the student’s spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional, and social development.
3.3.2 The school utilizes a sequential course of study from grade to grade and subject to subject.
3.3.3 Instruction is provided by the use of a variety of teaching methods including audio, visual, and tactile methods. Technological skills are a regular part of the elementary program.
3.3.4 The program includes a minimum of four (4) “net” hours of directed instruction for grades 1-3, and five (5) “net” hours of directed instruction for grades 4-6.
3.3.5 The program maintains a teacher/pupil ratio that does not exceed 1:30 per class.
3.3.6 The program provides for the identification of strengths, weaknesses, and a continuing process of improvement to strengthen those areas identified.
3.4.1 The secondary program is appropriate to each child's developmental level and shall present curriculum content that will help them grow spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically, and shall provide learning experiences for the character development of each student in addition to academic challenge.
3.4.2 The students are given enough latitude to become involved in their learning, yet, at the same time, they are taught a variety of academic skills so they can express and use their ever-increasing knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
3.4.3 The program is planned and frequently evaluated by the cooperative effort of teachers and administrators.
3.4.4 The curriculum offerings are in agreement with Bible truth. Goals and objectives for each subject and grade are developed with an appropriate scope and sequence which is updated regularly through a collaborative assessment by the academic leadership and faculty through continuous review.
3.4.5 All courses of instruction meet the minimum “net school hours” and provide a standard core curriculum that meets or exceeds those of the State of Florida Department of Education for high school graduation established at 900 or 1050 hours.
3.4.6 The school maintains a teacher/pupil ratio that does not exceed 1:30 per class when core course instruction is provided.
3.4.7 The program provides for the identification of strengths, weaknesses, and a continuing process of improvement to strengthen those areas identified.
4.0 Physical Facilities/Health & Safety
A quality Christian school maintains property, facilities, and equipment which provide a functional, safe, and well-maintained environment for students/faculty in accordance with the school's mission.
4.1.1 The school property and facilities are in compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal regulations for private schools.
4.1.2 Buildings are suitable for the type of program offered and the organization of the school.
4.1.3 Attention is given to the attractiveness (internally and externally), the general condition, illumination, heating, ventilation, and general maintenance.
4.1.4 The furniture, equipment, and supplies are of such type, quality, and quantity to make possible the achievement of the objectives of the educational and extra-curricular programs.
4.2 Health and Safety
4.2.1 The school complies with the various health and safety standards established by federal, state, and local governments and is inspected annually for compliance by local fire and health departments and meets a minimum of the published FACCS Health, Safety and Sanitation Standards.
4.2.2 Attention to safety measures for the protection of students/faculty is evident.
4.2.3 All areas, both indoors and outdoors, are appropriate for their intended purposes and are adequate to accommodate the classes or the individuals using them.
5.0 Support Services
A quality Christian school provides for open, non-discriminatory practices in admissions, comprehensive guidance services, a systematic process of assessment and evaluation, library and media services that enhance student learning, the professional development of the faculty, and the technological needs of a quality education in the twenty-first century.
5.1.1 The school clearly states and publicizes all admissions policies, including compliance with state and federal non-discrimination addressed in “US 2000d,” which provides admissions and employment practice for religious ministries may no discriminate on the basis of “race, color, national or ethnic origin.”
5.1.2 The school accepts at “face-value” transfer credits, in accord with the Florida Uniform Transfer of High School Credits, from other FACCS or regionally accredited schools in NCPSA and CITA.
5.1.3 The school validates by examination, or other established criteria, credits earned through a non-accredited school program.
5.2.1 The school provides comprehensive guidance services for students that include but are not limited to, counseling, appraisal, staff consulting, referral, educational, and career planning.
5.2.2 The school provides transcripts designed to be easily interpreted by the receiving school. Academic credits earned at the secondary level will be posted on transcripts as provided in the Florida Course Code Directory.
5.3.1 The school has a clearly stated policy relating to entrance testing and other factors in accord with the assessment of student learning which can be monitored and evaluated. The program and written criteria shall be planned and frequently evaluated by a cooperative effort of teachers and administrators.
5.3.2 The school annually administers the latest edition of the Stanford Achievement Test to all students K-12, charts the recent and past three years of aggregate scores providing a comparison to state, national, and private school norms. The individual results of enrolled students are provided to the parent or guardian.
5.4 Library/Media Center
5.4.1 The school provides a library/media service which supports the learning needs of the students and the professional needs of the faculty and staff.
5.4.2 The library/media center provides a balanced book collection of 20 volumes per student; a minimum of 35 periodicals; an e-library service providing for student and faculty professional development, and technological formats to support the spiritual and academic advancement of all stakeholders.
5.4.3 The school maintains a visionary plan for consistent improvement of the library/media center.
5.5.1 The school maintains a well developed technology program including Internet access for both professional staff and students.
6.0 Auxiliary Services
A quality Christian school offers various auxiliary services to students and parents that assist the school in fulfilling its mission and goals.
6.1.1 The transportation program demonstrates safety and regulation in the transportation of students by establishing and maintaining procedures that are in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations including vehicle procurement, maintenance, field trips, recreational or athletic activities, and parent-provided vehicle transportation.
6.2 Food Services
6.2.1 The food service program demonstrates health and nutrition to students by establishing and maintaining procedures that are in accordance with all local, state, and federal requirements for the preparation, handling, storage, and serving of food.
6.3 Extended Care Program
6.3.1 The extended care program (before and after school) provides safety and security by establishing and maintaining procedures that are in accordance with all local, state, and federal requirements for the care of children and meets a minimum of the published FACCS Health, Safety and Sanitation Standards.
6.4 Alumni Relations
6.4.1 The school has an on-going process of relations with alumni to obtain data to help in determining school effectiveness and to establish long-range plans for alumni affairs.
6.5 Parental Involvement
6.5.1 The school encourages parental involvement in classrooms, activities, and parental organizations by establishing and maintaining guidelines which are in conjunction with the school’s mission and goals.
7.0 School Improvement Process
A quality Christian school establishes a continuous process of school improvement for the purpose of assessing the spiritual, educational, and organizational processes of the school by engaging in a plan which will provide for the implementation of the identified improvements.
7.1.1 All FACCS accredited schools with Early Childhood, Gold Seal recognized, Preschool Programs, Kindergarten, or academic grades 1-12 maintain a commitment to quality school improvement by the continuous evaluation of each of the specified standards within each area of the school’s spiritual, academic, and organizational processes.
7.1.2 The school has a process in place for developing the school improvement plan which includes input from a variety of individuals associated with the school.
7.1.3 The school provides an annual report, referred to as the school improvement plan (SIP), to FACCS, which addresses each element required in the SIP.
7.2 Resource Materials
7.2.1 The school utilizes various resources to gather the appropriate data to assist with the Self-Study and the School Improvement Plan. *This brief summary is to be used in coordination with the expanded FACCS Self-Study Model for purposes of institutional accreditation.
** FACCS/IACCS reserves the right to modify the Summary of FACCS/IACCS Accreditation Standards at any time without notice. A comprehensive listing of all FACCS/IACCS accreditation standards, indicators, and related procedures, may be found in the FACCS/IACCS Guide to Evaluation and Accreditation of Christian Schools 2004.