Accreditation assures parents and the community that a school emphasizes excellence in student achievement, provides a safe and enriching learning environment, and maintains an efficient and effective operation. An accredited school adheres to high quality standards in all areas based on the latest research and successful professional practices.
The accreditation process is rigorous and focuses school personnel on continual school improvement, on conscientiously moving the school toward its vision rather than simply “responding” to the events that all schools encounter. It encourages and supports long-range planning. Parents should keep in mind that some colleges and universities give preference to applicants who have graduated from an accredited school. Schools also consider the quality of accrediting agencies.
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) is a nonprofit membership association that provides services to more than 1,800 schools and associations of schools in the United States and abroad, including more than 1,500 independent private K-12 schools in the U.S.
In 1999 Fuqua School became fully accredited by Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS). Since 1973, VAIS has served as the Commonwealth’s first resource for independent pre-collegiate education, promoting educational, ethical, and professional excellence in its member schools. VAIS accreditation is recognized by the Virginia Board of Education through the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE). National recognition is provided through the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).
Accreditation must be renewed on a periodic basis to ensure a school’s adherence to its stated mission and to the accreditation standards of the accrediting agency. During the accreditation process, faculty and staff serve on committees to complete a comprehensive self-study which involves a review and assessment of all areas of the school. These areas include philosophy and mission, the community of the school, professional personnel, all academic programs, athletics, guidance, extracurricular activities, honor and discipline, special programs, school governance, financial resources, facilities and equipment, service management, health care, food service, and transportation.
This formal process mirrors Fuqua’s ongoing process for improvement. A visiting team comprised of peer evaluators from other independent schools will spend four days on the campus in late April during which they review the school’s self-study report, supporting documentation, and published curriculum. Interviews with representatives of all committees, classroom visits, and observations of campus life provide the team with background information needed to prepare the visiting team report of commendations and recommendations. The visiting team’s report and vote on the standards will be presented to the VAIS Accreditation Committee which makes a recommendation regarding continued accreditation to the VAIS Board of Directors. The VAIS Board makes the final decision regarding accreditation.
Accreditation is about making the goal of excellence a habit, about being the best a school can be for the students, families and communities it serves.
"Accreditation Makes a Difference"