The Manual for School Evaluation is the tool for Self-Study preparation.
View the Manual by section below, or:
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Founded in 1885, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) is the nation’s oldest accrediting agency. NEASC accreditation is designed to give specific attention to each of the dual purposes of accreditation: quality assurance and school improvement.
The Commission established Standards of quality assurance that all schools must meet. Initial Accreditation of schools will be tabled until compliance is documented; member schools will be given one year to bring themselves into compliance with any Standard that is not met at the time of the visit.
The Phases of Accreditation
The Standards for Accreditation - 20/20 Process
The Self-Study - 20/20 Process
Guidelines for the Self Study (pdf)
School Data Sheet (doc)
Faculty Preference Questionnaire (doc)
Suggested Calendar for Self-Study (pdf)
Alphabetical Staff Overview (doc)
Budget for the Self-Study and Visit (pdf)
These checklists are to be used in the Self-Study process.
All Self-Study Committees will complete the relevant Indicator Checklist as part of their discussion on how to document compliance of the school with a given Standard. These completed checklists will be included in the supplementary materials for review by the Visiting Committee.
NOTE: Schools must complete the Indicator Checklists, but are NOT required to comply with all indicators. The Commission feels that they represent good practices and encourages schools to meet them. However, schools are welcome to submit other data and narrative information to document their compliance with the Standards for Accreditation.
Indicator Checklists (doc)
Self-Study Report Template, Part I and Part II (pdf)
In the preparatory phase of the Self-Study, all schools are to survey parents, faculty, and students on issues covered by the Standards. Secondary grades should also survey alumni/ae.
The results of these surveys should be compiled and given to the Self-Study committees as background information to inform their discussions.
The attached questionnaires are samples which can be customized to each school. Schools may use these as is, add questions to those that are suggested, or design their own form. The suggested questions relate to Standards and are sufficiently similar to allow comparisons of responses across constituencies. Online survey forms such as SurveyMonkey (www.surveymonkey.com) may be used.
The completed questionnaires, together with the compilation of results, should be included in the supplementary materials for review by the Visiting Committee.
When a school seeks accreditation with NEASC it is committing itself to engage in an ongoing process of self-assessment, goal setting, and planning. The Self-Study, culminating in Part II: Reflections, Recommendations, and Issues for Further Discussion, is designed to be an example of this approach to school improvement.
Schools may choose not to create formal “plans,” but they need to approach planning in an organized manner. All planning should be based on the mission of the school, together with any purposes, objectives, and goals specific to various components of the school’s programs.
At the time of the Two-Year Interim Evaluation Report, the Commission will ask schools to present evidence of Multi-Year Planning that incorporates all of the major recommendations from the Self-Study and Visiting Committee Reports that have not yet been accomplished.
Some areas for regular planning pursued by many schools include:
The school should maintain (and update) enrollment projections for at least the next
five years; components of this projection should include: grade level, gender, and where appropriate, separate numbers for students who will qualify for financial aid, children of employees who may receive tuition remission, and students who may be involved in special programs. All enrollment data should be aligned with projected tuition and fee levels over time in order to show projected net income from this area. Desired levels of financial aid should be included in this plan.
If enrollments are expected to change, either by increasing or declining, the school should be able to adjust staffing, facilities, curriculum and other program components; these changes, driven by enrollment fluctuations, should inform other planning.
Based on the mission, grade levels, and enrollment of the school, what should the curriculum contain? In order to have students learn what is expected of them, what courses, staffing, facilities, time, technology, and materials are required to meet the needs of all learners?
3. Academic Technology
Teachers and the academic leadership should plan the appropriate integration of technology into the various components of the program; determine the necessary skill levels of students and teachers to reach the desired utilization; and project the hardware, software, infrastructure, maintenance, and management aspects of technology. All the goals and information derived from the academic technology planning should be incorporated in overall technology planning.
Depending on the type and scope of the school’s library or media center, it is important to articulate the purposes, objectives, and goals of this resource and plan for the needs for staff, facilities, related technology, print materials and periodicals, and curriculum.
The school’s efforts to support difference and multiculturalism might be facilitated by identifying the specific needs of various students and planning how best to provide: special or augmented programs for certain students or groups; the education of students about issues of equity and justice; the professional development of faculty, including various relevant topics in the general curriculum; and awareness by all constituencies of the complexities of how differing cultural and learning backgrounds affect the school’s environment and its ability to meet its mission.
6. Institutional Technology
Given the scale of expense and the pace of change in the area of technology, a school may want to develop a more formal plan for institutional technology that provides for the appropriate services and systems to integrate technology into the curriculum and also supports the coordination of academic, administrative, and institutional functions. At the very least, the school should recognize the need for ongoing planning to address the future development or changes to all network and infrastructure components.
Given the mission and corresponding program at the school, do the facilities meet the needs of that program? Facilities planning might involve an audit of the current facilities including their history, use, age, condition, and future needs in term of expansion, renovation, or maintenance. Any additional or new facilities might be planned using this background information.
All of the planning described herein will have financial ramifications and this information must be integrated into a financial plan. Financial plans and projected cash flows should be updated periodically so as to avoid surprises when unforeseen enrollment shifts take place. The financial plan also helps determine what the short- and long-term development needs are so that planning can be accomplished in that area as well.
As the general needs of the school, especially in financial terms, are developed through careful consideration of program needs and fulfilling the mission of the school, development or fund-raising considerations come into play. Planning is essential to successfully raising funds.
Required Self-Study Documents and Materials
Self-Study Report and Documents
Your Self-Study Report, including the Review of Major Programs (uploaded in Standard 4) should be completed in the portal at least one month before the visit. Please click the MARK REPORT COMPLETE button when it is finalized in the portal. The Visiting Committee will access your report via the portal.
Regulatory Compliance Documentation
The Chair of the Visiting Committee for the evaluated school is required to attest to the existence of the following documentation which may be uploaded in the portal under “Legal/Regulatory Documentation and/or made available for the Chair’s pre-visit to the school:
- Corporate status as a tax-exempt institution, if applicable
- Non-discriminatory admissions and employment policies
- Information regarding the financial responsibilities of parents and students
- Fire Marshal’s inspection certificate or letter stating at time of the last inspection, all requirements were met
- Health inspection certificates for food services
- Statement from the Head of School that the school’s Emergency Plan is complete and has been submitted to the local police department
- Documentation attesting that those sections of the Early Childhood Program that serve children under the age of three meet health and safety regulations/guidelines as required in your state
Vermont Schools Only
Additional Regulatory Compliance Documentation for Vermont Schools:
- The school’s harassment, hazing, and bullying prevention policies and procedures
- The school’s Discipline Plan
- The school’s Rule 4500-compliant policy for the use of restraint and seclusion
- The school’s user’s agreement with the Vermont Crime Information Center and any
- related criminal records requests.
- The school’s Concussion Action Plan
- The school’s Immunization Plan
- The school’s Emergency Preparedness Plan
- (For Independent Residential Schools only) A copy of the school’s annual fire safety
inspection by the Department of Public Safety or its designee
The Vermont Statutes and State Board Rules may be found at:
- The Head of School’s welcome letter to Visiting Committee Members. This should be emailed to the Chair, Visiting Committee Members, and the CIS office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Directions to your school and the hotel (attach in Portal under Additional Uploaded Files)
- Alphabetical Staff Overview (attach in Portal under Additional Uploaded Files)
- Daily program schedule including teacher assignments to tentatively schedule classroom visits and interviews (attach in Portal under Additional Uploaded Files)
Hard Copy Materials
Hard copies of the following materials should be mailed only to the Chair of the Visiting Committee (one copy) and the Director of the Commission (two copies):
- The current operating budget and most recent year-to-date report
- The operating statement for the most recently completed year: compare budgeted figures and actual experience
- A review or opinion level audit or approved alternative, e.g., Diocesan Report on School Finances
- A Salary table for full-time teaching faculty, high and low
- List of benefits
- Optional: Head of School’s confidential letter with any financial or sensitive information should only be sent to the Chair and the CIS office at email@example.com.
The following materials may be uploaded in the portal within the relevant Standard and/or copies may be available in the Visiting Committee’s workroom where appropriate:
- Indicator Checklists for all Standards
- Parent, faculty, student, and alumni/ae questionnaires, as applicable, together with compilation and summary of findings
- Forms used in the evaluation of professional staff
- A description of the curriculum in a form appropriate to the school
- Written bylaws describing the school’s governance structure
- Admissions and recruiting materials, including brochures and catalogs
- Information regarding financial responsibilities which is given to parents prior to enrollment, including any enrollment contracts
- All current planning documents (see Multi-Year Planning)
- Student, faculty, and parent handbooks
- Calendar for the school year
- Sample copies of publications
- Sample copies of forms used to collect or record information about students
- Sample copies of forms used to collect data from former students
- Profile of student body as shown by aptitude and/or achievement testing (Provide samples of tests)
Visiting Committee Process
Selection of Chair and Pre-Visit Outline: The Commission staff will consult with the Head of School in identifying the Chair of the Visiting Committee and determining the size of the Committee and any special areas of focus. Once the Chair of the Visiting Committee has been confirmed, the Head of School should invite the Chair to the school for a meeting to go over arrangements and the schedule for the full visit. The Chair will identify meetings which should be scheduled during the full visit and those people who should be available.
Additionally, the Chair will take this opportunity to check in with the Self-Study Coordinators to get a sense of the school’s progress on the Self-Study. At this time, inquiry about any stumbling blocks is appropriate. It is particularly important that the Chair confirm at the time of the pre-visit that major regulatory documents are in place, and that there will be a certified financial audit available during the full visit. Taking initiative now will help the process to unfold successfully.
Appointment of the Visiting Committee: The selection of the Visiting Committee is the responsibility of the Commission staff.
Scheduling the Visit: Visiting Committees are scheduled to arrive on a Sunday afternoon and depart on the following Wednesday afternoon. The school, in consultation with the Commission staff, should select the dates for the visit well ahead of time to facilitate planning. Fall visits are scheduled from the last week in September to the first week in November, and spring visits from the last week in March through the end of April.
Accommodations: The school is responsible for arranging housing for all Committee Members for three nights. Accommodations should be in a local hotel or motel and provide a private room and bath for each member. In addition, the school should arrange for a meeting room for the Committee at the hotel.
Meals: The school is responsible for meals. Details of the schedule should be worked out with the Visiting Committee Chair, but, ordinarily, the Committee will have lunches provided in their workroom at the school. If breakfast is not available at the hotel, it may also be provided at school. Most committees prefer to have working dinners on Monday and Tuesday, either at the hotel or a local restaurant. On Sunday the school customarily holds a reception for faculty and other members of the school community and hosts a dinner for the Committee and a few select members of the school community. The Committee has a great deal of work to accomplish in a short time and, therefore, social events and entertainment should be kept to a minimum and scheduled only in consultation with the Chair. The school is expected to make the Committee comfortable but should avoid extravagant expense.
Arrangements at the School: The Visiting Committee must have a private meeting room at the school which is for their use only during the visit. Refreshments should be provided during the days of the visit. The Visiting Committee Chair will discuss needed arrangements for access to computers.
What to Expect from the Visiting Committee: The Committee will access and review the Self-Study from the portal prior to their arrival. Their charge is to understand the school on its own terms, assess the accuracy of the Self-Study Report, determine compliance with the Standards for Accreditation, review Part II: Reflection, Recommendations, and Issues for Further Discussion, write a report that includes commendations and recommendations, and make a recommendation to the Commission regarding accreditation.
The school should expect Visiting Committee Members to be at the school all day on Monday and Tuesday and some members may be at the school on Wednesday morning. While the presence of the visitors will obviously not go unnoticed, the school is asked to maintain as normal a routine as possible. Committee Members will interview faculty, administration, parents, students, and Board Members. They will try to talk individually with all faculty and staff. A Committee Member responsible for reviewing a particular section of the Self-Study Report may seek out those who participated in drafting that section.
Members of the Committee will visit classes in order to gain a flavor of the academic program. Teachers should not schedule tests, field trips, or films during these three days. The visitors will be observing interactions among students and between students and faculty. They will note teaching methods and instructional materials. Faculty should expect visitors to come for parts of classes. The Visiting Committee is looking at the entire program; they will not evaluate individual faculty, staff, or administrators and will not comment on the performance of any individual, or identify them by name in the Visiting Committee Report.
The Committee departs on Wednesday after they have completed a draft of their report. The Committee is instructed not to share specifics of their report, however, since it has not been finalized. The Chair and another member of the Committee will meet with the Head of School and one or two people on Wednesday afternoon to review major areas of comment in the report. Committee Chairs are encouraged not to hold a meeting with the entire faculty, but rather to finalize the Committee’s report and submit it to the school at the earliest possible time so that everyone may read the whole and, therefore, view any recommendations in context. Factual errors are to be corrected before the final report is submitted to the Commission. Upon receipt of the final report, the Head of School is invited to write a reaction to the Visiting Committee Report.
The Commission will review the school’s Self-Study, the Visiting Committee Report, the Visiting Committee’s recommendation concerning accreditation and votes on Standards for Accreditation, and the school’s reaction letter (if applicable) at its next meeting after all these items are received. Commission meetings are usually held in February, June, and November.
If a school recommended for initial membership does not meet all the Standards, action on their accreditation will be tabled until compliance has been documented. If a school approved for continued membership does not meet all the Standards, the school will be given one year to bring itself into compliance. At a given date, the school will be expected to report on what action has been taken in response to the school’s own recommendations and those of the Visiting Committee and the Commission. The Commission may ask the staff to follow-up with the school on particular concerns or may schedule a formal Focused Visit to inquire into progress the school has made.
In addition to any Special Progress Reports or visits, all schools are required to file an Interim Evaluation Report after two and five years, which documents accomplishments in the follow-up process.