October 19, 2018
Dear Columbus Academy Families,
Beginning next Sunday, Columbus Academy will be hosting the ISACS Visiting Team for the school's accreditation. This is an exciting and important time for the school, and if you are on campus during the visit from October 28-31, I want you to know what is happening.
Similar to colleges and universities, independent schools are bound by rigorous self-examination, self-governance and self-sustainability and comply by a simple set of standards developed by a governing body -- in our case the Independent Schools Association of the Central States -- to ensure these qualities of our practice.
ISACS has long been a leader in facilitating independent school accreditations. Their model, in use since the 1970s, has been adopted across the country. Every 7-10 years, Columbus Academy is accredited. The process starts with a community constituent survey of middle and upper school students, parents, alumni, trustees, faculty and staff, which we completed in 2016. Next is a year of self-study, which was accomplished last school year. The final step is a visit by members of peer schools to see how our self-study actually lives in our day-to-day work.
Much broader than simple accreditation, this process encourages the school to be continuously self-reflective and asks our faculty and staff to measure the mission, values and strategic plans of the school against the work in their classes, departments, divisions and in the school as a whole.
Accreditation visits are a shared responsibility between the 235 member schools in 13 states that comprise ISACS. Members of our faculty and staff serve on these teams each year, and I am asked to chair a visit almost every year. Visiting team members regularly report that this work is one of the best professional development opportunities they have experienced.
The 15-person team visiting us later this month consists of heads of school, assistant heads, division heads, department chairs and teachers who will be attending classes and meeting with multiple groups while they are on campus.
We hope that they will see what a welcoming and warm community we have at Columbus Academy.