STANDARD 1: MISSION
The school commits to a mission that leads to continuous improvement for teaching and learning.
1.1 Establishes in collaboration with its stakeholders a mission for the school that guides all planning and decision-making and ensures the mission is congruent with principles of academic scholarship: permitting and encouraging freedom of inquiry, diversity of viewpoints, and academic independent, critical thinking.
1.2 Assures that goals are aligned with and advance the mission of the school.
1.3 Ensures the beliefs and mission guide the instruction and curriculum throughout the school and reflect research and best practices concerning teaching and learning.
1.4 Regularly reviews its mission and revises when appropriate.
1.5 Provides evidence that no form of bias or prejudice is allowed or practiced within the mission scope of the school in order to promote an equitable, just, and inclusive community that inspires students to respect and value diversity.
STANDARD 2: GOVERNANCE & LEADERSHIP
The school provides a governance, leadership, and organizational structure that promotes its mission.
2.1 Operates within the jurisdiction of a governance structure or civil authority and, when necessary, has a charter, license, or permit to operate within that jurisdiction.
2.2 Complies with all applicable statutes and governmental regulations.
2.3 Obtains necessary information about the legal requirements and obligations that exist in the state, federal, or other jurisdictions in which it operates.
2.4 Establishes by its governing process policies to ensure no conflict of interest between businesses, professional or parental roles, and duties to the school.
2.5 Assures that the governance structure supports and models inclusive decision-making methods.
2.6 Assures that the governance structure establishes comprehensive monitoring of overall school policies.
2.7 The school engages in formal and regular strategic thinking and planning aligned with its vision, mission, and beliefs and provides for the continuity of mission.
2.8 The school is prepared to maintain stability during transitions of leadership for both trustees and the head of school.
2.9 Assures that the governance structure clearly defines roles and responsibilities for board members and the head of school and provides procedures and evidence for: orientation; continuous growth, renewal, and training; and evaluation of both the board and the head of school.
2.10 Has an organizational structure that includes separate entities that carry out the distinct functions of governance and day-to-day management.
2.11 Establishes policies and procedures that recognize and preserve the executive, administrative, and leadership prerogatives of the managers of the school and assures that the governance structure does not interfere with the day-to-day operations of the school.
2.12 Assures that the administrative head of the school allocates and aligns the human, instructional, financial, and physical resources in support of the vision, mission, and beliefs of the school. The head of school shall have responsibility for the expenditure of all funds raised in the name of the school by booster clubs and other related organizations of students, parents, alumni, or supporters.
2.13 Assures that the governing body provides adequate risk management policies for the protection of the school and adequate documentation of insurance or equivalent resources to protect its financial stability and administrative operations from protracted proceedings and claims for damage.
2.14 Assures that debt service or lines of credit are managed in such ways as to ensure that fiscal responsibility remains under the control of the governing authority.
2.15 Assures that the school is not in, nor in prospect of moving into, financial reorganization under the protection of bankruptcy.
2.16 Budgets sufficient resources to support its educational programs and plans for improvement and to fund a maintenance reserve.
2.17 Maintains its accounts in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles GAAP. Its accounts are reviewed or audited annually by an independent licensed accountant. A full audit is conducted in the year before the visit.
STANDARD 3: TEACHING & LEARNING
The school provides a curriculum and instructional methods that facilitate achievement of all students in support of its mission.
3.1 Develops and aligns the curriculum and instructional design with the school’s mission and expectations for student performance.
3.2 Designs curriculum to encourage students to reach their potential.
3.3 Provides for articulation and alignment across all subject areas and levels of schools.
3.4 Implements curriculum based on clearly defined expectations for student learning.
3.5 Emphasizes elements of collaboration and collegiality that include honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, responsibility, citizenship, self-discipline, and respect for others.
3.6 Schedules instructional time to support student learning.
3.7 Plans a mission appropriate academic calendar with a minimum of 170 days, or more if required by state law, during which students and teachers engage in teaching/learning activities (Note: for half-day kindergarten programs, one-half day is equivalent to one full day in meeting the 170-day standard). See DOE website: U.S. Department of Education (DOE)
3.8 Assures that the curriculum relies on sound learning principles, based on relevant research and provides a mission appropriate, well-balanced variety of educational experiences for all students.
3.9 Assures that the curriculum promotes the active involvement of students in the learning process, including opportunities to explore the application of higher order thinking skills and to investigate new approaches in applying learning.
3.10 Assures ready access to instructional technology and a comprehensive library/media collection integrated to support learning goals.
3.11 Assures that the school has a policy and procedure for responding to challenged materials.
3.12 Provides a comprehensive system for assessing student progress based on clearly defined student results for learning.
3.13 Uses assessment data for making decisions for continuous improvement of teaching and learning processes.
3.14 Conducts a systematic analysis of instructional and organizational effectiveness and uses the results to improve student performance.
STANDARD 4: STAKEHOLDER COMMUNICATION & RELATIONSHIPS
The school develops and maintains effective communication and relationships to further its mission.
4.1 Fosters collaboration with community stakeholders to support student learning.
4.2 Assures that communications among and between school staff, stakeholders, and alumni are clear and effective.
4.3 Uses the knowledge and skills of parents to enhance the work of the school.
4.4 Assures that there is ongoing evidence of communication with appropriate agencies, such as public health, mental health, physicians, and other professionals.
4.5 Assures that the school’s advertising and promotional materials reflect accurate information about the school’s programs and accomplishments.
4.6 Gathers information about graduates and other former students, using the resulting data to inform the school.
STANDARD 5: RESOURCES & SUPPORT SYSTEMS
The school has the resources, services, and policies necessary to support its mission.
5.1 Provides written policies covering recruitment, employment, assignment, evaluation, and termination of service to all school personnel.
5.2 Assures that administrative, instructional and support staff are qualified and competent to perform the duties assigned to them in the school in order to meet the needs of the total school program and the students enrolled.
5.3 Assures that there is an effective orientation program for faculty and staff new to the school.
5.4 Assures that all staff members participate in a continuous program of professional development.
5.5 Implements an evaluation system that provides for the professional growth of all personnel.
5.6 Provides well-defined and written student policies encompassing recruitment, admissions, administration of financial aid, conduct, discipline, and separation.
5.7 Assures that there are well-defined, published admissions and financial aid/scholarship processes including criteria upon which decisions are made and that professional ethics are strictly observed in the process.
5.8 Accepts students for whom there is a reasonable expectation of success from the program.
5.9 Assures that guidelines for student conduct, attendance, dress, and discipline are written and communicated to all students, parents, and members of staff.
5.10 Provides counseling services that meet the needs of students.
5.11 Assures that students whose needs cannot be met in school are referred to appropriate agencies or resources for assistance.
5.12 The school maintains secure, accurate, and complete records of operations, finances, personnel, and students in accordance with state and federal regulations including both paper and electronic records. The school has a plan to ensure appropriate access and maintenance of all relevant records in the event of a school closure.
5.13 Has a written crisis management plan.
5.14 Provides documentation of ongoing health and safety procedures and inspections.
STANDARD 6: VIRTUAL LEARNING
The school’s virtual learning, whether required by circumstance or offered outside of its regular in-person programming, aligns with its mission.
Requirements for consideration for SAIS Virtual School Programs
The program must be administered at an existing SAIS member school or meet the current membership requirements including a physical school campus. Curriculum may include degree granting, enrichment, credit recovery, blended learning programs. The program must be part of the overall school program under the same charter, incorporation, tax entity and governance. The head of school shall have responsibility for all operations of the virtual program. The program must comply with all SAIS accreditation standards and indicators.
6.1 The school’s plans for developing, sustaining, and expanding virtual learning opportunities are integrated into schoolwide curricular and financial planning.
6.2 Applicable school policies, such as academic integrity and appropriate use, specifically reference virtual learning.
6.3 Faculty members teaching virtual or blended courses receive adequate training and professional development opportunities in the delivery and use of virtual or blended learning, including strategies to promote academic integrity and appropriate use.
6.4 Virtual and blended learning programs are regularly evaluated for effectiveness, and the school uses the results of these evaluations to enhance and improve its offerings.
6.5 The design and delivery of the virtual courses meet the needs of the students and support student-to-student and student-to-faculty interactions.
6.6 There is a clear, written plan and policies for student and staff safety and wellness specific to the virtual environment.
6.7 Includes applicable virtual learning documentation as evidence of compliance with all SAIS standards.