September 23rd, 2014
FAQ - Accreditation
accreditation FAQ

 

Public and Private School Accreditation and Approval Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: July 2012

  1. What is the role of the State Board of Education (SBE) in accreditation and approval?
  2. What is accreditation?
  3. Does Washington require schools to be accredited?
  4. What is approval?
  5. How does accreditation differ from approval?
  6. What does approval mean for public schools?
  7. What does approval mean for private schools?
  8. Who accredits Washington schools?
  9. What other accrediting bodies has the State Board of Education recognized for private schools?

1.  What is the role of the State Board of Education (SBE) in accreditation and approval?

SBE annually:

Reviews every public school district's kindergarten through twelfth grade program to determine compliance with basic education program approval requirements (WAC 180-16-195).

Approves private schools to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements to ensure health and safety and a sufficient basic education to meet graduation requirements (RCW 28A.195.010).

SBE establishes accreditation procedures and recognizes accrediting bodies for approved private schools.

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2.  What is accreditation?

Accreditation is a voluntary process for granting public recognition to institutions that meet external standards of quality.

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3.  Does Washington require schools to be accredited?

Schools can choose whether to seek accreditation. State law does not require public or private schools in Washington to be accredited.

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4.  What is approval?

Approval is a mandatory quality assurance process to confirm that a school/district is meeting the basic education requirements of the state. State law requires all schools in Washington to be approved in order to provide education. Schools must be approved before they can seek accreditation.

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5.  How does accreditation differ from approval?

Approval is mandatory; accreditation is voluntary.

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6.  What does approval mean for public schools?

Public school districts must document annually that they meet the minimum requirements for total instructional hour offerings, 180-day school year, and the state-mandated graduation requirements. This documentation is called Basic Education Act compliance.

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7.  What does approval mean for private schools?

Private schools must document annually that they meet minimum requirements for health and safety, total instructional hours, certified teachers, 180-day school year, curriculum that includes instruction in designated basic skills in sufficient units to meet State Board of Education graduation requirements, and administrative policies. Private school approval procedures are detailed on OSPI's website.

Students who attend Washington private schools that are not approved are considered truant, unless the student is also engaged in one of the following activities:

  • Receiving home-based instruction according to RCW 28A.150.200 and 28A.225.010
  • Attending an approved private school
  • Attending a public school.

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8.  Who accredits Washington schools?

Washington schools typically seek accreditation through the AdvancED, Educational Service Districts (ESDs), or other recognized accrediting bodies.

AdvancED. AdvancED is dedicated to advancing excellence in education worldwide. The Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) joined the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) as an accreditation division of AdvancED. NWAC is one of the six regional accrediting bodies in the United States and serves schools, systems and education providers in seven states including Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD). The state's nine ESDs, through their association, have designed a collaborative accreditation process that combines both internal and external appraisal of the school's school improvement planning activities and School Improvement Plan (SIP).

The process requires schools to conduct an in-depth self-evaluation of their SIP and a companion evaluation of the school improvement planning process used to develop the plan. An ESD accreditation process team then conducts a review and schedules a one-day visit to verify understandings of the SIP and the planning process.

For more information regarding accreditation please contact the ESD contacts listed below:

ESD Contact ESD Phone # Email Address
Helene Paroff 101 509-789-3538 hparoff@esd101.net
Ian Grabenhorst 105 509-454-3138 ian.granbenhorst@esd105.org
Dr. Yuki Monteith 112 360-750-7505 yuki.monteith@esd112.org
Dana Anderson 113 360-464-6721 danderson@esd113.k12.wa.us
Stephanie Parker 114 360-405-5824 sparker@oesd.wednet.edu
Julie Rolling 121 425-917-7806 jrolling@psesd.org
JoAnn Henderson 123 509-544-5751 jhenderson@esd123.org
Cindy Duncan 171 509-665-2649 cindyd@ncesd.org
Kathy Shoop 189 360-299-4036 kshoop@nwesd.org

 

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9.  What other accrediting bodies has the State Board of Education recognized for private schools?

SBE has recognized the accrediting bodies in the following table.

SBE Recognized Accrediting Bodies for Private Schools
ACSI Association of Christian Schools International Accredits Nationally
AMS American Montessori Society Accredits Nationally
AWSNA Association of Waldorf Schools of North America Accredits Nationally
CSI Christian Schools International Accredits Nationally
NLSA National Lutheran School Accreditation Accredits Nationally
PNAIS Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools Accredits Regionally
SDA Seventh Day Adventist Accredits Nationally and Regionally
WCEA Western Catholic Education Association Accredits Regionally

 

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