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NISAC Accreditation Self-Study Guidelines


13216 Leach St., Sylmar, CA 91342         (818) 523-6791

Executive Director – Terry Neven


Each candidate school applying for accreditation must complete a self-study to submit with their accreditation application. The accreditation process has three phases: the self-study report, the self-study validation visit, and the follow-up. Each school is evaluated on the basis of its own statement of objectives, the degree to which it is accomplishing its purposes and functions, and NISAC's Standards for Accreditation.



A self-study is the initial step of the accreditation process. Its primary intent is to improve the quality of the instructional program of the school. The end result of the self-study process is receiving NISAC accreditation. This process should involve the administration, staff, parents, students and community, which make up the infrastructure of the school. Depending on the size of the school, the self-study usually is accomplished over a period of several months. NISAC provides self-study coordinator guidance and support to assist in conducting this step. NISAC communicates with the self-study coordinator, providing explanations, answering questions and assisting in understanding the process and resolving problems during the process. The self-study teams will assess their school, define its strengths, identify areas needing improvement based on the NISAC's Standards of Accreditation, and establish an action plan for the needed improvements.



The self-study committee consists of a self-study coordinator, a steering committee, and possible sub-committees. The self-study coordinator will be the key person overseeing the process and moving the committee towards completing the self-study in a timely manner. The steering committee will consist of the self-study coordinator, the principal/administrator (in the event of a small school the coordinator might be the principal/administrator), the chairs of any sub-committee(s) and other selected members. The number and make-up of the sub-committees will vary depending on the size and programs of each school.




The basic responsibilities of the self-study coordinator is to:

1.         participate in a self-study coordinator training,

2.         establish a detailed timeline for the self-study and its committee(s),

3.         determine needed support resources (finances, clerical help, etc),

4.         provide an orientation for the school staff and other interested parties,

5.         appoint chairs for any sub-committee(s),

6.         train the chairs concerning their role,

7.         help form the sub-committees,

8.         direct and supervise the completion of the school's self-study report,

9.         and assist in problem solving during the process.




The self-study committee will review all the focus areas, or delegate specific areas to any sub committee(s), of the NISAC Standards for Accreditation. The basic steps in this process are:

1.         understand the purpose of the self-study is for school improvement,

2.         analyze current information for each focus area,

3.         evaluate findings and their effectiveness in accomplishing the school's purpose,

4.         determine the school's strengths and weaknesses in each area,

5.         develop plans for improving the school's effectiveness,

6.         prepare a report for each focus areas.

            The committee's process is not limited to the self-study and could include amending the content of focus areas prior to
            developing a profile on its findings



Following are the focus areas to be evaluated during the self-study

(see NISAC’s Standards for Accreditation for details of each area):

Philosophy, Objectives and Organization


Instructional Program

Teacher/ Staff


Parent/ Community



1.         Select, gather and analyze data for creating a profile concerning your school.

2.         Study and understand your school's learning expectations.

3.         Determine what evidence is needed to compare your school to its learning expectations.

4.         Determine needed areas for growth as a result of your comparison.

5.         Create an action plan with necessary steps and a follow-up process for moving towards school improvement.

6.         Prepare the committee's conclusions for the self-study report.


SELF-STUDY REPORT (see sample report outline)

The self-study report must be a published narrative with the following sections:

a.         a brief appraisal of the school's current status,

b.         the school's strengths,

c.         areas of needed improvement, and

d.         an action plan for improvement.



A visiting committee comprised of representative(s) from NISAC staff and member schools will review a school's self-study report prior to the visit. The visiting committee will meet with the school’s self-study committee, observe its operation, validate the evidence gathered, and confer with individuals from the school. The visiting committee will draft a report of commendations and recommendations for the school, discuss the report with the self-study committee and entire school staff, and submit the report to NISAC’s Council.



Depending on the granting of accreditation or the terms of accreditation granted, follow-up could consist of an annual progress report or a self-study. Each school is expected to pursue the implementation of the NISAC recommendations during their term of accreditation.





                        Tasks                                                                   Target Date



1.        Identify and recruit committee members.       ____________


2.       Committee meets with Coordinator:

          Prepare to start self-study                                     ____________


3.       Discovery Process:

          Create Instruments                                                  ____________


          Gather data                                                                ____________


          Evaluate data                                                            ____________


4.       Committee drafts report                                     ____________


5.       Final draft of school report                                 ____________


6.       Application filled out and mailed,

          with self-study report and fee.                          ____________



Self-Study Report

(Sample Outline)



1.   Cover Page –

     A. Name of school, address, phone, email, website, and administrator

     B. Date

     C. Committee members

          1. Name and

          2. Position on self-study committee


2.  Table of Contents – list sections and their respective page numbers


3.  Sections

     A. Define your self-study process

     B. List Areas of Strength

     C. List Areas for Growth

     D. Delineate Action Plan

          1. Define areas needing growth and plan for development

          2. Set Time Frame

          3. Establish responsible personnel

4. Signature and date sheet of committee personnel finalizing report

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