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Independent Schools: The Importance of Accreditation

Photo credit: Dana Hall School

An independent school is just that. Because it is privately funded, it isn’t beholden to one-size-fits-all teaching methodologies or learning benchmarks. While many parents are relieved to find a learning environment that is responsive to their child’s unique needs and interests, it’s also important to ensure that their chosen school rigorously adheres to the high standards it sets for itself. An independent accrediting organization provides that quality assurance by making sure a school is living up to its ideals, meeting established standards and best practices, and is held accountable through periodic evaluation and setting goals for improvement.

The AISNE Advantage

The Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE) is a regional accrediting body that accepts as members a wide variety of schools, ranging from boarding and day schools, single-sex and co-ed schools, schools that are religiously affiliated and those that are not, schools with alternative pedagogies such as Montessori or Waldorf, and those with more traditional educational practices. Additionally, AISNE is a member of the International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA), which provides quality assurance and accountability for state, regional, and international private school accreditors and promotes best practices for independent school operations.

AISNE’s evaluation process respects a school’s independence while also holding them accountable to their own stated goals. “We ask all schools to explain their curriculum, methods of delivery, methods of assessing student progress, etc. through the self-study process,” says Sara Wilson, director of accreditation at AISNE. “But we respect the individuality of our schools to deliver the curriculum that best meets their unique mission—and we ask them to be reflective about how they are doing in this regard and how they are seeking to continually improve the education they deliver to their students.”

It’s no accident the AISNE member schools discussed in this guide have such a strong focus on diversity and inclusion; it’s one of the association’s most important priorities, as demonstrated by its rigorous and innovative professional development offerings on these topics.

To find a school for your child with the AISNE accreditation, visit our Find It database