The accreditation process is a supportive partnership between member institutions and the CPS Commission as they work together throughout an ongoing 10-year cycle. The process engages schools in comprehensive analysis, self-reflection, and planning in response to the Standards of Accreditation. The award of Accreditation signifies that the school has met the Standards for Accreditation at an acceptable level and is committed to maintain those Standards. Continued Accreditation is dependent upon a school demonstrating ongoing, reflective progress to improve teaching and learning and the support of teaching and learning.
The process of CPS Accreditation is multi-dimensional and continuous. The main phases of the cycle are:
- Collaborative Conference
- School Growth Plan Development and Implementation
- Decennial Accreditation Visit
- Growth Plan revisions and progress reports
The reflection, planning, and implementation phases of Accreditation are cyclical and do not end with the Decennial Accreditation Visit. Schools should be actively monitoring evidence, assessing progress, identifying changing priorities or school needs, and adjusting their school plans as necessary for continuous growth and improvement.
Through the work and consensus of its member schools, the NEASC Committee on Public Elementary, Middle, and High Schools (CPEMHS) offers a set of Standards for Accreditation which include the essential aspects of schooling for K-12 schools in New England. The Standards provide guidance to assess the school's focus on teaching and learning, evaluate the quality of their programs and activities, and identify their strengths and needs.
Though NEASC does not accredit programs serving students below the age of three, interactions with pre-schools and pre-school programs occur through the Commission's accreditation process. Pre-schools’ faculties are encouraged to participate in the school accreditation process using the Standards as a guide. In this manner, pre-school programs in and of themselves are not accredited, but the school which houses the pre-school is permitted to extend the range of its accreditation to Pre-K. For example: a K-5 school that wishes its pre-school program to be included in the accreditation process will be accredited PreK-5. Pre-school programs, up to this point, have not been treated as stand-alone units.