What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a process Eton School undertakes to create a valid, credible reputation among fellow institutions, students, and the public. The main objective is an ongoing school improvement. It is a process that involves peer review to help us develop our strengths, ensure our governance is effective, and to provide the best educational experience for our students.
Is accreditation important?
Yes. Although accreditation is a voluntary process, it provides public recognition that Eton School meets set standards of quality set by the state. More importantly, with our accreditation process through two state-approved accrediting institutions, Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS) for all grades and American Montessori Society for grades P3 through 3rd, Eton School goes through and completes a self-study as well as a visit by an accreditation team.
What is a self-study?
Self-Study is a self-examination by the entire staff that documents every aspect of our practice and process: governance, curriculum, final and personnel policies, facilities, health and safety, teacher preparation, and student outcomes. It helps us engage in a continuous process of research, reflection, and ongoing improvement to evaluate if we are:
- inclusive and collaborative;
- congruent between mission and practice; and
- reflective of where we have been with a firm vision of where we are going.
We write up our findings and submit our final of the self-study to NWAIS and AMS to review before the accreditation team visit.
What happens during an accreditation team visit?
A mixed group of teachers and administrators from other NWAIS and AMS schools come to Eton School for a multi-day visit to provide an outside perspective, ask questions, verify our alignment with standards, and asses the effectiveness of our deliverance on the promise of our mission.
What happens after the accreditation visit?
The visiting team writes a report outlining what they observed and offers commendation, recommendations, and suggestions. They present all of this to the NWAIS Accreditation Committee, which makes a recommendation to the NWAIS Board of Governors regarding accreditation status, who decides our accreditation status. The AMS team members also write a report of their findings and submit it to the AMS Office of School Accreditation, who reviews it with a member of the AMS School Accreditation Commission. They vote as to whether to recommend or defer accreditation. Members of the AMS Board of Directors review the recommendation presented and vote whether to grant or deny accreditation. Both NWAIS and AMS notify Eton School of their decision. We then provide an annual report of our process in addressing major recommendations (if any), and three years after the visit, we must submit a Response Report addressing all recommendations.
“As with most schools, the act of introspective institutional reflection is a valuable one. We found that the process of examining our strong points (and celebrating them) and our weaknesses (and confronting them) helped us to move past blind pride and start thinking about what we need to do in the future.”
~ Dr. Russell Smith, Head of Eton School
Once a school has accreditation, do they need to do it again, or is it good for the life of the school?
The accreditation process is on an eight-year cycle to ensure schools are in a continual process of development and improvement. In 2013-2014, Eton School received re-accreditation from NWAIS and AMS.
Is there anything else needed beside accreditation?
Yes. The State Board of Education annually approves private schools in Washington State. To be approved, every year, we must document that we meet the minimum requirements for health and safety, total instructional hours, certified teachers, and instruction designed to meet minimum state graduation requirements. View our Washington State State Board of Education Approval Certificate.