A Glorified First Date — The Accreditation Visit | Nat Coffman | 4 Min Read

This article is the third in a series of educator commentaries on the independent school accreditation process. The first article was Sanje Ratnavale’s “Will Accreditation Survive COVID-19 and Racism?” The second was Peter Mott’s “Accredit Learning or SchoolAdvisor.com Will.”

In more than 30 years in independent schools, I have only been asked once by a prospective parent about our accreditation and it was a simple yes or no question resulting in no follow-up for an affirmative answer. With more than 20 accrediting groups and many financially successful unaccredited schools, what does being accredited really say about a school?

Accreditation has long been considered a necessary and important part of operating an independent school. The key components include the self-study, the visit, the visiting team report, the accreditation committee’s review, and the required follow-up. All of the parts are based on ensuring a minimum subjective quality standard is met, that the school’s self-study is accurate, and in best-case scenarios — that the whole school community is aligned with and fully living their stated mission with an eye towards growth and improvement.

Like anything involving a one size fits all approach and a significant human element, the…

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Nat Coffman

Nathaniel W. Coffman, Ed.D., Head of School & President, The Prairie School (WI), “Our students thrive in college and as adults because they are highly skilled, self-motivated learners who know how to succeed both individually and as a part of diverse teams. They know how to take action, build relationships, collaborate and communicate.”