What Does It Mean to Be an ACSI Accredited School?
In 2016, after extensive self-evaluation and an intensive site visit by over 16 ACSI Accreditation team members, Red Lion Christian Academy's accreditation was renewed. As a result, Red Lion continues its joint accreditation by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) which was first received in December 2008.
ACSI is a government-recognized, worldwide Christian academic agency with the mission of strengthening Christian schools and equipping Christian educators to prepare students academically and to inspire them to be devoted followers of Jesus Christ. MSA is a regional commission that aspires to improve the quality of education by assisting both public and private member schools to achieve excellence through accreditation.
The accreditation program is designed to assist member schools in achieving a standard of excellence and to encourage them in the process of assessment and continuous school improvement. This process involves an educator peer review committee that recognizes and affirms the standards, performance, integrity, and quality of a school’s educational program.
ACSI has an accreditation protocol as well as eight standards by which the school evaluates all its programs, such as Philosophy and Foundations, Executive Leadership, Curriculum, Student Services, and Spiritual Formation. Before visiting educators arrive on campus, there is a pre-visit process called a Self-Study. In addition to using the ACSI standards to assess the different parts of a program, the school must also provide supporting evidence for the visiting team to review in advance and on campus. The number of educators on the visiting team usually varies depending on the size of the school. These individuals speak to teachers, parents, and students, as well as evaluate supporting documents in order to validate the program.
The question then remains, why do schools need to be accredited? Several reasons are to affirm that the school meets quality standards, to provide for validation of the credibility of the educational program, to provide accountability to the school community, and to promote ongoing instructional improvement through a continuous process of self-assessment. Other benefits of accreditation also include federal government recognition in order to accept international students and the ability to receive grant funding from some private organizations.
Overall, achieving the status of accreditation through ACSI and Middle States is a rigorous and worthwhile endeavor that holds a school’s academic bar high and keeps the faculty continuously looking for ways to improve. Being accredited is an honor and privilege for Red Lion Christian Academy.