The Northwest Association of Independent Schools is a voluntary membership organization that promotes high educational quality for its schools through the establishment and advancement of comprehensive accreditation standards. In administering the accreditation process for independent elementary and secondary schools in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, the Association assists schools with the process of school improvement. Key to this process is the recognition that each school has a unique mission and philosophy. The Association does not try to impose a specific set of criteria that each school must meet; rather, the Association’s standards are based upon those qualities that have been deemed necessary in a quality institution.

Accreditation of an institution by NWAIS indicates that it meets or exceeds the Major Standards and Good Practices. The school is periodically assessed through a process that requires full disclosure and a peer group review process seeking to confirm the congruence between the school’s stated mission and its actual program and services. An accredited school is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.

Who Oversees the Accreditation Process?

The NWAIS Board of Governors has primary oversight responsibility for the accreditation process. The Board has charged the Accreditation Committee with the review of the accreditation reports and annual reports while the Standards and Practices subcommittee continually reviews the appropriateness of the accreditation standards and assesses the effectiveness of the Association’s various accreditation policies and procedures.

Additionally, NWAIS is a member in good standing of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). The NAIS Commission on Accreditation periodically reviews NWAIS accreditation standards and practices to ensure compliance and effectiveness. NWAIS Accreditation is recognized by the State of Washington, and by the Northwest Accreditation Commission (formerly Northwest Association of Accredited Schools).

Accreditation Communications Toolkit