By Nick Yates, ISB Communications
Members of the International School of Beijing (ISB) community know how good the school is, and now ISB is on its way to having its quality verified once again by independent accreditors.
ISB is already accredited by prestigious organizations including the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Accreditation lasts for five years. ISB has officially begun the process of being reaccredited by CIS and NEASC.
The accreditation process has long been recognized in international school circles as a way of demonstrating alignment with a set of global, publicly stated standards. A school’s own claims of excellence, however well justified, will always be open to question in the absence of an objective verification of quality. Families can be reassured that the independent experts at CIS and NEASC have reviewed ISB’s credentials, toured the school, and given their seal of approval.
Accreditation is also a welcome opportunity for a school like ISB to reflect, be advised, and think about how it can further improve. ISB’s programs are carefully designed to be based on best practice in pedagogy, and the school empowers its staff to think about new approaches and adapt their teaching to give students access to the best learning.
Securing accreditation involves a very thorough process taking several years. A school seeking reaccreditation must first host a preparatory visit by the accreditors. In ISB’s case, representatives of CIS and NEASC will make a joint virtual visit in December. ISB has just filed a report and several hours of video evidence that will be read and watched by the accreditors before their visit.
Then, from early 2022, ISB will undergo a self-study for the accreditation. This will involve a consultation with the entire community to review ISB operations and gauge how the school is perceived by all stakeholders. Students, parents, staff, and the Board of Trustees will have the opportunity to tell the ISB leadership team what they think, and the data will be used for ISB’s self-study report.
Following completion of the self-study, the school is visited by a team of qualified and trained leaders and educators drawn from other schools to represent the accrediting associations. Observing classrooms, speaking to members of the community, and reviewing everything in light of the school’s Mission and Vision statements, the visiting team will give an objective assessment of the conclusions of the self-study.
ISB expects to finally achieve reaccreditation by CIS and NEASC in the summer of 2023. While faculty and families will be able to take pride in the commendation, ISB will act on the feedback given by the accreditors as the school is committed to continuous improvement.
Former ISB administrator Lorraine Wicks is leading ISB’s reaccreditation application. She said, “The stamp of approval by CIS and NEASC is a gold standard of accreditation for international schools. It means we have been peer reviewed in the most rigorous way possible. Parents, students, and staff members can look forward to having their say as ISB takes a good, hard look at what we are doing as we go through our self-study process. And our current and future accreditation by CIS and NEASC means anyone searching for an excellent international education for their children in Beijing can be confident of finding it at ISB.”