A. In a nutshell, accreditation is an outside organization’s stamp of excellence on your school’s operation. The accrediting agency has developed standards that it feels must be met, and your school meets or exceeds an acceptable number of requirements. There are many accrediting agencies out there, and to make matters more confusing larger accrediting agencies can accredit smaller agencies. We are focused on meeting the requirements of WELSSA (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod School Accreditation). Back to top
Q. What is WELSSA?
A. WELSSA is the accrediting agency established by the Wisconsin Synod as a way of ensuring excellence in our school system. WELSSA is accredited by the National Council for Private School Accreditation (www.ncpsa.org) which has adopted ten standards of excellence. Back to top
Q. What do we have to do to become accredited?
A. There are basically three steps in the accreditation process:
1. Apply for accreditation through WELSSA – We will send our application up to the synod office along with our application fee and they will assign us an accreditation counselor to guide us through the process. We will be given a prescribed amount of time to complete the process.
2. Perform self-study – This is where the bulk of the work comes in for accreditation. We must take a look at every aspect of our school’s operation according to the Ten Self-Study Standards adopted by WELSSA. Once we feel we have met at least 85% these requirements, we proceed to the next step.
3. Visiting team validation – After the self-study has been completed, we will bring in a team of outside educators to validate our self-study. They will spend a few days looking over our documentation and observing in our classrooms. At the conclusion of their visit, the team will make a recommendation for or against accreditation. If accreditation is approved, then WELSSA is notified and proof of accreditation is granted. If the self-study has not been carried out satisfactorily, then we will be given six months to fix any shortcomings and receive accreditation. Back to top
Q. How long will it take to become accredited?
A. Some of the preliminary work for accreditation has already begun. The Board of Christian Education has adopted a schedule of meetings for adopting policies that will govern the operation of the school. Once we apply for accreditation, we will have between 12 and 36 months to carry out the self-study and call in the visiting team. Back to top
Q. What are the benefits of becoming accredited?
A. There are many benefits of becoming accredited. Here are just a few.
Accountability outside our congregation – By becoming accredited, we will be accountable to WELSSA and the NCPSA to maintain our excellence and continue to strive to improve. This outward stamp of approval is monumental for recruitment and community awareness. In short, accreditation will tell everyone else what we already know – we have a wonderful school that offers an excellent Christian education.
Continual Improvement – In order to keep our accreditation, we must go through the self-study every 7 years. This means that we will need to improve constantly to make sure that we are still running a quality program.
Availability of third-source funding – Many employers will match contributions to accredited schools. This will also open the door for many different grants and programs offered for technology, software, teacher licensing, books, and many other things that are not currently available to us.
Removal of obstacles – Parents know to look for accreditation when hunting for private schools. By becoming accredited, we will remove that stumbling block for parents who might send their children elsewhere. In this way, accreditation will help us along the way to reaching out to lost souls and bringing them up in God’s Word. Back to top
Q. What can I do to help?
A. Get involved! There are many opportunities to serve on various committees that will study our different aspects of operation. Whether you can help in big or small ways, this process can’t happen without your participation. If you have a desire to help see this process through, contact Mr. Ross as soon as possible. There is a lot of work to be done, and we need your help! Back to top
Q. Where can I go for more information?
A. Here are several resources for more information about accreditation.