Accreditation Visit Cycle

Initial Evaluation

The cycle of accreditation begins with a comprehensive self-study taking place over the course of two years. Once completed, the school makes plans to welcome Visiting Team members for the peer review. Appointed by the VAIS Accreditation Committee, the Visiting Team Chair and Vice Chair, along with the Director of Accreditation, conduct a Preliminary Visit to assess a school’s readiness and to make preparations for the onsite evaluation. Based on discussions with Visiting Team leaders and the Head of the School, the VAIS staff carefully selects additional Visiting Team members who are nominated by Heads of member schools to serve VAIS in this capacity. Team members receive the school's self-study, curriculum, and other pertinent documentation in advance of the visit. During the onsite evaluation, the Visiting Team examines every facet of the school through interviews with representatives of all constituent groups, classroom visits, and observations of campus life. Drawing from this experience the Team collaborates and compiles the Visiting Team Report according to VAIS guidelines. Finally, Team members apply their accumulated knowledge to record individual votes on each VAIS Standard for Membership. The Team makes no recommendation concerning accreditation. After reading the Visiting Team Report and hearing from the Visiting Team Chair, the Accreditation Committee makes a recommendation on accreditation to the VAIS Board of Directors and determines whether additional reporting will be required by the school. All decisions concerning accreditation rest with the VAIS Board. In the year following the visit, the school provides a One Year Report of progress to VAIS. 

Interim Review

Five years following the school’s Initial or Ten Year Evaluation, an Interim Review is conducted. The school's self-study addresses each of the Essential Questions, Strong Recommendations, and/or Opportunities for Improvement identified by the Visiting Team at the time of the onsite visit. In addition, the school describes new programs and/or significant developments since the last onsite evaluation, including strategic planning, and presents its published curriculum and supporting documentation. Though a smaller Visiting Team is appointed for the visit, the Interim Review process parallels the Ten Year Evaluation in scope, including the review of documentation and curriculum and vote on Standards for Membership. The format of the Interim Visiting Team Report is abbreviated. The Visiting Team Report and vote on Standards is forwarded to the VAIS Accreditation Committee for review. The Accreditation Committee makes a recommendation on accreditation to the VAIS Board of Directors and determines additional reporting that will be required by the school. All decisions concerning accreditation rest with the VAIS Board. In the year following the visit, the school provides a One Year Report of progress to VAIS. 

Ten Year Evaluation

The cycle of accreditation begins afresh with the Ten Year Evaluation. The school's self-study may take a comprehensive form or a strategic form, as determined by the school. Once completed, the school makes plans to welcome Visiting Team members for the peer review. Appointed by the VAIS Accreditation Committee, the Visiting Team Chair and Vice Chair, along with the Director of Accreditation, conduct a Preliminary Visit to assess a school’s readiness and to make preparations for the onsite evaluation. Based on discussions with Visiting Team leaders and the Head of the School, the VAIS staff carefully selects additional Visiting Team members who are nominated by Heads of member schools to serve VAIS in this capacity. Team members receive the school's self-study, curriculum, and other pertinent documentation in advance of the visit. During the onsite evaluation, the Visiting Team examines every facet of the school through interviews with representatives of all constituent groups, classroom visits, and observations of campus life. Drawing from this experience the Team collaborates and compiles the Visiting Team Report according to VAIS guidelines. Finally, Team members apply their accumulated knowledge to record individual votes on each VAIS Standard for Membership. The Team makes no recommendation concerning accreditation. After reading the Visiting Team Report and hearing from the Visiting Team Chair, the Accreditation Committee makes a recommendation on accreditation to the VAIS Board of Directors and determines whether additional reporting will be required by the school. All decisions concerning accreditation rest with the VAIS Board. In the year following the visit, the school provides a One Year Report of progress to VAIS. 

Request for Change in Cycle

Delay of Visit


A school wishing to move its accreditation visit forward should request the postponement in writing to the Director of Accreditation. The Director will consult with the Chair of the Accreditation Committee concerning the request and notify the Head of School of the decision in writing. The balance of schedules from year to year is often a determining factor when a postponement of an accreditation visit is granted.