Public Elementary, Middle, and High Schools

2020 Standards for Accreditation - Public Elementary, Middle, and High Schools

2020 Standards for Accreditation
Public elementary, middle, and high schools which hosted an accreditation visit between 2020 and the end of 2022 will continue to use:

2020 Standards + Vision for Learning Accreditation Process


Standards Architecture

Improved architecture
The 2020 Standards were organized to blend similar concepts and reduce the redundancy of previous versions. Five Standards and 32 Principles of Effective Practice provide schools a simpler format to guide their progress (the 2011 version includes seven Standards and 54 indicators).

New vocabulary

  • Principles of Effective Practice
    Each Standard includes Principles of Effective Practice, which define the expectations for that Standard. Schools will be asked to reflect on and report their progress in aligning with the Principles for each Standard.
  • Descriptors of Effective Practice
    Descriptors of Effective Practice serve as examples of what each Principle looks like in practice in a school. Descriptors are guidance or benchmarks to assist schools in aligning with each Principle.
  • Foundational Elements
    At a minimum, Accredited schools must align with each of the Foundational Elements. The Foundational Elements represent essential building blocks for each Standard. Schools that are not yet aligned with the Foundational Elements are expected to prioritize work to ensure alignment with those Elements.

Major Themes

Culture of Learning encourages a look at the school environment, instruction, and curriculum from a learner’s perspective.

Growth Mindset, or a schools’ capacity as a learning organization, reinforces the idea that all schools have room to grow or improve.

Vision of the Graduate emphasizes a holistic view of expectations for students, including the transferable skills, content, understandings, and disposition that students should have by the time they graduate and a method of assessing a student’s progress toward that vision. Within these themes, we’ve sought to reflect current research and significant input from practitioners and member schools. We offer many thanks to the commitment of so many dedicated volunteers and contributors for their time, energy, and direction.