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NEASC Policies and Bylaws

Please click on individual policies listed below to view the details.
 

Appeal of Adverse Action

View a PDF of the full document, "Policy and Procedures for the Appeal of Adverse Accreditation Action by Commissions of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges":

PDF icon NEASC Appeals Policy.pdf

Bylaws of the Association

View the NEASC Bylaws: PDF icon NEASC Bylaws 2022.pdf

Approved: Board of Trustees, February 4, 2022

Child Protection Requirements for Schools

While NEASC recognizes and celebrates the unique nature of each member school through a variety of Standards and approaches to accreditation, there are some areas that have standardized importance across all schools — one of which is the safety and well-being of children.

NEASC believes that: everybody has a responsibility to support the protection of children; all schools have a duty of care to children enrolled in the school and those who are affected by the operations of the school; and all actions on child protection are taken in the best interests of the child, which are paramount.

As such, we support an ethos of protection for all our schools and partners and commit to this work through the upholding of accreditation requirements related to best practices in child protection, and by providing resources for schools to strengthen their work in this area. NEASC Accredited schools are required to demonstrate that their current policies, procedures, and personnel protect the health and safety of students and other community members. Schools are expected to meet the following requirements to achieve and maintain NEASC Accreditation:

  1. Comprehensive due diligence in screening and hiring including background and reference checks.
  2. Documented policies and procedures that ensure the safety and welfare of all students.
  3. Appropriate and clearly outlined response if children are harmed, at risk of harm, or if allegations of harm to children are made.
  4. Clearly defined leadership responsibilities for child safety and reporting.
  5. Child protection training for all adults who work with students.
  6. Child protection, including online safety, is included in the formal learning program for students.
  7. Clear codes of conduct govern appropriate and acceptable behaviors for adult interactions with children and children’s interaction with other children.
  8. Compliance with the legal, ethical, and cultural expectations and requirements regarding child abuse within the jurisdiction in which the school operates.

Some school types may have additional child protection standards or indicators from NEASC that offer further guidance and requirements in areas unique to their school type or program, such as boarding programs, or schools located outside the United States which do not fall under U.S. state requirements.

NEASC is a proud participant in the International Task Force for Child Protection (ITFCP) new standards for child protection. NEASC has also convened conversations around this topic with groups of public and private schools in the New England region, and takes into account state requirements in the New England region (ME, MA, VT, NH, CT, RI) as well as the National Association of Independent Schools report on this topic. The above NEASC requirements were developed taking into account these reports and resources. Additional resources related to institutional child protection programs may be found at the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) Education Portal.

Complaints against NEASC affiliated institutions

Your feedback, including complaints about an affiliated public school/center, is important to us. 

View a PDF of the full policy document, "Complaints Against NEASC Affiliated Institutions":

PDF icon NEASC Complaint Policy.pdf

Privacy Statement

Release of Information by NEASC

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., in recognition of its responsibility to affiliated institutions, governmental agencies, and the general public to make readily available accurate, fair and pertinent information about the accreditation status of its members and candidate institutions, maintains online directories of member and candidate schools. The specific information provided relates to school data and Commission actions.

The following information is periodically made available by NEASC:

  1. actions taken by the Association granting candidacy for accreditation or initial accreditation;
  2. adverse actions (i.e., denial of candidacy for accreditation, termination of candidacy for accreditation, denial of accreditation, placement on probation or termination of accreditation) taken by the Association after the right of appeal has been exhausted. In these cases, the effective date of and the reasons for the action are also released. In addition, for institutions placed on probation, the relevant Commission’s plans to monitor the institution are stated.

In addition, a Commission may elect to publish and disseminate information regarding the last and/or upcoming date(s) of review of an Accredited or Candidate institution.

Release of Information by Members
Institutions are encouraged to make information about their accreditation status publicly available, including the findings of evaluation reports and any obligations or requirements established by Commission action. While NEASC does not release copies of schools self-assessments, other institutional reports, evaluation reports, or notification letters, it believes it to be good practice for institutions to make these materials available after notification of action on their status. Because of the potential to be misleading, institutions are asked not to publish or otherwise disseminate only selected excerpts from these materials. View some ideas to promote your NEASC Accreditation.

Volunteer Policy

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges is a voluntary association which depends on its membership to identify volunteers to conduct the process of peer review. Accordingly, it is a requirement that member institutions identify a specific number of highly qualified volunteers annually. The specific number of volunteers to be identified is determined by each institution’s commission and may vary from commission to commission due to the varying sizes of visiting teams.

Member institutions will be reminded periodically that providing and supporting volunteers is a condition of membership.

Approved: Board of Trustees, December 1, 2004

Website Terms and Conditions

Commission-specific policies

International Education

Commission Structure

MEETING FREQUENCY

NEASC-CIE shall hold meetings at least three times a year; such meetings are open to NEASC members, Association officers and staff, and invited guests. 

QUORUM

The quorum shall consist of no less than half of the Commission members. A simple majority of Commissioners in attendance shall be necessary for NEASC-CIE to act on business at its meetings.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST 

During NEASC-CIE meetings no member shall vote on, or participate in discussion of, matters affecting any school in which the member has a professional affiliation.  NEASC-CIE members must disclose any other potential conflict of interest which may affect or negate their participation in discussion or decision-making.

DUTIES OF THE NEASC-CIE CHAIR

The NEASC-CIE Chair shall serve for one year beginning at the conclusion of the Association’s annual meeting.  The Chair's duties are to:

  • prepare with the NEASC-CIE staff the agenda for Commission meetings

  • preside over NEASC-CIE meetings

  • present the Chair's report at NEASC-CIE meetings

  • represent NEASC-CIE, together with the Director of the Commission, at meetings of the Board of Trustees of the Association.

The NEASC-CIE Chair is selected annually by the Commissioners, subject to NEASC Board confirmation. There is no limit to the number of terms a NEASC-CIE Chair may serve.

APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONERS

No fewer than 12 and no more than 16 members shall serve on the Commission. Commission members shall represent, through past or current expertise and experience, the American and international schools accredited by NEASC. There shall also be at least two members representing the public interest.

Commission members may be proposed by the NEASC-CIE Chair, the Director of the Commission, the NEASC President, or by other Commission members. The appointment of Commission members requires the joint consent of the NEASC-CIE Chair, the Director of the Commission, and the NEASC President.

Commission members are appointed for a term of three years. They may serve no more than two consecutive terms, but may be re-appointed after the expiration of at least one year.

COMMISSION RESPONSIBILITIES

The Commission, in consultation with the Director:

  • hears and discusses reports provided by the Director and/or other NEASC-CIE staff members

  • reviews reports submitted on behalf of NEASC-CIE by visitors and visiting teams

  • makes decisions with respect to a school’s accredited status (see also above, 1.1)

  • develops, reviews and revises NEASC-CIE policies

  • participates in discussions about NEASC-CIE strategic direction

  • participates in training and development workshops

 

Commission Principles and Practices

SCOPE OF COMMISSION RESPONSIBILITIES

NEASC-CIE, on behalf of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, shall have overall responsibility for matters which relate to accreditation of institutions as defined by the NEASC-CIE Mission. The Commission’s scope of responsibility extends to:

  • award of Initial Accreditation

  • denial of Initial Accreditation

  • award of Candidacy for Accreditation

  • denial or termination of Candidacy for Accreditation

  • placement of school on Probation

  • termination of Accreditation

ETHICAL PRACTICES

Schools accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges are expected to operate in the public interest and in accordance with ethical practices with respect to the rights, responsibilities, health, and safety of faculty, students, administrators, board members and all others associated with the school. Ethical practices are defined by the NEASC-CIE Standards of Accreditation.

CANDIDACY FOR ACCREDITATION/MEMBERSHIP

Schools whose application has been approved by NEASC-CIE and which have been authorized to initiate an institutional Self-Reflection/Self-Study in preparation for hosting a team of peer reviewers are considered “Candidate Schools for Accreditation.” They may display the NEASC logo with the notation “Candidate.” Candidate status entitles schools to provisional membership in NEASC. Candidate status lapses if a school fails to submit a Self-Reflection/Self-Study within two and a half years of having attained candidate status.

Schools which, upon hosting a team of peer reviewers, are granted initial (or continued) accreditation are considered full members of NEASC for the duration of their accredited status. A school which holds accreditation from another accrediting body recognized by NEASC-CIE may apply for provisional membership in NEASC, but may not become a full member until NEASC-CIE representatives have confirmed, by means of an onsite visit, the good standing of the school at the next appropriate stage of the accreditation cycle (see also 1.6. below).

Provisional membership means that an institution

  • is assessed regular annual dues

  • may attend NEASC events

  • benefits from NEASC services at membership rates

  • may display the NEASC logo with the notation “Provisional Member of NEASC”

  • has no voting rights at Annual Meetings

If a school chooses to withdraw from NEASC accreditation or if its accreditation is terminated, membership in NEASC automatically ceases.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

Schools applying for NEASC-CIE candidacy and subsequent membership status must:

  • commit to a process of self-evaluation, peer review, and ongoing systematic improvement, utilizing NEASC-CIE Accreditation Standards

  • use English as a primary language of instruction and communication throughout the school

  • demonstrate their commitment to internationalism

  • provide a curriculum which in content, design, implementation, and assessment reflects best practices in international education

  • prepare students to be able to transfer to similar schools worldwide or, upon graduation, to enter colleges, universities, or other institutions of higher learning where English is a primary language of instruction

  • have guiding documents (e.g. faculty handbook, student handbook, written curriculum, employment contracts, staff evaluation procedures, governing board policies, and job descriptions)

  • demonstrate financial stability, transparency, and good business practice, and submit an independent audit report and current budget

  • have at least two years of successful operating history

  • be willing to release faculty members and other personnel to serve on visiting teams for accreditation visits to other similar schools

  • be prepared to pay the dues/fees in accordance with the schedule established by NEASC

DATE AND DURATION OF ACCREDITATION

A school’s initial accreditation shall become effective on the day the Commission votes to approve the award of accreditation. Accreditation shall be awarded to a school for a finite period of time and shall continue only until NEASC-CIE consideration of the school’s next report.

SCHOOLS ACCREDITED BY OTHER REGIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

Schools accredited by another regional or international accrediting association recognized by NEASC-CIE and wishing to seek accreditation with NEASC must:

  • obtain written confirmation from their current accrediting organization that the school is in good standing and is not on probation or similar status, or provide contrary justification for the adverse action

  • provide NEASC-CIE with the most recent external assessment report

  • agree to host a visitor from NEASC-CIE who will make a recommendation to the Commission regarding the school’s request.

If accreditation is recommended and granted, the school remains in NEASC Accredited status for the duration of the previous association’s accrediting cycle, and subsequently enters the regular NEASC-CIE Accreditation Cycle.

PUBLIC DISCLOSURE

NEASC-CIE shall publish the following information on its website and in other publications of the Association:

  • name and mailing address of accredited and candidate schools

  • date of initial accreditation or attainment of candidate status

  • grades in school

  • head of school

Schools whose accredited or candidate status has been terminated must immediately remove any reference to NEASC membership from their website and publications and may not use the NEASC logo in any printed or digital materials.

 

Reports - Visits, Special, and Substantive Change

DISTRIBUTION, USE, AND SCOPE OF EVALUATION REPORTS

NEASC-CIE shall review the visitors’ or visiting team’s draft report, making revisions it deems prudent in consultation with the team chair or individual visitor. Visitors and teams must not share draft versions of the report which they prepare for NEASC-CIE consideration with the school.

NEASC-CIE considers all school evaluation reports prepared by visiting teams or its representatives documents which are made available to the head of school and the chairperson of the governing board. Distribution of the report within the school community is the responsibility of the head of school.

The prime concern of a visiting team is to assess the quality of the school’s educational program in terms of student needs, the school's philosophy and goals and NEASC-CIE Standards for Accreditation.  Neither the evaluation report nor any of its subsections are to be interpreted as an evaluation of any individual’s performance, but rather as a professional appraisal of the school as it appeared to the visitors.

The evaluation report shall remain the property of NEASC.

REQUIRED REPORTS; SPECIAL VISITS (refer also to Appendix)

Schools seeking initial accreditation with NEASC must submit

  • an application and, subsequent to the application being approved by NEASC-CIE

  • prior information in anticipation of the Preliminary Visit

 Schools seeking continuing accreditation with NEASC must submit

  • preparatory information in anticipation of the Preparatory Visit (in year 9 of the decennial accreditation cycle)

  • the school’s Self-Study

  • the First Report on Progress and Planning (within two years of the award of accreditation)

  • the Five-Year Review Report

Five-Year Review Reports and Preliminary/Preparatory Reports also require member institutions to host a visit by one (or more) NEASC-CIE representatives.

Special reports and/or special visits by NEASC-CIE representatives, prompted by serious concerns related to accreditation or substantive changes within the school, may be requested of member schools at any time deemed necessary.

The cost of travel, lodging, and meals for visiting teams or individual visitors shall be borne by the evaluated school.

Member schools are required to submit an annual report noting school enrollment, grade structure, and any substantive change not previously reported.

Failure to submit a required report or other documents may be cause for NEASC-CIE to recommend that a school be placed on probation or that its accreditation be terminated.

SUBSTANTIVE CHANGE REPORT

The head of a member school must report any substantive change relating to NEASC-CIE Standards for Accreditation which takes place in the school or affects the school.  Examples of substantive change include:

  • the appointment of a new head of school

  • modifications to the governance structure

  • shifts in the student population that cause program or staffing modification(s)

  • the addition of grades not yet accredited

  • offering online courses in addition to or in lieu of classroom-based courses

  • the creation or addition of a new campus location

Any report of substantive change must describe the circumstances which led to the change and comment on the impact which the change has had on the quality of education, governance, or financial stability in the school.

 

Accreditation Reports

1. Preliminary Report

A school seeking Candidacy for Accreditation shall submit Prior Information, detailing its compliance with NEASC-CIE Standards for Accreditation. The report will be followed by a school visit by one or more NEASC-CIE representative(s). The Commission may then:

  • recommend Candidacy for Accreditation

  • defer Candidacy, request a Special Report and/or schedule a Special Visit

2. Preparatory Report

Prior to the beginning of an evaluation cycle, a school shall submit a Preparatory Report, indicating its readiness to undergo a Self-Study and host a NEASC-CIE Visiting Team. The report will be followed by a school visit by one or more NEASC-CIE representative(s). The Commission may then:

  • direct the school to begin its Self-Study

  • postpone Self-Study, request a Special Report, and/or schedule a Special Visit

3. Visiting Team Report

Prior to hosting a visiting team, a school shall submit its Self-Study to NEASC-CIE. The visiting team will submit its evaluation report, containing its conclusions on the quality of the school’s Self-Study, and on the school’s compliance with NEASC-CIE Standards for Accreditation. The team shall provide a recommendation on the school’s accreditation status. The Commission may then:

  • recommend initial accreditation until next report

  • defer initial consideration, request a Special Report, and/or schedule a Special Visit

  • continue accreditation until next report

  • continue accreditation, request Special Report, and/or schedule a Special Visit

  • place an accredited school on probation

  • deny initial accreditation

4. First Report on Progress and Planning

The First Report on Progress and Planning, submitted within two years of a team visit, represents the school’s response to each visiting team recommendation. The Commission may then:

  • continue accreditation until next report

  • continue accreditation, request Special Report, and/or schedule Special Visit.

5. Five-Year Review

Prior to hosting one or more NEASC-CIE representative(s) a school submits a Five-Year Review Report, indicating the status of all visiting team recommendations and containing the school’s reflections about anticipated challenges and opportunities in the future. The visitors submit their own report to NEASC-CIE. The Commission may then:

  • continue accreditation until next report

  • continue accreditation, request Special Report, and/or schedule Special Visit.

6. Special Report/Visit

NEASC-CIE may request a Special Report or schedule a Special Visit at any time in the accreditation cycle if special circumstances or developments warrant. The school must provide the information requested and may be asked to host one or more NEASC-CIE representative(s) to corroborate the school’s report. The Commission may then:

  • Recommend initial accreditation or continued accreditation until next report

  • Continue accreditation, request a further Special Report and/or schedule a further Special Visit

  • Place a school on probation.

7. New Program/Campus

A school may decide to add new programs/grades to its offerings which it wishes to have accredited. The school must complete the process defined for The Evaluation and Accreditation of a New Program or Campus and, if necessary, host one or more NEASC-CIE representatives. On the basis of the visitor(s)’ report the Commission may:

  • grant accreditation for the new program and/or campus

  • defer accreditation, request a Special Report, and/or schedule a Special Visit

 

NEASC-CIE Policies Amended October 2014
PCM [1] Board members in this context refers to all persons appointed or elected to carry out governance and/or fiduciary functions in the school.

 

Public Schools

Complaints against the NEASC Commission on Public Schools

Complaints against the NEASC Commission on Public Schools are considered only when made in writing and when the complainant is clearly identified. To be considered, a complaint must address concerns relative to the application of the Commission’s Standards, criteria, or procedures. The written complaint must plainly define the nature of the concern and substantial evidence must be included to support the allegations being made. No action will be taken on a complaint where the matters are under judicial consideration.

The Commission Director responds to all complaints within 30 days of their receipt. The Director reports on complaints received and their disposition at each regularly scheduled Commission meeting. Should a complaint require Commission consideration and action, all documentation will be provided and the complainant will be notified of the timing of the Commission’s review. In such cases the complainant will be informed of the Commission’s disposition in the matter within 14 days of any action taken. Complaints against the Commission Director will be immediately forwarded to the Commission Chair, who will process the complaint in a manner similar to the processing of a complaint against the Commission.

Probation

Probationary status indicates that a school has failed to align with one or more of the NEASC-CPS Standards for Accreditation to the extent that if identified concerns are not resolved in a timely manner the school is in danger of losing its accreditation. Schools on probation remain accredited by NEASC while working to resolve the problems identified by the Commission. 

Release of Information by Members

At the conclusion of the evaluation process, institutions are encouraged to make information about their accreditation status publicly available, including the findings of evaluation reports and any obligations or requirements established by Commission action, as well as any plans to address stated concerns. While NEASC-CPS does not release copies of schools self-assessments, other institutional reports, evaluation reports, or notification letters, it believes it to be good practice for institutions to make these materials available after notification of action on their status. Because of the potential to be misleading, institutions are asked not to publish or otherwise disseminate only selected excerpts from these materials. While the Commission does not initiate public release of information on actions of warning, show cause, or deferral, if such information is released by the institution in question, the Commission will respond to related inquiries.

If an institution releases or otherwise disseminates information that misrepresents or distorts its accreditation status, the institution will be notified and asked to take corrective action. Should it fail to do so, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, acting through its Chief Executive Officer, will release a public statement in such form and content as it deems desirable providing correct information.