NEASC Policies and Bylaws
Please click on individual policies listed below to view the details.
Appeal of Adverse Action
Bylaws of the Association
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:
- Comprehensive due diligence in screening and hiring including background and reference checks.
- Documented policies and procedures that ensure the safety and welfare of all students.
- Appropriate and clearly outlined response if children are harmed, at risk of harm, or if allegations of harm to children are made.
- Clearly defined leadership responsibilities for child safety and reporting.
- Child protection training for all adults who work with students.
- Child protection, including online safety, is included in the formal learning program for students.
- Clear codes of conduct govern appropriate and acceptable behaviors for adult interactions with children and children’s interaction with other children.
- 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
View a PDF of the full policy document, "Complaints Against NEASC Affiliated Institutions":
GDPR Privacy Statement
View the 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:
- actions taken by the Association granting candidacy for accreditation or initial accreditation;
- 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.
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
View the Website Terms and Conditions
View a copy of the complete NEASC Commission on Independent Schools policy manual (pdf)
The NEASC Commission on International Education (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.
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 Commission meetings no member shall vote on, or participate in discussion of, matters affecting any school in which the member has a professional affiliation. Commission members must disclose any other potential conflict of interest which may affect or negate their participation in discussion or decision-making.
DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION CHAIR
The Commission 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 staff the agenda for Commission meetings
preside over Commission meetings
present the Chair's report at Commission meetings
represent the NEASC Commission on International Education, together with the Director of the Commission, at meetings of the Board of Trustees of the Association.
The Commission Chair is selected annually by the Commission members, subject to NEASC Board confirmation. There is no limit to the number of terms a Chair may serve.
APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSION MEMBERS
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 Commission 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 Commission 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.
The Commission, in consultation with the Director:
hears and discusses reports provided by the Director and/or other NEASC staff members
reviews reports submitted on behalf of NEASC by visitors and visiting teams
makes decisions with respect to a school’s accredited status (see also above, 1.1)
develops, reviews and revises Commission policies
participates in discussions about Commission strategic direction
participates in training and development workshops
Commission Principles and Practices
SCOPE OF COMMISSION RESPONSIBILITIES
The NEASC Commission on International Education, 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 Commission Statement. 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
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 Standards of Accreditation.
CANDIDACY FOR ACCREDITATION/MEMBERSHIP
Schools whose application has been approved by the Commission 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 may apply for provisional membership in NEASC, but may not become a full member until NEASC 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.
Schools applying for NEAS Candidacy and subsequent membership status must:
commit to a process of self-evaluation, peer review, and ongoing systematic improvement, utilizing NEASC 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 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 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 with the most recent external assessment report
agree to host a visitor from NEASC 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 Accreditation Cycle.
Please refer to "Release of Information by NEASC" above.
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 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 consideration with the school.
NEASC 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
Schools seeking initial accreditation with NEASC must submit
an application and, subsequent to the application being approved by NEASC
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 representatives.
Special reports and/or special visits by NEASC 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 NEASCStandards 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.
1. Preliminary Report
A school seeking Candidacy for Accreditation shall submit Prior Information, detailing its compliance with NEASC Standards for Accreditation. The report will be followed by a school visit by one or more NEASC 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 Visiting Team. The report will be followed by a school visit by one or more NEASC 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. 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 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 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. The Commission may then:
continue accreditation until next report
continue accreditation, request Special Report, and/or schedule Special Visit.
6. Special Report/Visit
NEASC 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 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 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 Commission on International Education Policies Amended October 2014
PCM  Board members in this context refers to all persons appointed or elected to carry out governance and/or fiduciary functions in the school.
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.
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 does not release copies of schools self-assessments, other institutional reports, evaluation reports, or notification letters (see "Release of Information by NEASC" policy) 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.
Principals of member schools must report to the Commission within sixty (60) days of occurrence any substantive change in the school which has an impact on the school's ability to align with any of the Standards for Accreditation. The report of a substantive change must describe the change itself as well as detail the impact on the school’s ability to align with the Standards. The following are potential areas where there might be substantive changes that must be reported:
- elimination of fine arts, practical arts, and student activities
- diminished upkeep and maintenance of facilities
- significantly decreased funding
- cuts in the level of administrative and supervisory staffing
- cuts in the number of teachers and/or guidance counselors
- grade level responsibilities of the principal
- cuts in the number of support staff
- decreases in student services
- cuts in the educational media staffing
- increases in student enrollment that cannot be accommodated
- takeover by the state
- inordinate user fees
- changes in the student population that warrant program or staffing modification(s) that cannot be accommodated, e.g., the number of special needs students or vocational students or students with limited English proficiency.
Substantive changes are not limited to these examples; in fact, any major change which the administration and/or faculty views as counterproductive to the direction the school is taking as a result of its adherence to the Standards for Accreditation can be deemed a substantive change.
Substantive Change Report
There is no specific form for the Substantive Change Report. It should be written in narrative form and must describe the substantive change in detail. The report should assess the impact of the change on the ability of the school to provide appropriate educational programs and/or services for students in light of the Standards for Accreditation. Finally, the report should include the steps the school has taken or is taking to address the changes, as well as any additional plans or strategies for handling the changes.
The Commission requests this information, because the school has made a commitment to maintain the Standards for Accreditation as a criterion for membership. If something interferes with the school’s ability to uphold the Standards for Accreditation, the Commission intervenes in hopes of providing guidance and structure. When a substantive change is reported to the Commission, it is reviewed, and, if any action is taken by the Commission, the school will be notified. Action may be a request for a Special Progress Report after a period of time to explain how the substantive change has affected the Standards; it may call for a follow up visit to ascertain the effect of the substantive change on the Standards.