About Us

Our History


In 1989, an education symposium, organized and hosted by the Islamic Society of North America, gathered Muslim educators, community members, and representatives from many Islamic institutions throughout North America. Discussions resulted in the appointment of a seven-member ad-hoc committee to serve as the architects of a mechanism for cooperation and communication among full-time Islamic schools throughout the continent. This committee included representatives from various US geographical regions and Canada.


By November of 1991, as a result of the committee’s efforts, the first full-time Islamic School general assembly meeting was held in Detroit, Michigan. Approximately 45 full-time Islamic schools were represented, a constitution was ratified, and CISNA was formed.


In 2008, CISNA began a collaborative effort with AdvancED, a global accrediting body, to identify unique religious and academic program requirements for Islamic Schools to provide the Islamic Organizational Context for Standards Assessment and Quality Assurance Review Visits.


In 2011 CISNA established a partnership with AdvancED in order to accredit Islamic Schools with an added Islamic component. The accreditation requirements include an Islamic Identity Survey which serves as an informative diagnostic tool to gauge stakeholder perceptions around Islamic education, culture, and values.


CISNA began providing accreditation services in 2012.


CISNA achieves lead accreditor status with Cognia (previously AdvancED). Schools meeting CISNA accreditation standards automatically qualify for Cognia accreditation.


CISNA is the largest and only Islamic accreditation organization of Islamic schools in the world. CISNA currently has an accreditation partnership with AdvancED/Cognia and a working agreement with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). CISNA is recognized by the New York State Department of Education (the largest in the U.S.) as an accrediting agency. CISNA Accreditation provides a means to review and evaluate all aspects of a school’s program with an Islamic lens.

CISNA makes an impact at the state and national levels. CISNA is a member of the Council of American Private Education (CAPE) a coalition of national organizations and state affiliates. CISNA is invited to attend the annual National Private School Leadership meetings organized by the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Office of Non-Public Education. CISNA serves in an advisory capacity for the National Center for Education Statistics and for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

CISNA’s inclusion in these organizations gives Islamic schools a stronger voice in legislation, disseminates information about Islamic education to policy-makers and helps provide resources for Islamic schools. CISNA’s interactions with lawmakers, the U.S. Department of Education and other government agencies ensure consideration of the Islamic school perspective. CISNA helps policy and decision makers better understand the outstanding work Muslim schools are doing to contribute to society.