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Introduction & Instructions
Thank you for applying for accreditation with CISNA.
Accreditation is a must for any private institution that wishes to remain competitive and maintain a legitimate reputation. Today’s parents are asking more questions about accreditation than ever before. School accreditation provides a national protocol for schools committed to systemic, systematic, and sustainable continuous improvement. The process supports, enhances, and stimulates growth and improvement throughout the school. It requires that a school focus on continual improvement of programs, services, and teacher quality through regular evaluation, data analysis, professional development, and long-range strategic planning. The accreditation process examines the whole institution—the program, the cultural context, and the community of stakeholders—to determine how well the parts work together to meet the needs of learners. While the accreditation standards of a state or regional agency address general areas of institutional quality, the CISNA standards address all areas through an Islamic lens and the process focuses on the spiritual life of the school.
The CISNA standards were revised in 2020 after consulting with experts in the field of education. These standards are categorized under four domains: Governance, School Leadership, Teaching & Learning, and School Culture & Environment. These domains provide a systematic
framework for self-evaluation and the improvement of programming and services. The first part of the CISNA accreditation process includes a thorough self-study based on the CISNA Standards and an Islamic Identity Survey administered by the school. The second part of the accreditation process consists of a review visit by the CISNA executive director, an Islamic school educator, and/or a CISNA board member. The visit serves to ascertain how the components of the school’s mission statement are integrated into the entire academic program and the culture of the school.
To successfully complete the CISNA school accreditation requirements all schools must complete all the steps. Click on "Learn More" next to each step to understand the requirements for each step. When you're ready to submit your response, click on the step and respond with your answer. Please create a Google Drive folder and share access with email@example.com. If any document, evidence, etc. is needed for any of the steps, please upload that document to the Google Drive folder and share the link the document in response to the step where it is required. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Step 1: Become a CISNA Member
If not done already, pay the $200.00 CISNA Annual General Membership fee. That can be done here.
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Step 2: Submit the CISNA Accreditation Application form and fees
- $250.00 CISNA one-time Accreditation Application fee.
- Schools completing accreditation through Cognia (formerly AdvancED) may be able to complete a streamlined accreditation review visit with CISNA members serving with the Cognia team. Please contact the Executive Director at email@example.com for more information.
- Schools who are already accredited by a regional accrediting agency must provide CISNA with the latest accreditation report from the regional or state accrediting agency.
Once the application is received the CISNA Executive Director will provide the school with the standards and guidelines and schedule a meeting to review the process.
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Step 3: Complete the Self-Study
The Self-Study and a summary of the surveys must be submitted at least 4 weeks prior to the Review Visit.
Each standard should be addressed in terms of “how” the school meets the standard. The goal is to not simply indicate that the school complies, but to describe how and to what extent the school complies with each standard.
A school should be able to demonstrate how it meets each standard by supplying supporting documentation such as governing board minutes, policy and procedure manuals, handbooks, minutes from staff meetings, etc. All supporting documentation is collected and presented along with the self-study. The results of the self-study become the basis for a school’s improvement plan and provide the context for the review team’s accreditation visit.
You will respond to each standard in this step. Please create a Google Drive folder which contains any and all pertinent documents, evidence, etc. and share the links where they are needed. Ensure that each document is viewable.
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Step 4: Islamic Identity Surveys
An important part of self-evaluation is to collect valuable feedback about the school’s purpose and impact from stakeholders. Surveys are administered to parents, students, staff, and alumni.
The data is analyzed by the school to interpret the impact the school is making in each standard. A summary of the results is to be provided to the CISNA team.
After these steps, please make sure the numbers for the following steps have been updated to reflect the change
Please create a Google Drive folder which contains any and all pertinent documents, evidence, etc. and share the links in response to this step. Ensure that each document is viewable.
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Step 5: CISNA Board Approval
Upon receiving the Review Team Report, the CISNA Board reviews the report for clarification and overall compliance with standards. The Board will make the final determination whether the school will be approved for full five-year accreditation or provisional accreditation contingent on completing requirements outlined in the report. The final determination and report will be communicated to the school in writing.
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Step 6: CISNA On-site Review Visit
One or more CISNA representatives, depending on the size of the school, will visit the school to conduct a review. The team assesses the quality of learning environments to gain valuable insights and gain a broad understanding of institution quality to target improvements. The review team gathers valuable evidence and information by:
- Interviewing school leaders, staff, students, parents, and alumni.
- Conducting classroom observations
- Examining artifacts and evidence
Schools must cover the cost of travel, meals, and lodging for the CISNA review member(s). Travel may include roundtrip economy fare from team member’s origin to school location. School will cover individual hotel rooms for each team member.
- Up to 300 students – one team member
- 300-700 students – two team members
- Over 700 students – three team members
At the end of the visit, the team will present their preliminary findings to school leadership. The team will prepare a thorough report of their findings which will be submitted to the CISNA Board for approval of accreditation. Follow up virtual meetings may be conducted with CISNA Board members following the onsite visit.
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Step 7: Follow up after Accreditation
The CISNA Accreditation Report should serve as a guide to long-term and ongoing school improvement. The school should consider the findings and begin implementing changes to meet any deficiencies found by the Review Team. The school is required to develop an Improvement Plan based on the findings of the self-study and the team report. The school will submit an annual report in which they will document changes and actions taken to meet the team’s recommendations.
Schools must submit an Annual Report and fees by January 15 of each year to the CISNAOffice.
- 200 students or less: $300.00
- 201 to 399 students: $500.00
- 400 students or more: $700.00
The Annual Report describes any changes in the school that have occurred since the previous report. This may include:
- A change in Principal or Head of School, changes in enrollment or facilities, etc.
- Progress being made on the improvement plan
- Assessment data that shows the school’s growth
- Ongoing challenges the school faces as it continues work on its improvement plan
Failure to submit a report in a timely manner may result in revocation of accreditation status. Once a school is accredited, it must maintain membership in CISNA throughout the entire period of the accreditation. If membership is dropped during this time, the accreditation becomes null and void.
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- Introduction & Instructions
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