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Why is Accreditation Important?

September 28, 2023
By Donald M. Larson, PhD., Head of School

Grace Christian School is the only Christ-centered school in Augusta County that is accredited. Why is this important? There was a time in my educational career that I believed that accreditation was not important. I was Head of School at a K-7 inner-city Christian school. We were in a small school building next to a large public school. The public school only had 16% of their third grade students reading on grade level. We had 95% of our third grade students reading on grade level. The public school was accredited, but we were not. This story does show that accreditation does not equal success. Since then, I have changed my views.

Accreditation would have benefited us at the inner-city Christian school because of the process. Accreditation begins with a Self-Study that compares our school to a set of standards. Each standard has several indicators which are detailed statements that we rate ourselves upon. We must then provide evidence to show that our rating is accurate. Going through this process allows us to understand what we do well and where we might need to improve. When we identify potential improvement areas, we will rank them and select which ones that we would like to focus upon for the next five years.

Becoming a better school is the focus of accreditation, but there are other benefits. Accreditation:

  • Requires a structure for teacher evaluation
  • Requires a formal process for faculty and staff professional development 
  • Allows for the smooth transfer of credits for high school students
  • Ensures that all students’ applications to universities and colleges are accepted (certain colleges will not accept applications if a school is not accredited)
  • Provides recognition by state tax credit programs for students who qualify

Grace Christian School is accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International and COGNIA which is an international accrediting agency recognized by Christian and secular colleges and universities around the world.

Our reaccreditation will take place in November 2024. We have begun our preparation with the creation of committees that will begin to review the different standards. Each committee will rate the assigned indicators and gather evidence to support the rating. Each committee is made up of various stakeholders. If you are interested in being on a committee, please let us know.

God Bless.