National Association of Independent Schools

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National Association of Independent Schools
NAIS logo.png
Abbreviation NAIS
Type Non-governmental organization
Purpose K-12 education

The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) is a U.S.-based membership organization for private, nonprofit, K-12 schools. Founded in 1963, NAIS represents independent schools and associations in the United States, including day, boarding, and day/boarding schools; elementary and secondary schools; boys', girls', and coeducational schools. NAIS has affiliate members internationally as well.

NAIS's mission is to be the national voice of independent schools and the center for collective action on their behalf.


As of the 2010-11 school year, NAIS represented approximately 1,400 member independent schools and associations in the US, serving more than 562,000 students and 121,000 teachers, administrators, and other staff.

Membership in NAIS is open to independent pre-college schools that are operated by nonprofit organizations. To become a full member of NAIS, a school must have operated for at least five years and must be accredited by an accrediting organization approved by NAIS.[1]

NAIS Commission on Accreditation[edit]


The NAIS Commission on Accreditation was established by the NAIS Board of Trustees in 2001 in response to requests from several independent school state and regional accrediting associations; it convened for the first time in 2002. The 24-member Commission’s work is intended to assure the quality of independent school accrediting programs.

Purpose of the NAIS Commission on Accreditation[edit]

The NAIS Board charged the commission to develop criteria for effective independent school accreditation practices, exemplary standards, and models of successful accreditation policies and procedures; to engage in research to inform accreditation practice; and to promote, through advocacy efforts, public understanding of and credibility for independent school accrediting programs.

Operating Protocols and Accountability[edit]

The commission, which is guided by operating protocols, has 20 members from NAIS independent school accrediting associations, two at-large members, and two NAIS Board members. It meets twice a year, with committee work conducted as needed.

The member associations of the commission are accountable to one another through a process patterned on the independent school accreditation model. Over the course of a 10-year cycle, associations will prepare a self-study demonstrating compliance with the Criteria for Effective Independent School Accreditation Practices. The criteria provide common ground for member associations by delineating best practices, policies, and procedures. In addition, associations will use the Model Core Standards — a set of “ideal” standards — in assessing their own, host a visit from peers on the commission, receive recommendations from the commission, and engage in follow-up activities designed to improve the accreditation process. As with school accreditation, this will serve two purposes: institutional improvement and quality assurance.

Accrediting organizations which are members of the NAIS Commission on Accreditation include the U.S. state and regional accreditation organizations for pre-college schools and the following associations that are association members of NAIS:[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Membership, NAIS website, accessed October 6, 2010
  2. ^ Accreditation, NAIS website, accessed October 6, 2010

External links[edit]