High School Accreditation
Isaac Newton Christian Academy’s high school program is accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). This accreditation establishes Isaac Newton Christian Academy as an educational institution which meets the high standards necessary for quality education in an authentic Christian setting.
Because Isaac Newton Christian Academy added its high school grades one year at a time over a 4-year period, the school experienced extra scrutiny of its high school program by the ACSI MidAmerica Regional Accreditation Commission. Each additional grade had to be approved by the Commission as it was added each year. We are pleased to report that our school was able to add accreditation to each high school grade level during the year it was launched with high approval from the Commission.
Standard 1 – Philosophy and Foundations
The school has developed written statements of philosophy, mission, vision, core values, and school-wide expected student outcomes as well as a statement of faith. These statements are well defined, systematically reviewed, and broadly implemented throughout the school. They outline the school’s Christian distinctive and communicate a clear purpose and direction for school effectiveness and student growth and development.
Standard 2 – Governance and Executive Leadership
The school has Christ-centered governance and executive leadership that promotes the effectiveness of the school and growth of the student through an established structure that contributes to an operationally and financially sound Christian educational institution. The executive leadership and governing body work in partnership to ensure the integrity, effectiveness, and reputation of the institution through the establishment of written policies and procedures. The head of school is responsible for the supervision of all operations of the school and implementation of board policies.
Standard 3 – Home and Community Relations and Student Services
The school exists and functions as an institution of reliability and authority by exhibiting a pattern of respect, trust, accountability, and dignity to its constituents, both internally and externally. Effective communication and relationships are fostered with constituents, as well as among constituents. A wide range of strategies is used to incorporate involvement by the parents and the community. It is expected that the school meets the educational and developmental needs of the students it enrolls. Services at the appropriate levels include guidance (both academic and personal) and student activities (curricular and co-curricular). Proper resources and planning occur to ensure that the mission, vision, and philosophy are being carried out.
Standard 4 – Personnel
The school hires personnel who have made a personal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and endorse the school’s statement of faith. They are committed to the written philosophy, mission, vision, and core values of the school. Faculty and staff engage in ongoing professional development to improve instructional practices leading to continual growth in student learning and development of the instructional program. The executive leadership, instructional, and support staff are sufficient in number to provide for the effective delivery of quality education and are appropriately credentialed, degreed, trained, and qualified for their assigned duties.
Standard 5 – Instructional Program and Resources
The instructional program consists of carefully developed, thoroughly documented, and well-executed curriculum elements that include educational philosophy, school-wide expected student outcomes, a variety of effective instructional strategies, adequate resources, and appropriate assessments that are based on current research and quality practices. The curriculum of the school is driven by well-written policies and procedures. Core instructional areas include Bible, language arts (reading, English, literature, grammar, and writing), mathematics, science, and social studies/history. It is sufficiently funded, collaboratively reviewed on a regular basis, and compiled using the school’s mission, vision, core values, and school-wide expected student outcomes to ensure a biblical foundation for instruction. A method for assessing the effectiveness of school-wide expected learning outcomes is in place, and the results of the assessments are communicated regularly to all stakeholders. Informational resources exist to carry out the mission of the school by supporting the instructional program with ample and appropriate print, media, and technology resources. Qualified staff provides effective services to students, staff, and parents.
Standard 6 – Student Care
Written policies and procedures are in place to ensure students’ wellbeing—emotional, physical, spiritual, and academic. The school facilities (buildings and grounds) are appropriate in size, furnishings, and space to meet the stated philosophy, mission, and vision for the number and age of students served. The entire campus is a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment for teaching and learning. Safety procedures are documented and clearly understood, and they address the prevention and identification of abuse, bullying, and the presence of unwelcome guests. A relevant and thorough crisis management plan is in place, and the faculty and staff have been trained appropriately to handle various emergency situations. Regular drills and practices occur to assist in preparation for crisis events. Transportation guidelines for staff and students are developed, and written policies and procedures are in place.
Standard 7 – Character, Values and Spiritual Formation
The school shall provide for spiritual nurturing and discipleship of its students with the goal of developing a biblical worldview. Spiritual nurturing of Christ-like character is planned, intentional, and systematic in implementation. Mentoring and discipleship experiences are necessary components in a spiritual formation strategy. Students are given opportunities to serve others and develop a Christ-like attitude toward the poor, needy, and vulnerable. A commitment to a community of faith is modeled by the faculty and emphasized to all students. Spiritual formation assessment is integral to the effective and ongoing improvement of the school program.
Standard 8 – Continuous School Improvement
The school must, with appropriate stakeholder input, systematically develop and annually update a continuous school improvement plan (CSIP). The plan, based on the school’s philosophy, mission, vision, core values, and schoolwide expected student outcomes, includes specific goals, as well as action items. The process is driven by data collection and analysis. This plan must have a significant focus on how it will promote organizational growth and high achievement of schoolwide expected student outcomes. The CSIP reflects a culture of ongoing improvement and accountability.
Accreditation enables our school to maintain and improve the quality of our educational program and to expand our implementation of a Christian philosophy of education. Two major themes are obvious throughout the ACSI accreditation program. First, the program probes the spiritual aspects of each component of our school. Second, the program addresses the educational quality and integrity of our school. The latter addresses the issues that demonstrate that the school is true to its own statements of philosophy, mission, and goals, and that it is meeting the standards of quality that are recognized by ACSI. Meeting the accreditation standards and completing the self-study is a rigorous but very worthwhile process. It requires the intensive work of the school staff for several years. In completing the accreditation self-study, the school explains its approaches and assesses its strengths and weaknesses. It also suggests plans for improvement in each of the component areas of the self-study. Supplementary documentation is required to support the answers and conclusions of the self-study. At the conclusion of the self-study, a visiting team comes to the campus and investigates the truth and legitimacy of the study.
Isaac Newton Christian Academy is also an associate member with the Association for Biblical Higher Education.