January 14, 2016

Quality Control

Friends’ School is proud to be a fully accredited member of the Association of Colorado Independent Schools (ACIS), one of only thirty-two schools in our state, and one of only three in Boulder, to hold such an honor.

To become an accredited independent school, each school undergoes a rigorous process of self-reflection and external examination, and is required to adhere to strict standards of best practice in education.

Every seven years, our school goes through a demanding process of re-accreditation, part of which is a multi-day visit from school leaders from across our state. That visit is next month, from February 8-11. During that time, we welcome our ACIS visiting team of six members who hail from schools in Denver, Aspen, Greenwood Village, and Evergreen.

In preparation for that visit, our teachers, staff and board have been hard at work behind the scenes for almost two years.  We have been examining our own practice and priorities. Parents have participated through parent surveys that will give the visiting team insights into our school. Friends’ has produced an eighty-page self-study that is the culmination of all of this work.

Why all the hassle?

The fresh perspective of outside experts provides valuable support for our continuous school improvement. The team, we hope, will be confirming Friends’ compliance with relevant government regulations on health, safety, school attendance, non-discrimination, and teacher qualifications. Our visitors will evaluate our school for compliance with ACIS standards, which reflect National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) best practices. They will also look for congruency between our school’s mission, vision, philosophy and values and our actual program.

Education experts on the visiting team will determine whether Friends’ provides appropriate, high-quality education for our population. ACIS will provide ongoing accountability to ensure school improvement well into the future.

Recognition for accreditation by Colorado and NAIS helps distinguish ACIS schools in a crowded and fast-changing educational field. ACIS accreditation is quality assurance.

As we worked on our self-study, it was satisfying to look back and see how much growth and learning have occurred at Friends’, and how much has remained constant since the last time that ACIS visited.  This blog is filled with the many success stories of the people of Friends’ School. It also tells the tale of a school dedicated to its founding mission and its vision of making the world better by challenging minds, nurturing spirits and honoring individuality.”

The self-study process came at an interesting turning point for the school. For years, we have discussed growing and adding a middle school.  In the past few months, this dream has become a reality.  In October 2015, we went under contract to purchase a second campus, at 3800 Kalmia Avenue in Boulder, and we will open a new middle school, beginning with a first sixth grade class, this August.  The new campus will not only house the new middle school, but also our Teacher Preparation Program and several of our administrative offices.  We are currently scheduled to take possession of the new campus before July 1, 2016.

As a dynamic school committed to developing lifelong learners, we are constantly looking to improve, while balancing that with an appreciation of our accomplishments. The re-accreditation process gives us the opportunity to reflect and learn more about our school, its strengths and its challenges. The process mirrors the school’s growth-oriented and celebratory outlook. 

The ACIS visit will help us in our journey to be the best we can be while staying true to our mission and founding values that were established over 28 years ago. We are thankful to the educators who are taking four days away from their own professional lives to devote time and energy to Friends’ School and our future.

For more information on our expansion to middle school, please click here.

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