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Accreditation Strands & Standards

Accreditation Strand #1
Clear Purpose

Mission and vision statements; transformational worldview

  1. The school has a written mission statement that articulates clearly to its community why the school exists and who the target audience is. The school also has a written vision statement that contains a shared commitment to continuous school improvement including two essential components: the spiritual growth and academic performance of students.

    A school successfully implementing this strand establishes expectations for student growth and learning that are aligned with the school’s mission and vision that are supported by school personnel and school stakeholders. These expectations serve as the central focus for assessing student performance and school effectiveness. The school’s mission and vision guide allocations of time, and human, material, and fiscal resources.

    The school intentionally commits to stimulating the spiritual growth and understanding of students by engaging students in the study of the Scriptures, teaching them methods for a life-time of biblical study, showing them how to develop a biblical/transformational world and life view, and providing opportunities throughout the curriculum for them to perceive God at work in all areas of history and life. The school engages students in activities of spiritual renewal and empowerment and provides opportunities for service and application.

    Standards

    1. The school has two major, guiding written statements for mission and vision that articulate clearly 1) its mission, including whether it is intended primarily for children of believers or for outreach, and 2) its vision, including continuous school effectiveness and school improvement.

    2. The school has a written philosophy of education, reflecting a commitment to Biblical perspectives and expressing a Reformed and/or transformational position, through which the student is enabled to develop and demonstrate a Christian view of God, man, and the world.

    3. The school translates the mission and vision of the school into written overall educational objectives.

    4. The school carries out admissions practices for families and students targeted by the mission and purpose statements and enrolls those for whom it has appropriate programs, in compliance with applicable local, state, and federal rules and laws (e.g. ADA).

    5. The school practices a non-discriminatory policy in which gender, race, or ethnicity of students are not factors in admissions or the application of any of its programs or processes.

    6. The school accurately represents the school’s status level of accreditation with CSF to its parent membership and to the public in general.

    7. The school develops and continuously compiles a profile of its students, graduates, and target community.

    8. The school ensures that the school’s mission and vision guide the teaching and learning process.

    9. The school reviews its vision and purpose systematically and revises them when appropriate.

    10. The school embraces a Christian worldview that (a) integrates learning with faith, stimulates informed, biblical thinking, (b) encourages a growing understanding of God as the sovereign lord of the universe, (c) views the church as his transformational agent, (d) encourages a growing understanding of the holy scriptures and its relevancy to personal faith and Christian walk, (e) demonstrates a commitment to presenting each student with her/his need for a personal trust in Jesus Christ alone as Lord and Savior, and (f) demonstrates that it encourages each student towards a knowledge of and love for the Scriptures as the sole rule for faith and practice.

    11. The school presents to students opportunities to explore avenues for a lifetime of Christian ministry and service in fulfillment of the cultural mandate and the great commission.

    12. The school engages students in the practice of worship and praise.

    13. The school provides opportunities for Christian service.

    14. The school shows adherence to the principles of transformational education and/or embraces one or several of the following historic creeds:

      • The Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms
      • The Heidelberg Catechism
      • The Canons of Dordt
      • The Thirty-nine Articles of the Anglican Church
      • The Second London Confession of Faith
      • The Philadelphia Confession of Faith
      • The Augsburg Confession
      • The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord

Accreditation Strand #2
School Effectiveness & Improvement

Promoting, maintaining, and communicating school effectiveness and improvement

  1. The school maintains a system promoting continuous school effectiveness and school improvement that focuses on student spiritual growth and academic performance, and it aligns all functions of the school with the adopted expectations for student spiritual growth and academic performance. Improvement efforts and activities are prompted and informed by the information obtained through earlier data gathering and by reflecting on and assessing the various components of the school effectiveness and school improvement process.

    The school encourages and maintains communication and collaboration with Board-determined stakeholders/ministry partners to garner their support, understanding, and awareness and to secure their prayer, financial, and other supporting activities for the purpose of advancing student spiritual growth and academic learning for the glory of God.

    Standards

    1. The school intentionally maintains a systematic plan for effectiveness and improvement that (a) centrally focuses on the mission and purpose established for the school; (b) maintains an accurate current description of its students, including their spiritual growth and academic performance; (c) measures school effectiveness; (d) establishes and pursues measurable goals focused on student growth and performance; (e) documents and uses objective and verifiable information that the processes yield, highlights major foci for school improvement; and, (f) documents and uses the information to determine what the foci should be for school improvement.

    2. The school identifies 3-5 focus areas for special emphasis in the systematic plan that are realistic, obtainable, observable, and measurable.

    3. The school employs in the improvement plan a specific and realistic timeline with benchmarks and projected target dates for the completion of identified goals, which include not only academic, financial, or physical plant goals, but also distinctively Christian objectives — or those features of the school’s intended purpose which distinguish it from the secular schools in the community.

    4. The school engages board-defined ministry partners/stakeholders in the process of continuous improvement.

    5. The school aligns the plans for continuous effectiveness and improvement with the mission and purpose of the school and the expectations for student growth and performance.

    6. The school provides training/professional development for school staff to help them to understand and use delivery systems and interventions to achieve growth and performance goals.

    7. The school maintains the data gathered and communicates the results to board-determined stakeholders in order to maintain accountability.

    8. The school gathers, evaluates, and documents the effectiveness of its continuous process of improvement.

    9. The school communicates the vision, mission, and expectations for student learning and goals for improvement to the ministry partners/stakeholders.

    10. The school provides ongoing information about students, their performance, and school effectiveness that encourages the prayer, financial, and activity support of the ministry partners/stakeholders.

    11. The school creates and uses formal channels to listen to and communicate with ministry partners / stakeholders.

    12. The school solicits the knowledge, skills, and resources of ministry partners/ stakeholders to enhance the work of the school. The school involves all ministry partners/stakeholders in the process of maintaining and evaluating continuous school improvement.

    13. The school employs a process to reflect on its performance collectively and individually in light of the school’s mission and commitment to school improvement and student performance.

Accreditation Strand #3
Leadership & Governance

Structure, policies, procedures and practices

  1. The school provides godly leadership and governance that promote student performance and school effectiveness within its mission and vision perspectives.

    The school has a clearly defined governance structure that adheres to recognized best governance practices allowing the leaders to advocate for and guard the school’s mission and vision, for the school head and professional staff to operate with sufficient freedom towards those ends, and for the school’s continued efforts towards effectiveness and improvement. Leaders provide clear direction and allocate sufficient human, material, and financial resources necessary to carry out high quality instruction and support programs. Leaders encourage collaboration among stakeholders/ministry partners and provide avenues to support the program with financial gifts and prayer.

    The school’s policies, procedures, practices, and organizational structure ensure equity of learning opportunities for all students admitted into the school and support for ongoing innovation and improvement.

    Standards

    1. The school is incorporated as an independent Christian school or a ministry of a Bible-based church guided by Reformed/transformational beliefs, with a written constitution and bylaws containing adoption/incorporation dates.

    2. The school is an independent early childhood or day school, offering a quality academic program in Christian education with written curriculum guides for all age/grade levels, and is not an independent day care center, home school association, or boarding school.

    3. The school operates under a governing board that establishes written policies and procedures within a constitution, bylaws, and board manual that provide for the effective operation of the school.

      1. The board utilizes a policy manual which is consistently kept current and with all board minutes on file in written or electronic format.

      2. The board establishes spiritual qualifications for board membership and consistently adheres to its process for selecting and establishing officers and committees with clearly outlined duties.

      3. The board employs a process by which it delegates executive and administrative functions to the chief administrative officer who is recognized as the head of the school.

      4. The board employs a process that governs the relationship between the board and the chief administrative officer of the school which fosters a relationship that is positive, constructive, and mutually honoring.

      5. The board employs a process by which the Board annually evaluates the chief administrator in a written format.

      6. The board defines clearly, in the case of a church operated/affiliated school, the role and relationship between the pastor and school head, and between the church’s governing board and the school’s governing board, relative to the administration of the school.

      7. The board employs a process that establishes and maintains good communication and mutual respect between the board, the administration, the faculty and staff, the parents, and the students.

      8. The board utilizes a process for strategic and master planning to address the present and future needs of the school.

    4. The school recognizes and preserves by policy and practice the executive, administrative, and leadership perogatives of the administrative head of the school.

    5. The school ensures compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal laws, standards, and regulations.

    6. The school maintains an up-to-date policy manual and a separate record of all board minutes.

    7. The school adheres to the policies and processes contained in the policy manual for recruiting, nominating, electing, selecting officers, and estimating the spiritual condition of all candidates, nominees, and current board members.

    8. The school delegates executive and administrative functions to the chief administrative officer who is recognized as the head of the school.

    9. The school has a written organizational plan of leadership that articulates the responsibilities, accountabilities, and reporting systems from one level of leadership to the other.

    10. The school has a school board that maintains a strong, open relationship with the school head and annually conducts a formal, written evaluation of her/his performance.

    11. The school maintains, if a church-owned school, a strong, open relationship with the governing body of the local church, and works to maintain a similar relationship between the senior minister and the school head.

    12. The school maintains good communication and mutual respect between the board, the administration, the faculty and staff, the parents, the students, and all other ministry partners/stakeholders.

    13. The proprietary school must comply with all Leadership and Governance standards with some modifications.

      1. The proprietary school shall not be required to maintain a school board for purposes of governing the school. However, its policy manual must contain processes that are expected of all other member schools to ensure a healthy, professional environment for faculty, support staff, and students, and processes that ensure school and parent relationships that are expected for all other member schools.

      2. The proprietary school may be governed by a board of directors, advisory council, or by the ownership of the school operating under the school’s constitution (or Articles of Incorporation) and by-laws.

      3. The proprietary school shall have Articles of Incorporation that shall be considered the equivalency to by-laws required of non-profit schools for purposes of determining suitability for associate membership and/or accredited membership in CSF.

      4. The proprietary school shall have a proprietor, if not serving as the administrative head, who delegates executive and administrative functions to a chief administrative officer who is recognized as the head of the school. The relationship between the proprietor and the head of school must be strong and open. The proprietor must formally evaluate annually in writing the chief administrator.

      5. The proprietary school shall establish and maintain processes that involve the stake holders of the school in the process for purposes of establishing and maintaining a process for school improvement.

    14. The school fosters a learning community.

    15. The school exemplifies a servant spirit exercised through high quality spiritual, professional leadership.

    16. The school provides teachers and students opportunities to lead and to innovate.

    17. The school provides stakeholders/ministry partners meaningful roles in the decision-making process that promote a culture of participation, responsibility, and ownership.

    18. The school controls all business, financial, curricular, extracurricular and support activities that are sponsored by the school.

Accreditation Strand #4
Teaching & Learning

Curriculum and instruction

  1. The school provides a researched-based curriculum and instructional methods that facilitate achievement for all students. The curriculum is based on clear and measurable expectations/objectives for student learning and provides opportunities for all students admitted to the school to acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes within a biblical framework.

    Teachers use proven instructional practices that effectively engage students in the learning process and provide opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills in real world situations as Christians. Teachers give to students sufficient feedback to improve their performance.

    Teachers provide spiritual and professional role models that encourage students to aspire to a lifetime of learning as Christians and to view the world from a consistent biblical/transformational worldview.

    Standards

    1. The school develops and implements a curriculum based on clearly-defined learner outcomes.

    2. The school demonstrates in the school improvement plan a knowledge and understanding of the community for which the school is founded (e.g. opportunities for recruiting families and students, attitudes of the local Christian community and local pastors toward the school, and the impact of demographic and economic trends on enrollment).

    3. The school promotes the use of higher-order thinking skills and guides students to be actively involved in accompanying learning process.

    4. The school offers a curriculum that challenges each student to excel, reflects a commitment to equity within the scope of student needs and admission policies, and demonstrates a willingness to value and address diversities.

    5. The school allocates and guards instructional time within the school day and school calendar in order to maximize time on task and student learning, conforming the school year to the Florida Compulsory School Attendance Law and the interpretation of that Law by the FLDOE.

      1. For compliance with the Florida Compulsory School Attendance Law, the school is in session for a minimum of 170 days per academic year.

      2. For compliance with the Florida Compulsory School Attendance Law, the school is in session for a minimum of the following instructional hours in each of the following grade categories per academic year:

        • Kindergarten: 540 hours
        • Grades 1–3: 720 hours
        • Grades 4–12: 900 hours

        Note: the FLDOE increasingly loosens its interpretation of the law to allow for a multiplicity of delivery systems, including schools offering a blend of classroom, internet, and home education. However, the above instructional hours must be accomplished on the actual school site when a school participates in one of the Florida scholarship programs, i.e. McKay, Step Up, VPK.

        There is no state statute regulating minimum instructional hours for awarding high school credit. The rule for public schools in Florida is a minimum of 135 hours of instruction to award one credit. The state university system generally uses the 135 hours definition for evaluating high school credits earned because of that stipulated number of minimum hours for Florida public school.

    6. The school maintains and follows an up-to-date, written curricular alignment in scope and sequence among all levels of learners for all current courses and subject areas. It includes (a) a Christian philosophy of teaching and learning; (b) instructional objectives and learner outcomes; (c) student assessments; (d) course outlines that identify concepts; and (e) materials and resources used to accomplish the goals and outcomes.

      1. The Early Childhood Instructional Division provides a balance of activities, sufficient classroom materials, a developmental curriculum, and meets the required teacher-to-child ratio. These standards are explicated in Strand 7: Early Childhood.

      2. The Elementary Instructional Division provides for development of students, an academic curriculum with Christian worldview, and instructional methods and strategies.

        1. The Elementary Instructional Division provides a curriculum that develops in students:

          • an understanding that the Bible is the only authoritative basis for an individual’s moral development, faith, and spiritual practice
          • basic skills and understanding in reading, oral and written communication, and mathematics
          • essential knowledge in the fields of life, physical, and social science
          • functional skills in computer literacy and technology
          • habits conducive to wholesome development in the areas of physical growth and health
          • appreciation of literature, drama, music, art and basic skills in these artistic expressions
          • the ability to think, act, and research independently
          • willingness to accept responsibility
          • an appreciation of cultural and ethnic diversity
          • ability to live and function in a social setting and to establish a wholesome relationship with God, adults, and peers
          • moral, ethical, and patriotic values

        2. The Elementary Instructional Division provides a curriculum that contains academic disciplines taught from a distinctly Christian viewpoint integrating faith to learning including:

          • Bible and worship
          • language arts (including reading, writing, and oral communication)
          • mathematics
          • life and physical science
          • social studies and history
          • health and physical education
          • art, music, drama, and crafts
          • computer science
          • Bible and worship
          • language arts (including reading, writing, and oral communication)
          • mathematics
          • life and physical science
          • social studies and history
          • health and physical education
          • art, music, drama, and crafts
          • computer science

        3. The Elementary Instructional Division employs strategies that include:

          • a multi-sensory approach
          • use of learning centers
          • cooperative learning groups
          • peer coaching
          • large group, small group, and individualized opportunities for learning
          • computerized instruction and integration of computerized learning

      3. The Middle School/Junior High Instructional Division provides development of students, provides for development of students, an academic curriculum with Christian worldview, and a varied co-curriculum.

        1. The MS/Jr High Instructional Division develops students and provides:

          • a growing understanding of God, His Word and its relevancy to personal faith and Christian walk
          • a fuller understanding of being created in the image of God
          • an appreciation of various kinds of literature and literary styles
          • competency in written communication
          • confidence in expressing thoughts and opinions through oral
          • communication and listening skills
          • competency in mathematics, abstract thinking, reasoning and problem solving skills
          • a greater understanding of scientific principles through inquiry, exploration and experimentation
          • a more highly developed understanding of computer technology and its application, increased use of technology in teaching, as well as student skill in computer use
          • personal physical conditioning and wholesome health habits
          • an appreciation for the creative arts, as well as develop talent in artistic expression
          • an appreciation for other ethnics groups and cultures
          • the ability to think, act and research independently
          • opportunities for the development of personal interests or talents through a variety of activities
          • opportunities for Christian service
          • opportunities for interpersonal relationships and social interactions through a variety of activities and events
          • guidance and counsel for spiritual, academic, and emotional needs

        2. The MS/Jr High provides a curriculum that contains academic disciplines taught from a distinctly Christian viewpoint integrating learning with faith including:

          • Bible and worship
          • English (grammar, vocabulary, literature, communication skills)
          • mathematics (general or advanced)
          • science (life and physical science) Science and other laboratories are furnished and equipped and comply with local and state codes for health and safety (e.g., showers in chemistry labs, safe storage of hazardous chemicals, etc.),
          • social studies and history (geography, world history, United States history)
          • health education and physical education
          • fine arts (music and art)
          • foreign language
          • computer science

        3. The MS/Jr High Instructional Division offers a co-curriculum with at least eight of the following:

          • chorus
          • band
          • orchestra
          • interscholastic sports with equitable opportunities for girls and boys
          • intramural sports with equitable opportunities for girls and boys
          • cheerleading
          • club program
          • community service
          • scholastic competition
          • National Junior Honor Society ( for re-accreditation only)
          • prayer and Bible study groups
          • Fellowship of Christian Athletes or a similar program
          • school newspaper
          • yearbook
          • literary magazine
          • student government
          • chapel
          • drama
          • fine art competitions or shows

      4. The High School Instructional Division provides a curriculum that develops students, requires a cumulative GPA in either or both of two academic programs, contains a minimum core academic requirements, and also provides a balanced co-curriculum.

        1. The High School Instructional Division provides a curriculum that develops for students:

          • active, contributing citizenship in God’s kingdom
          • a deeper understanding of God, His Word and its relevancy to personal faith and Christian walk
          • a fuller understanding of being created in the image of God
          • an appreciation of various kinds of literature and literary styles
          • competency in written communication
          • confidence in expressing thoughts and opinions through oral communication and listening skills
          • competency in mathematics, abstract thinking, reasoning and problem solving skills
          • a greater understanding of scientific principles through inquiry, experimentation
          • a greater understanding of computer technology and its application, as well as skill in computer use
          • lifetime physical conditioning and wholesome health habits
          • an appreciation for the creative arts, as well as develop talent in artistic expression
          • an appreciation for other ethnic groups and cultures
          • the ability to think, act and research independently
          • opportunities for the development of personal interests or talents through a variety of activities
          • opportunities for Christian service
          • opportunities for interpersonal relationships and social interactions through a variety of activities and events
          • guidance and counsel for spiritual, academic, and emotional needs

        2. The High School provides a curriculum that requires a cumulative 2.0 GPA for courses required for graduation contained in either or both of two academic programs: a college preparatory program, and a general program. The college preparatory program is academically demanding in depth and scope so as to prepare graduates with the knowledge, skills, and independence necessary to successfully pursue advanced learning at the college/university level. Both programs are taught from a distinctly Christian viewpoint, integrating learning with faith.

        3. The High School Instructional Program provides a curriculum that contains a minimum of 24 core academic requirements as stated in the Course Code Directory published by the Florida Department of Education and required for entrance into the Florida State University System, and with elective courses that are planned and conducted with the same professional validity as the core academic courses, including but not limited to the following credits:

          • 3 Bible
          • 3 social studies and history
          • 4 English
          • 3 science (two with laboratory) Science and other laboratories are furnished and equipped and comply with local and state codes for health and safety (e.g., showers in chemistry labs, safe storage of hazardous chemicals, etc.)
          • 3 mathematics (algebra I, geometry, algebra II)
          • 2 foreign language (through second level of the same language required for college preparatory program)
          • 1 practical arts or performing arts
          • 1 physical education to include the integration of health
          • 3-5 electives

        4. The High School Instructional Division ensures a co-curriculum that offers at least one activity in each of the following areas, with balanced equity of participation for girls and boys:

          • athletics
          • spiritual development
          • arts
          • community/school service
          • communications
          • academic/social activities

    7. The school evidences cooperative vertical, horizontal, intra-departmental, and inter-departmental planning and coordinating the curriculum.

    8. The school implements processes and utilizes personnel necessary to address student learning for those needing special assistance.

      1. The school makes available academic programs on site or through referral which meet the needs of exceptional children in its enrollment (e.g. SLD, gifted, enhancement, tutorial, etc.)

      2. The school makes available support programs on site or through referral which service students and their families with psychological or behavioral needs (e.g. guidance/counseling, behavioral management, parenting skills training, etc.)

      3. The school provides adequate supervision, when providing an extended day program, and meets all applicable DCF and county requirements, including play, instructional, and rest space and adult to child ratios

      4. The school has a parent organization(s) that provide(s) volunteer services to students, teachers, and administration.

    9. The school provides appropriate guidance and counseling services for students’ spiritual, academic, and career counseling.

    10. The school employs a full time guidance counselor for high schools with 300+ full time equivalent (FTE) students, a half-time counselor for high schools with 100-299 FTE students, and a contracted consultant for high schools with 1-99 FTE students. A written guidance plan is followed specifying personnel and procedures used to provide counseling services for elementary and middle schools.

      1. A person assigned as a full time or part time guidance counselor or consultant satisfies one of the following criteria:
        a) Is certified in guidance or is certifiable; or
        b) Has a degree in a suitable area with sufficient experience or training in guiding students in educational matters to warrant their appointment; in such cases, to warrant assignment to this important task, the school head shall verify in writing for submission to the visiting team chair the reasons for the appointment.

      2. A person assigned as a full time or part time college admissions counselor satisfies one of the following criteria:
        a) Is certified in guidance or is certifiable; or
        b) Has a degree in a suitable area with sufficient experience or training in guiding students in educational matters to warrant their appointment; in such cases, to warrant assignment to this important task, the school head shall verify in writing for submission to the visiting team chair the reasons for the appointment.

      3. Elementary and Middle schools will follow a written guidance plan specifying personnel and procedures.

    11. The school provides access for all students to comprehensive technology and media services and personnel that support the curricular and instructional programs.

      1. As an information resource center, the school may choose to maintain either of the following:

        • A traditional library/media center with allowance to make digital additions to its services, rather than acquiring additional, traditional print media.
        • An information resource center providing digital information that has some criteria equivalent to the standards that now exist for print materials.

        1. The information resource center (IRC) offers instruction and research training in both print and electronic resources.

        2. The IRC has policies and procedures which reflect the school’s Christian philosophy in the selection of books and materials and contains a selection and review policy to evaluate the appropriateness of materials for student use.

        3. The lRC contains a minimum of 1,500 usable and acceptable library volumes or 10 volumes per student, whichever is greater; or provides equivalent information resources, either through a combination of print and digital resources, or digital resources.

        4. The lRC maintains a comprehensive and balanced information and media collection in print and digital formats balanced in variety and adequate in quantity to meet the needs of the school’s curriculum and instructional presentations.

        5. The IRC ensures that all students and staff members have regular, ready access to information and media services, materials, and equipment.

        6. The IRC properly catalogs its holdings.

        7. The IRC maintains an annual budget that includes sufficient expenditures to support a comprehensive, balanced, and growing information and media collection.

        8. The IRC ensures that the information and media staff collaborates with other professional staff members to attain maximum benefit from the resources.

        9. The IRC possesses a policy and procedure for responding to challenged materials.

        10. The IRC possesses and publishes a policy on acceptable use of the Internet.

        11. The IRC provides for Early Childhood centers either centralized or decentralized information resources for the children. (see Strand 7 Early Childhood for further specifics.)

      2. The school assigns personnel to the information resource center according to a formula based upon student population.

        1. If enrollment is 400 or more full-time equivalent students (FTE), a full-time information resource specialist is employed.

        2. If the enrollment is 100 to 399 (FTE), a half-time information resource specialist is employed

        3. If the enrollment is less than 100 (FTE), an information resource consultant,who consults monthly (regularly) to assist non-qualified staff in planning, instruction, and management for information resource, is retained.

        4. Early childhood stand-alone programs are exempt from library/media and information resource personnel qualifications.

      3. The school assigns personnel to the information resource center who have professional training.

        1. A full-time information services specialist or consultant satisfies one of the following criteria:
          1. has state certification in library/media science or information services, or
          2. is certifiable in library/media science, or information services, or
          3. has a degree in library/media science or information services, or documentation of active pursuit of such; or,
          4. has an academic and/or professional background and experience sufficient to warrant assignment to this position which is verified in writing for the visiting team chair.

        2. A part-time information services specialist satisfies one of the following criteria:
          1. completed a minimum of 12 credit hours in library/media science or information services, or
          2. has an academic background and experience to warrant assignment to this position which is verified in writing for submission to the visiting team chair.

        3. Early childhood stand-alone programs are exempt from information resource personnel qualifications.

    12. The school establishes and maintains student discipline processes, dress codes, and student behavior expectations that are appropriate in nature, are clearly defined in written form, are fairly and consistently implemented, are documented when necessary, and are distributed to the school families, faculty, and staff. These include important topics including attendance, suspension and expulsion, substance abuse, and sexual harassment. The school monitors its climate and campus, and consistently takes steps to ensure they are conducive to safe and unhindered learning.

    13. Member schools are encouraged to accept credit for academic work accomplished at schools accredited by a recognized accrediting agency (see below for definition of recognized accrediting agency).

      Member schools will not award academic credit for course work completed under a private tutor or a non-accredited program unless validated by either an End-Of-Course Assessment (EOCA) approved by the receiving school or by the student’s performance as validated during at least one grading period in the receiving school. This does not apply to students taking online courses offered by accredited delivery programs.

      Recognized Accrediting Agencies:

      • Regional Accrediting Agencies: SACS, MSSA, NCACS, NEACS, WACS, NWACS
      • Member Accrediting Agencies of the Florida Association of Academic Nonpublic Schools (FAANS)
      • Member Accrediting Agencies of the National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA)

Accreditation Strand #5
Assessment

Gathering, codifying, and using results

  1. The school has adopted and uses a comprehensive process that monitors, documents, and assesses (1) student performance based on adopted expectations/objectives for learning, (2) the effectiveness of curriculum and instruction in meeting those expectations/objectives, and (3) overall school effectiveness.

    The school uses the information yielded by this process to determine improvements needed to increase overall student performance and to provide timely and accurate information to administrators, teachers, students, and parents about student performance, instructional effectiveness, and overall school effectiveness. It also tracks and reports the results of the school’s overall improvement efforts and provides the data necessary to lead the school to increasing improvement.

    Standards

    1. The school employs a comprehensive assessment program that provides for analysis and review of student performance and school effectiveness.

    2. The school establishes performance measures based on adopted instructional objectives for student learning that provide information that is concrete, accurate, reliable, and valid, rather than individual or institutional subjective opinions or perceptions.

    3. The school has a written student assessment plan that serves as the basis for how the school (a) constructs student assessments, (b) conducts student assessments, and (c) uses the results of student assessments for determining student progress/needs, improving instruction, and improving curricular offerings.

    4. The school gathers, analyzes, and uses student assessment data for determining instructional and learning effectiveness and uses the results for making decisions for continuous improvement of teaching and learning processes.

    5. The school communicates the results of student performance, instructional effectiveness, and overall school effectiveness to all pertinent stakeholders in a reporting process as determined by the school’s governing board. This includes sending to parents and guardians periodic progress reports, quarterly and semester academic reports, and annually the results of a national norm-referenced test. Parent conferences are held at least annually in at least grades Pre-K through 5 to discuss individual student progress.

    6. The school conducts annually a national norm-referenced test for grades selected by the school and sends results to parents annually.

    7. The school documents the use of nationally norm-referenced test that includes: (a) what instrument(s) is(are) used, (b) when it is administered, (c) how the results are used for determining individual student progress/needs, and (d) how the results are used for for curriculum modification and improving instruction.

    8. The school demonstrates through objective data proven growth and improvement in student performance, instructional effectiveness, and overall school effectiveness.

    9. The school seeking common core aligned accreditation has incorporated Florida Common Core Standards into its curriculum.

    10. The school seeking common core aligned accreditation conducts annual criterion reference testing that is published by a nationally-recognized agency and is in alignment with the Florida Common Core Standards.

    11. The school seeking common core aligned accreditation has a written plan for national criterion reference testing that includes (a) what nationally-recognized instrument(s) is(are) used, (b) when administered, (c) how the results are used for determining individual student progress/needs, and (d) how the results are used for curriculum modification and improving instruction.

Accreditation Strand #6
Documenting Resources & Systems

Personnel, material, and financial concerns

  1. The school allocates sufficient material, personnel, and financial resources to implement, support, and achieve its mission, vision, and comprehensive plan for continuous school effectiveness and improvement. The school employs and assigns administrative, instructional, and support staff who are qualified for their assignments, and provides professional development programs to improve their effectiveness. The school complies with applicable local, state, and federal laws, rules, and regulations.

    Standards

    1. The school complies with all national, state, and local laws for health, safety, sanitation, and background screening in order to maintain a safe and healthy environment.

      1. The school complies with all national, state, and local laws relating to communicable diseases, including OSHA requirements regarding blood-borne pathogens.

      2. The school complies with all applicable national, state, and local health, safety, and sanitation codes including immunization records, food service regulations, fire inspections, and asbestos and radon inspection, and background screening as prescribed by Florida law.

      3. The school maintains a file of annual health, safety, sanitation, and fire inspections to verify compliance with state law.

      4. The school practices a process for screening potential administrators, teachers, and support staff that complies with state law and takes every precaution to protect the school community from potentially abusive persons, including Level II background screening and letters of reference.

      5. The school requires a minimum of 10% of the staff members be trained in first aid and CPR procedures. One staff member or designated adult with up-to-date training in first aid and CPR must be present at all school activities.

      6. The school operates a well-equipped clinic area, which is under the direct supervision of a staff member or school volunteer. Clinic equipment must include cots, first aid supplies, and thermometers. Emergency procedures must be clearly defined and posted.

      7. The school dispenses prescription medication through a registered nurse, a physician’s assistant, or a physician according to a written training plan adopted by the school; prescription medication may only be dispensed from its original container and accompanied by a physician’s prescription and written parental permission; a log of dispensed prescription medications must be maintained; prescription medications must be stored in a locked cabinet or in a locked container in a refrigerator. FDA-approved oral non-prescription (over-the-counter) or sample drugs will be dispensed only when accompanied by written orders from a licensed medical doctor, advanced registered nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Florida Statute 1006.062 is the reference for medication guidelines.

      8. The school trains the professional and volunteer staff annually in child abuse reporting procedures in accordance with state and local regulations (FS 1012.98(12)).

      9. The school establishes, publishes, and practices written procedures for the access and release of students to non-custodial parties, and that controls visitor access to the school.

      10. The school employs arrival and dismissal schedules and parking and traffic patterns designed to provide reasonable procedures for the safety of all students.

      11. The school meets all national, state, and local fire and emergency codes.

      12. The school posts emergency access numbers in a highly visible manner at each telephone.

      13. The school Installs and maintains fire extinguishers in sufficient numbers and properly placed throughout the school, that are maintained and inspected regularly in accordance with local and state fire codes; staff members are adequately trained in their use.

      14. The school develops and maintains a written crisis management plan in which all employees are regularly trained and appropriate drills conducted.

        1. The school inspects the campus for possible breeches in security and maintains and instructs a process for the school community in lockdown and evacuation procedures, and reporting incidents to the general public.

        2. The school carries out safety/emergency drills (i.e. fire, tornado, lockdown, bomb threat) for students at all levels, and a log of such drills is maintained; the log contains the date of the drill, the number of students participating, the time required for any evacuation necessary, and any special conditions that occurred.

        3. The school conducts student attendance at each drill at all grade levels, either after students have evacuated buildings or in individual rooms during lockdown

        4. The school inspects at the outset of the drill the entire interior of the school facilities to make certain that no persons are left behind, which adheres to a written plan that is in place to guide the process.

        5. The school holds emergency drills with required frequency throughout the year.

          1. Tornado drills are held once each semester.

          2. Lockdown drills are held once each quarter

          3. Fire drills are held monthly, with the initial drill held within the first 15 days of the start of the school year, and escape routes are posted in each classroom and school office area;

      15. The school complies with transportation procedures and requirements:

        1. Every driver of a school vehicle must have a valid driver’s license and be approved according to the school’s established safe driver policy.

        2. All school-operated vehicles are well maintained, inspected every six months, and meet required state standards for safety. The school complies with all state laws regulating school transportation and with the manufacturer’s passenger capacity limits.


        3. Adequate liability insurance is carried on all vehicles, including those contracted and used for student transportation, with a minimum amount of vehicular coverage per occurrence based on the following enrollments:

          • 1–200 students: $2,000,000
          • 201–500 students: $3,000,000
          • 501+ students: $5,000,00
        4. Attendance is taken and recorded before children board a vehicle for transportation on a field trip, athletic event, or other school-sponsored activity, and attendance is again taken upon returning to the school after all students have been safely dismissed from the vehicle.

    2. The school employs, assigns, mentors, and monitors quality instructional, administrative, and support staff capable by training and experience of fulfilling their specific assigned roles and responsibilities.

      1. In determining what is conceived to be suitable preparation for assigning administrative and teaching positions in schools accredited by Christian Schools of Florida, specific expectations for personnel exist.

        1. A close walk with God is the prerequisite for representing Jesus Christ in the classroom and throughout the school, as demonstrated by active church membership and a lifestyle which is consistent with biblical principles and moral commandments.

        2. Teachers, administrator, and staff personnel must be born again with clear testimonies for Christ and must evidence a sense of God’s calling to serve Him in the Christian school.

        3. The teachers and staff must affirm the mission statement of Christian Schools of Florida and its understanding of transformational education.

        4. The relationships of all personnel with students, parents, colleagues, the administration, and the board must be open and positive, fostering cooperative relationships within the school.

      2. The school ensures that its administrative personnel have appropriate credentials.

        1. The administrative head of school must hold a graduate degree and meet one of the following requirements:

          1. The head of school, in addition to holding a graduate degree, must be certified in educational leadership, supervision, and/or administration, or have earned at least 18 semester hours of credit in educational leadership, supervision, and/or administration either as part of or in addition to that degree.

          2. The head of school, if not certified in educational leadership, supervision, and/or administration, or has not earned at least 18 semester hours of credit in educational leadership, supervision, and/or administration, in addition to holding a graduate degree, must have specific skills, training, or executive experience; in this instance, the school shall have a qualified instructional administrator or principal with authority to oversee the instructional program and meeting the qualifications of a principal/instructional leader. (ES 6.2.2.2)

          3. Administrative heads of schools that do not hold the required graduate degree, or have not earned the specified credits in educational leadership, supervision, and/or administration, and who serve as the instructional leader of the school, must be actively enrolled in a program that leads to meeting the requirement within three years.

        2. Principals and instructional leaders must meet one of the following requirements:

          1. Principals or instructional administrators, in addition to holding a graduate degree in business, education, or divinity, must be certified or certifiable in administration, supervision, or educational leadership; or

          2. Principals and instructional administrators must be actively engaged in a graduate program leading to certification or be certifiable in administration, supervision, or educational leadership within four years of accreditation.

        3. Early childhood directors of CSF accredited programs must meet the following requirements:

          1. The EC Director must possess a state mandated Director’s Credential, OR

          2. Have earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher which includes:
            1) six (6) credit hours in early childhood education/child development, OR
            2) passing the FTCE Subject Area Examination (SAE) for Preschool Education Birth-Age 4 or Pre-Kindergarten/Primary PK-3.

          3. The EC Director must complete ten clock-hours of in-service training annually.

        4. Early childhood directors of non-accredited programs must meet the following requirements:

          1. EC Director must meet the requirements of CSF accredited program directors, OR

          2. Have a high school diploma, and:

            • Have completed the DCF Introductory Child Care Training, and
            • Complete the DCF “Special Needs Appropriate Practices” course, and
            • Be working towards obtaining an active Staff Credential Verification, and
            • Complete the “Overview of Child Care Management” course within the first year of employment, and
            • Meet the requirements of CSF accredited program directors within two (2) years as a CSF Associate Member school.
          3. The EC Director must complete ten clock-hours of in-service training annually.

      3. The school ensures that the Grades K-12 instructional staff have appropriate credentials.

        1. Teachers in grades K-12 must hold a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree, and be teaching the major part of the day in the fields for which they are academically prepared, OR

        2. Teachers in grades K-12 must be state or nationally certified in the field of their major assignment, OR

        3. Teachers in grades K-12 must hold a Bachelor’s Degree and have exceptional experience or expertise in their teaching assignment.

        4. If non-degreed, teachers in grades K-12 who possess exceptional experience or expertise may be assigned to disciplines other than English, mathematics, social studies, and science. A school may have up to 20% of FTE teachers designated as this exceptional category in academic classes.

        5. In Classical Christian schools, teachers of the omnibus component must hold a Bachelor’s Degree in one of the core courses of the component or have a Bachelor’s Degree with exceptional experience or expertise in their teaching assignment.

        6. The school head shall provide written rationale of justification to the CSF accreditation chair to validate exceptions exercised for teachers designated as exceptional. (See non-degreed and classical school exceptions)

        7. Teachers who have not completed a supervised internship must be enrolled in a professional training program designed by the school containing the equivalency of 9 credits in professional education and must complete the program within three years.

      4. The Early Childhood Program ensures that the instructional staff have appropriate credentials.

        1. Early Childhood teachers of two through four-year-old children in both CSF-accredited and non-accredited schools must meet the following requirements:

          1. Must have completed the DCF Introductory Child Care Training, and

          2. Have a Florida Child Care Staff Credential, OR

          3. Have a Florida Child Care Professional Certificate (FCCPC), OR

          4. Have a National Child Care Development Associate (CDA), OR

          5. Have earned a Bachelor’s Degree or higher which includes:

            • six (6) credit hours in early childhood education/child development, or
            • passing the FTCE Subject Area Examination (SAE) for Preschool Education Birth-Age 4 or Pre-Kindergarten/Primary PK-3 or for any age, birth through 6th grade

          6. Assistant teachers of two- to four-year-old children must complete the DCF Introductory Child Care Training.

          7. Early childhood teachers and assistant teachers must complete ten clock-hours of in-service training annually.

    3. The school engages all professional staff in a program of continuous professional development.

      1. All classroom teachers and instructional administrators engage in professional development, meeting the equivalent of 120 inservice points/hours every five years of employment in one of the following ways:

        • earn six(6) semester credit hours
        • earn three (3) semester credit hours and sixty (60) in-service hours
        • complete one hundred and twenty (120) inservice hours.
          The FLDOE considers the successful completion of Subject Area Exams (SAE) as fulfillment of inservice points. See fldoe.org for further information.

      2. In-service hours must be approved and documented by the school head or academic principal and kept in the personnel files of the school or on the CSF online Master Inservice Program (MIP).
 (School heads verify inservice points with the FDOE for their teachers wanting renewal of certificates by submitting the CT116 form to the FDOE.)

    4. The school provides sufficient staff in number to meet the mission, vision and purpose of the school.

      1. The school provides sufficient administrative staff.

        1. A school employing fewer than five full-time teachers has one assigned teaching administrative officer with a minimum of 20% release-time to perform administrative duties in a professional and effective manner.

        2. A school employing five to fourteen full-time teachers (or an equivalent with use of part-time teachers) has an assigned administrative officer with at least 50% release time to perform administrative duties in a professional and effective manner.

        3. A school employing fifteen or more full-time teachers has an assigned full-time chief administrative officer and, if necessary, sufficient administrative support staff to perform administrative duties in a professional and effective manner.

        4. Schools maintaining facilities on separate sites have an assigned administrator at each site in accordance with the standard listed above.

      2. The school provides sufficient instructional staff.

        1. The teaching faculty must be of sufficient number and its work distributed in a manner so as to implement the full program of the school satisfactorily. Attention must be given to the appropriateness of class size and teacher-student ratio insofar as they relate to acceptable teaching conditions, methods and student loads. The school’s program and instruction must be so designed that it meets the abilities, needs and interests of individual students consistent with the philosophy of the school.

      3. The school provides sufficient support staff.

        1. The school must be sufficiently staffed in all necessary administrative and instructional support areas to promote its professional, efficient and safe operations. (Support staff may include instructional, secretarial, clerical, maintenance/custodial, transport, and food service personnel.)

    5. The school budgets and raises sufficient financial resources to enable the ongoing implementation of the mission, vision and purpose of the school, and its improvement plan. [Note: While specific items from time to time will have to be delayed or modified due to the absence of sufficient resources, normally the budget of the school should reflect the importance and priority of the School Effectiveness and Improvement Plan (SESIP) by assigning sufficient funds to achieve its accomplishment.]

      1. The school’s fund-raising and resource development activities are documented and handled in a legal, ethical, and professional manner.

      2. The school is covered by liability insurance.

        1. Premises and vehicular liability insurance provides $1,000,000 coverage as a minimum and, based on student enrollment, provides a minimum amount of umbrella coverage as follows:

          • 1–200: $2,000,000
          • 201–500: $3,000,000
          • 501–up: $5,000,000

        2. Sufficient property insurance to cover the value of the school’s existing contents and structure(s), which may be provided through a commercial policy or through self-insurance. Documentation of coverage is maintained, either through a commercial policy or an ongoing line item in the operating budget of the school.

      3. The school’s compensation policies (including salary schedules and other benefits) are available to and understood by the employees.

      4. The school must participate in the Federal Social Security Program.

      5. The school avoids situations considered by Christian Schools of Florida to be violations of sound fiscal management:

        1. Current liabilities in excess of current assets

        2. Absence of a definite plan for repayment of debt, including the payment of the principal, as well as the interest

        3. A debt in such an amount that the school does not have the ability to repay.

        4. A substantial portion of overall debt with provisions for a “balloon” repayment

        5. A debt that is payable on demand to the lender

        6. Any significant delinquent contracted debt that is owed to a staff member, officer, or trustee of the school, as well as late payments of salaries to employees and/or payments to vendors

        7. Three consecutive years of operation at a deficit (greater than 3% of budget)

        8. A deficit evidenced by the end of the year financial statements without a plan to reverse the trend or eliminate the deficit

        9. Any significant downtrend in enrollment without justifiable reasons

    6. The school provides protection for board members through directors and operators insurance, and school personnel through adequate liability insurance.

    7. The school conducts all financial transactions within CSF’s suggested best practices audited accounting system, including an annual financial report reviewed by a licensed CPA using one of required monitoring methods. The CPA may not be a member of the faculty, staff, or governing board of the school.

      1. The school’s finances are reviewed and documented annually by an outside licensed CPA using one of the following:

        • a financial review
        • a compiled financial statement
        • a reviewed financial statement
        • an audited financial statement

      2. The financial documentation from the previous fiscal year is be presented to the accreditation team during the year of accreditation or re-accreditation. (Christian Schools of Florida reserves the right to require an audited financial statement sealed by an outside Florida-licensed CPA.)

      3. At a minimum, the school adheres to professional accounting practices by having the following procedures performed, as applicable: (See Form MF-6 in Members Only> Downloads for CSF Best Practices Questionnaire.)

        1. There is a timely adoption of budgets and periodic review of budgets and actual results.

        2. Accounting functions are properly segregated.

        3. Expenditures are adequately documented and reviewed by the proper supervisory official prior to rendering payment.

        4. Invoices are timely paid.

        5. Invoices are voided to avoid duplicate payments.

        6. Checks are only signed by authorized individuals.

        7. The school has an acceptable policy for when two signatures are required.

        8. Receipts are timely deposited and posted to the school’s accounting system.

        9. Tuition receivables are monitored and policy is in place for uncollectible accounts (policy exists for who determines when a tuition receivable is written-off and such transactions are properly documented).

        10. Bank reconciliations are performed in a timely manner and periodically reviewed by someone other than the preparer (for example: finance manager, headmaster, board treasurer).

    8. The school maintains the physical plant and related fields, parking areas, and equipment to provide a safe, clean, pleasant, and orderly environment for learning and instructing, in compliance with local, state, and federal laws, rules, and regulations.

      1. The school maintains a physical plant that is free of hazards to safety, such as unfenced danger areas, unlit stairwells, open waterways, and unprotected propane gas tanks.

        1. Toilet facilities are adequate to the population, are properly ventilated and cleaned, and in compliance with applicable state and local codes.

        2. Sanitary drinking fountains are provided at convenient locations and sufficient in number to meet county building codes.

        3. Classroom furniture is sufficient in amount and appropriate for the age and size of the pupils,and is kept in good repair.

        4. Dining and kitchen areas are well equipped and comply with county health and safety regulations.

        5. Outdoor play and recreational areas provide ample space and shade for a variety of activities suited to the needs of the students and meet state and local codes.

        6. Outdoor play equipment is kept in safe condition through a regular plan of inspection and repair, and is adequate in quantity and age-appropriateness for student use.

        7. A program for daily housekeeping and maintenance is be scheduled, practiced, and supervised, and its quality assures the health and safety of students and staff.

        8. All cleaning supplies, chemicals, and gardening and maintenance tools and equipment are safely stored in locked areas out of the reach and access of students.

        9. Lighting and heating/ventilation systems must meet county building codes.

    9. The school utilizes a written emergency action/security plan with periodic training of all personnel and students and with regularly scheduled practice drills.

    10. The school maintains a secure, accurate, and complete student record system that guards against unauthorized manipulation of data, and complies with institutional, state, and federal policies and regulations; the student record system is housed in a secure and fire-resistant facility and/or in electronic format at a secure location off campus, and contains permanent and current records showing each child’s name, address, parent or guardian’s name(s), telephone numbers (home, work and emergency), attendance, birth certificate or notarized affidavit of birthdate, physicals and immunizations, cumulative academic progress, periodic progress reports to parents, and individual results on standardized tests.

    11. The school adheres to all legal and ethical considerations regarding the content and release of information to the public.

    12. The school shall transfer, should the school become defunct, all permanent information contained in student records to the district school superintendent of the public school district in which the private school was located; or shall transfer that information to the executive director of Christian Schools of Florida (FL Statute 1002.42).

Accreditation Strand #7
Early Childhood

Child Development and Learning

  1. The early childhood school program addresses all domains of child development and learning, including spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional and physical growth. The curriculum, teaching strategies, and environment reflect research-based knowledge about the way children develop and learn. The school provides a safe, positive learning environment in which children can experience the wonder of God’s world through developmentally appropriate activities.

    Early childhood programs that are exempt from licensing under FS402.316 shall be subject to these standards.

    Standards

    1. The Early Childhood Program successfully demonstrates compliance with the Early Childhood Health and Safety Standards as evidenced by an up-to-date inspection by CSF using the EC-1 Checklist or by regular inspections as otherwise required by home-rule counties (Broward, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota).

      1. The program shall send an annual notarized statement by October 1 of each year assuring substantial compliance with the health and safety requirements of Christian Schools of Florida. The statement should be sent via email to the early childhood director of Christian Schools of Florida, using form EC-7.

      2. The program shall be visited ONCE each year in the fall annually for inspection by a representative of Christian Schools of Florida. Schools with VPK or Gold Seal programs will be inspected TWICE each year with an additional visit in the winter/spring. Schools will be invoiced $100.00 per visit each year. This fee must be paid within thirty (30) days of receiving the invoice for the visit.

      3. Persons conducting visits to early childhood programs to assure compliance with CSF standards will be paid travel expenses from the inspection fee. The CSF inspector shall use Miscellaneous Form #4 CSF Expense Voucher [located at Members Only>Downloads>MF-4] and present the expense voucher to the CSF Bookkeeper for payment.

      4. If not in compliance with the Christian Schools of Florida EC health and safety requirements, the program shall normally be given ten (10) working days to come into compliance, unless it is a serious issue endangering the safety and/or health of children. If the latter, the program shall be given at the determination of the inspector from one (1) to five (5) working days to come into compliance.

      5. If a program operated by a school holding associate membership in Christian Schools of Florida fails to come into compliance after the time period stipulated in the previous item, its certificate of exemption from licensing shall be revoked and the Department of Children and Families will be notified that the program’s qualification from exemption from licensing has been revoked.

      6. If a program operated by a school holding accredited membership in Christian Schools of Florida fails to come into compliance after the time period stipulated in the previous item, it shall be placed immediately in “Probation Status” by Christian Schools of Florida, its certificate of exemption from licensing shall be revoked, and the Department of Children and Families will be notified that the program’s qualification for exemption from licensing has been revoked.

    2. The Early Childhood Program, in implementing the curriculum, utilizes developmentally-appropriate practices which address each individual child’s spiritual, social, emotional, physical, and academic growth.

      1. The Early Childhood Program meets specific requirements for instructional divisions in Early Childhood Programs.

        1. The EC Program for two-year-olds should first provide the child with a sense of security. Emphasis should be placed on the experience rather than the outcome or mastery of skills. Daily schedules should be flexible, while maintaining a general routine. A well-maintained diapering area must be provided, which adheres to state requirements.

        2. The EC Program for three-year-olds places more emphasis on social interaction among the children and less on academic skills. A variety of activities utilizing interest centers, units and thematic topics in a combination of group and individual instruction are included. The different developmental levels and needs of each child are taken into consideration.

        3. The EC Program for four-year-olds should be similar to the program for three year olds, with more emphasis on kindergarten readiness, while still utilizing interest centers, units and thematic topics in a combination of group and individual instruction. The different developmental levels and needs of each child are taken into consideration.

        4. The EC program for five-year-old kindergarten within an early childhood center, is varied and flexible, emphasizing academic readiness and social interaction. It demonstrates a balance of play, discovery, manipulation and participation, and takes into consideration the different developmental levels and needs of each child.

      2. The Early Childhood Program meets specific requirements regarding the selection and implementation of the Early Childhood curriculum.

        1. Curriculum Guide: The curriculum used by an early education program consists of written goals and objectives drawn from researched-based developmental benchmarks. It is reviewed on an annual basis.

        2. LessonsPlans: Instructional staff develop lesson plans for each class/age group that reflect the goals and objectives of the curriculum. Plans are developed through consultation and shared ideas with other colleagues who communicate frequently to ensure smooth operations.

        3. Balanced Program—Indoor and Outdoor Play: The curriculum is designed to meet the physical needs of each child. The curriculum includes a balance of indoor and outdoor play opportunities to enable the children to develop gross-motor skills.

        4. Motor Skills: The curriculum results in lesson plans that provide opportunities for children to develop fine- and gross-motor skills.

        5. Social/Emotional Development: The curriculum and environment provide opportunities to foster the social/emotional development of children through respectful interactions with children by frequently, making eye contact and using clear, correct language patterns, and affectionate, supportive words. Staff-child interactions are an integral part of the social development of children’s emotional development which is exemplified by a supportive and comfortable environment where they can be relaxed, happy, and involved in play and other activities.

        6. Balanced Activities: The curricular practices provide for a balance of active and quiet activities including large-group (teacher-directed), small-group (teacher/child-interactive), and individual-choice (child-initiated) activities throughout the day.

        7. Length of Group Times: The length of group times is appropriate for the age and development of the children in the class. In mixed-age groupings, accommodations and flexibility meet the needs of each age group included in the class.

        8. Use of Transition Activities: Staff uses transition activities to move the children from one activity to another throughout the day. Transitional tools may include songs, poems, or other signs that children recognize as signaling a change of activity.

        9. Materials and Equipment: Ample developmentally-appropriate materials and equipment are provided to support the learning objectives of the program’s scope and sequence. Materials and equipment may include but are not limited to manipulatives, puzzles, building materials, musical instruments, creative art materials, sand and water tables, dolls, and other props that support the educational objectives.

        10. Small Group and Large Group Instruction: Ample opportunities for children to interact independently, in small groups and in large groups, are provided in order to help meet social/ emotional needs of children.

        11. Involving the Children: Instructional staff initiates interaction with children who are not engaged in order to stimulate and expand the involvement of these children in the classroom offerings.

        12. Healthy Nutrition in Curriculum: Curricular plans include ensuring children learn about healthy nutrition through experience and instruction, as appropriate to the program.

        13. Good Health Practices: Children are made aware of good health practices. Methods may include the use of related daily routines by teachers, teacher example, visits to health facilities or from health care professionals, and other curricular presentations appropriate to the program’s curriculum.

        14. Disciplinary Policies and Practices: The program’s discipline policy is clearly articulated in a written document. The policy employs interactive procedures such as redirection, reflective listening, adult role modeling, and positive reinforcement. Corporal punishment or demeaning practices are not used.

        15. Hand Washing and Cleanliness: Hand-washing techniques are appropriately taught as part of the curriculum. Specifically, hand-washing always precedes eating, and children regularly wash hands after bathroom use and outside activities.

        16. Proper Use of Media and Technology: Media (especially videos) is used on a limited basis, and is used particularly for the reinforcement of a teaching topic.

        17. Receptive and Expressive Language Experiences: Receptive and expressive language experiences appropriate to the development of children are provided throughout the day. Children in the preschool classes are provided with increased exposure to print and active experiences that support the development of listening and speaking concepts and skills.

        18. Print-Rich Environment: Teachers provide daily interactions with labels, signs, and/or other forms of print, and read aloud to the children. They provide exposure to the sounds and names of the letters of the alphabet.

        19. Vocabulary and Comprehension Development: The instructional staff consciously works to help children develop vocabulary and comprehension. They verbally interact with the children to guide them in the acquisition of new and expanded vocabulary, in anticipating outcomes, and in comprehension of what they have heard. This may include (1) “What if?” type questions to help children anticipate outcomes, (2) recall of a story, and (3) other verbal interactions that help the children understand sequence (building memory), interaction between characters, etc.

        20. Phonemic Awareness: Children begin to develop a phonemic awareness through understanding that words are made up of a combination of sounds. Lesson plans reflect a variety of songs, finger plays, stories, and games that have rhyming words and alliteration to strengthen phonemic awareness.

        21. Alphabet: Children are exposed to the form and function of the alphabet through opportunities such as tracing shapes, copying or writing letters, and practicing writing names.

        22. Mathematical Activities: The instructional staff plan activities that expose children daily to math activities such as sorting and classifying concrete objects; recognizing and identify likenesses and differences; recognizing first, middle, and last; using opposite concepts such as long and short, in and out, up and down, over and under, and top and bottom; and using concepts of quantity, such as more than and less than.

        23. Mathematical Concepts: The instructional staff plan ample opportunities for children to be exposed to basic math concepts such as numbers and numeration through counting; placing objects in one-to-one correspondence; grouping objects by color, shape, or other characteristics; patterning; and recognizing numbers in their environment.

        24. Sensory-Rich Environment: The early childhood classroom is a sensory-rich environment, and it includes numerous objects and organisms with which the students can interact. Opportunities are provided throughout the day for children to use their senses for observing and learning about objects, events, and organisms. Instructional staff help children to perform simple investigations and to describe their observations.

        25. Advancement of Social Skills: Instructional staff promotes the advancement of social skills and positive dispositions by offering numerous opportunities for children to learn about themselves and others.

        26. Communication and Interaction: Instructional staff foster positive communication and interaction as preschoolers actively engage in a variety of such learning experiences as taking turns, playing simple small-group games, and performing daily routines.

        27. Cultural Diversity: Instructional staff provide opportunities and activities that expose children to cultural diversity.

        28. Library: Early education programs may have either a centralized or decentralized library utilized by the children. The library should contain a minimum of 10 quality, hard bound books per child. Selection of the books shall be determined in accordance with the developmental needs of the young child. Early childhood stand-alone programs are exempt from library/media personnel qualifications.

        29. Musical Experiences: The curriculum daily provides age-appropriate opportunities to expose children in each age group to a variety of musical experiences—including child-initiated ones—such as singing, listening, rhythmic movements, and playing rhythm instruments.

        30. Creative Arts: The curriculum daily provides opportunities to expose children in each age group to a variety of age-appropriate creative arts experiences—including child-initiated ones—such as painting, gluing items together to create art, cutting for design purposes, combining mediums, molding with clay, and creating one’s own stories, plays, and other dramatic activities.

        31. Curriculum Involvement and Training: Instructional staff is trained in the use and deliverance of the curriculum. Opportunities for instructional staff to share their suggestions and ideas regarding the curriculum are provided regularly and at least annually.

    3. The Early Childhood Program ensures that the children’s progress is measured through the use of a variety of developmentally-appropriate assessment techniques and reported with supporting documentation.

      1. Continuous Student Assessment: Ongoing assessment of children’s progress takes place and is used to plan activities for individual children and for groups of children. Children’s progress is reported with supporting documentation.

      2. Variety of Assessment Techniques: The program recognizes that instructional improvement, as evidenced by the progress of children, requires the use of multiple tools for assessment. Assessment should include such tools of evidence as the following:

        • Samples of children’s concrete learning explorations (writing and art projects) and sketches of constructions with blocks or sand
        • Photographs, audio recordings, and videos of children engaged in play while alone and while in groups in a variety of situations and of children otherwise engaged in interactions with others
        • Written observations such as time and event samplings of children’s interactions, individual and group activities and language while alone and in groups
        • A checklist of developmental levels and behaviors, on which to mark children’s progress and increasing capacities across time
        • Observations that address all areas of children’s development—that is, the seven intelligences, not just cognitive development
        • Results of screenings and formal assessments
        • Individual portfolios that contain a wide array of these records and other documentation and that aid teachers in using flexibility to adapt lesson plans
        • Written assessment tools shared with parents

      3. The director ensures instructional staff are either qualified to observe children and record these observations or have aid from personnel trained in methods of observing children and recording these observations. Results of observations are used for curriculum planning after identification of each child’s stage of development, and parent/guardian conferences.

      4. An age-appropriate, research-based assessment tool is used to identify the developmental levels and growth of children.

      5. Observations of children by staff address all areas of children’s development, including but not limited to multiple intelligences, learning styles, learning preferences, and spiritual and character development.

      6. Observations of children by staff address the various learning styles, multiple intelligences, and learning preferences. Staff then use these observations to incorporate classroom activities that address the individual needs, strengths, and preferences of the children in their care.

    4. The Early Childhood Program initiates, develops, and maintains a partnership with parents through an ongoing system of communication including conferences, parent involvement, training, and referrals to community resources.

      1. The program encourages visits by parents/guardians to the school’s premises following guidelines established by the school for parent visitation. Policies governing parent/guardian involvement (e.g., visiting, observing, and volunteering) are in place to ensure the partnership between home and program is maintained.

      2. Parents/guardians of the children in the program receive a parent/guardian handbook that includes but is not limited to (1) the philosophy statement regarding the care and education of young children attending the program, including what discipline techniques will be used; (2) policies regarding holidays, illnesses, hours of operation, fees, refunds, enrollment, and termination procedures; and (3) an explanation of the program’s day-to-day functioning. Parents/guardians sign a statement acknowledging that they understand and support the program’s policies as outlined in the parent/guardian handbook.

      3. Administrators and staff communicate with the parents/guardians in a variety of ways on a regular basis: (1) daily and weekly by verbal communication or posted information; (2) monthly by newsletter and/or classroom calendar of events; and (3) through electronic communication media.

      4. Conferences with each child’s parent(s)/guardian are offered at least twice per year—and at other times as needed—to discuss the child’s developmental progress, personal care, and education. During these conferences, summaries of the results of child observation forms used during scheduled observations of the child are shared with parents/guardians. Parents/guardians are encouraged to participate in the goal-setting process for the child. Conference schedules accommodate working parents/guardians.

      5. Significant changes in a child’s pattern of behavior and/or physical condition are reported to the parent(s)/guardian(s), documented, and placed in the child’s file.

      6. Parent Training Programs: The program director plans and implements regularly scheduled parent/guardian programs that support parents/guardians in their parenting role and reinforce the mission of the program. These programs take place at least quarterly.

      7. The director is familiar with community services and resources regarding children with specific needs and provides this information to parents/guardians. The director and staff work collaboratively with community agencies in providing information as needed.

      8. All early care and education program stakeholders are given the opportunity to complete a survey in which they’re asked to evaluate the quality of program administration. An electronic or paper survey form is sent along with an explanation of the purpose for the survey as an integral part of the program and solicits their full participation. Stakeholders are asked to return the completed survey either electronically or through a sealed response in an enclosed, pre-stamped or addressed envelope.

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