Accreditation Standards

("**" indicates that additional notes are included in the attached Explanatory Addenda)


Article I. Eligibility for Membership and Affiliate Membership

A. Any Texas Christian preschool, elementary, middle, or high school, or system of schools is eligible to seek accreditation by ACTABS. The combination of grades offered must be contiguous and consistent with the philosophy of the school.** B. Types of membership:

1. Regular Membership - A Christian school seeking accreditation and membership must maintain one or more of the following:

a. Affiliation with a church which is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas

b. Affiliation with a church which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention

c. Affiliation with a local association of churches affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas

d. Affiliation directly with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

** 2. Affiliate Membership -

A Christian school not meeting the membership requirements of I.


B.1 (above) may become accredited and an affiliate member of ACTABS provided it meets all other standards. An affiliate member pays dues, may attend meetings of ACTABS, has advisory, however, does not have voting rights.


C. Any school seeking accreditation must be a member in good standing of the Texas Association of Baptist Schools.


** D. The entire school, consisting of all grades currently offered (K-12 with preschool optional), must be evaluated for accreditation initially, and all grades must have been operating successfully for at least two (2) years prior to the site visit. If an accredited school adds grades, the new grades must operate successfully for a minimum of one (1) year. The new grades will remain unaccredited until a request by the school is made for a team visit and approval by a majority vote ofACTABS. The accreditation of the rest of the school will remain in effect while the new grade is undergoing the accreditation process.


** E. Provisional High School Accreditation POLICY FOR ACTABS ACCREDITED SCHOOLS PROVISIONAL HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAM ACCREDITATION An ACTABS accredited (K-8) school may seek provisional accreditation for a high school (9-12) program contingent upon meeting the established ACTABS Accreditation Standards and the additional guidelines listed below. Permanent accreditation for each high school grade may be granted upon successful completion of that grade as indicated in the Annual Report. Provisional high school accreditation status cannot exceed three years. A school seeking provisional accreditation must follow the Guidelines for Applicant School Administrators (Section II of the Accreditation Manual). An accreditation team visit must be scheduled during the first year of operation of the high school program. The visiting team will make a recommendation to the Standards Committee. The application must include a letter from the school governing body stating commitment to and support of a high school program which meets ACTABS Standards.


A. INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM

1. Plan for implementation of a four year high school. Should include time schedule for adding grades, classes, staff, extra-curricular activities, etc. Enrollment projections. Description of available resources and facilities.

2. The 9 -12 program must meet minimum state graduation requirements.

3. Curriculum guides for each proposed course must include the state essential elements and the following:

a. Rationale

b. Philosophy

c. Goals

d. Objectives

e. Course Description Upon completion of teaching each course, the curriculum guides must further include: student activities, teaching strategies, evaluation procedures, other resources, and bibliography.


B. ADMINISTRATION / FACULTY

1. Qualifications for administrators and faculty must meet ACTABS Standards (Article IV. A-B, and Article VI. A-G).

2. Adequate guidance counseling services must be provided for the high school program.


C. FINANCES

1. A broad-based financial plan must indicate sufficient resources to support a high quality educational program. (Article VII)


D. FACILITIES

1. Adequate and appropriate classroom space must be provided for a high school program.

2. Appropriate library and media resources must be available to support the high school program.

3. All facilities must meet ACTABS Standards as outlined in Article V.


E. LONG RANGE PLANNING FOR IMPLEMENTATION

1. A long range plan for full implementation of a four year high school program must be submitted prior to the accreditation team visit. This plan will include the following:

a. a rationale explaining the need for a high school program

b. a time schedule for adding grades, classes, staff, extra-curricular activities, etc.

c. enrollment projections

d. a description of the possible student market -- where the students will come from Accrediting Commission of Texas Association of Baptist Schools Application for Provisional High School Program Accreditation Name of School Date of Application Current Grades in School Current Enrollment Member of ACTABS since Date of Most Recent Accreditation Visit As an ACTABS accredited (K-8) school we are seeking provisional accreditation for a high school (9-12) program. We are in compliance with the established ACTABS Accreditation Standards and we are submitting the additional documentation as required on page two of this application. In addition, we are submitting a letter from our school's governing body stating their commitment to and support of a high school program which meets ACTABS Standards. We understand that an accreditation team must visit our school during the first year of operation of the high school program aud additional years as deemed necessary. The visiting team will make a recommendation to the Standards Committee who will determine the status of our Provisional Accreditation. We understand the Permanent Accreditation for each high school grade may be granted upon successful completion of that grade as indicated in our Annual Report. Signature of School Administer Date.


F. School Systems: Systems of schools will be accredited as a unit, and any portion of the system that fails the accreditation process will cause the system to remain unaccredited. The entire system, consisting of all grades at all campuses currently offered (K-12 with preschool optional), must be evaluated for accreditation initially, and all grades at each campus must have been operating successfully for at least two (2) years prior to the site visit. If an accredited system adds additional grades or campuses, the new grade/campus must be operated successfully for a minimum of one (1) year. The new grade/campus will remain unaccredited until a request is made by the school for a team visit and approval by a majority vote of ACTABS. The accreditation of the rest of the system will remain in effect while the new grade/campus is undergoing the accreditation process.


** G. Eligibility Maintenance: To maintain eligibility for membership after initial accreditation, an accredited school within two years of initial accreditation, must appoint and insure training of two commissioners who attend a training seminar at TABS Conventions, submit the Annual Report showing evidence that any deficiencies are being addressed, have an interim visit, and have a full accreditation visit a minimum of every 10 years. Consistent absence from annual ACTABS and TABS meetings and/or consistent violations of the standards will jeopardize accreditation.


** Article II. Philosophy

The school must have a stated and published philosophy. The philosophy should be reviewed periodically with several groups (i.e., governing body, administration, faculty, and/or parents.)

A. The philosophy must allow for careful attention to the academic, spiritual, and physical development of students.


** B. There must be a published statement of explicit goals emanating from and intended to implement the approved philosophy.


** C. Every policy adopted by the governing body, as well as every administrative and educational practice, is consistent with the goals and the philosophy.


D. The church or sponsoring body has approved the philosophy of the school.


** E. The philosophy should reflect a Christian perspective of education and a Christian statement of faith.


Article III. Organization and Governance

A. The school may be a legally-constituted Texas corporation or an integral part of the sponsoring church ministry.

1. If the school is a separate corporation, it must have a governing board and the actions of the governing board are legally binding on the school.

2. If the school is an integral part of the legal entity of the church, its governing board or trustees are official committee/board of the church, according to church policy, and the actions of the governing board are legally binding on the school.


B. If the school is an integral part of the church, the relationship between the church/sponsoring body and school is harmonious.

1. The church/sponsoring body may support the school financially, or may receive funds from the school for joint use of facilities and services provided. The church/sponsoring body is careful in limiting the amount of reimbursement to the reasonable cash outlay due to the operation of the school within the church/sponsoring body's facility, avoiding any possibility of receiving excess funds, such as rent or capital building depreciation reimbursement.

2. In dual use of facilities, the school staff and volunteer or professional staff are cooperative.


C. The governing body has approved and published operating policies (i.e., governing body policies, teacher manuals, student/parent handbooks, etc.). These policies guide the actions of the governing body itself as well as the administration.


D. Each school shall provide an orientation and training program for new governing body members.


** E. No single member of the governing body or church has authority to evaluate, advise, or supervise any school activity or official, unless delegated to perform a specific function by a majority of the body in official session. No single member of the governing body or church can speak definitely in the name of the school or give the appearance of directing any phase of schools operation unless so authorized by the church body.


** F. The head administrator shall be permitted to guide the school in accord with officially established policies and procedures without external (e.g. board or parent) interference.


** Article IV. Administration

A. The head administrator of the school is authorized to manage and operate all programs of the school - financial, academic, spiritual, physical, co-curricular activities, discipline, admissions, facilities, personnel, etc. - under published policies adopted by the governing body or the church body.

1. If there is no established policy in an emergency situation, the head is authorized to act according to his best judgment, but must report his actions to the board or the desiginated authority in a timely manner.

2. All school administrators have appropriate training and experience.

a. The head administrator and/or principals must have a master's degree with appropriate training (Graduate credit course work in school administration) and experience in school administration; or the head administrator and/or principals who lack a master's degree must have a minimum of a bachelors degree, three years of teaching experience, fifteen or more semesters of training in school administration, and an active plan for achieving an appropriate master's degree to meet this deficiency. A minimum of three (3) semester hours of graduate school credit in school administration is to be earned annually for five (5) years.

b. Other personnel, such as counselors, business managers, and chaplains, must have degrees, certification and/or experience appropriate to their assignments.


B. There are enough administrative and service personnel to manage the school adequately.

1. There is a principal or full-time administrator for each division (preschool, elementary, middle, high) which enrolls 350 or more pupils, and in no case must the ratio of administrators to pupils be less than 1:500.

2. Adequate guidance counseling services must be provided for middle and high schools, and the ratio of full-time counselors to pupils must not be less than 1:500. If the combined enrollment of the middle and high schools exceed 500 students, a full-time counselor is required.

3. The school provides evidence that it meets all statutory provisions for health records and assures the health and safety of its students. 4. There is a full-time librarian for a school whose enrollment in grades one through twelve is five hundred or more, and for smaller schools library service must be available. (See Article VI.A.4)

** 5. Business affairs are efficiently managed and adequate support services are available for this purpose.

** 6. There is adequate support service to provide for the efficient upkeep of permanent records.

** 7. Transcript services are readily available to students. They shall be designed to be easily interpreted by the receiving agency.


Article V. Facilities

A. All statutory building codes are met or exceeded.


** B. The school may use the church plant or occupy a separate campus if:

1. There are adequate classrooms available for the total number of pupils and each room is large enough to accommodate the number of students assigned.

** 2. There is adequate office space for the school.

3. Restrooms are adequate in number and appropriate for the ages of the children enrolled in the school.

4. There is a library available to the school with at least fifteen volumes (print or electronic) per child enrolled in grades one through twelve. The library may be jointly used by the church and school. However, in determining the number of volumes, only those books which are appropriate for school use are counted. There must be an adequate number of reference volumes, such as encyclopedias, historical and technical books, and school-type journal subscriptions or their equivalent. The library must be available for school use before, during and after school hours.

** 5. Playground space, athletic fields, and gymnasium facilities must be available as appropriate for the number and age levels of the students.

6. Schools must meet all health codes.

** 7. There is a teachersÕ lounge and workroom. Equipment necessary to communicate with parents, to serve instructional needs and to keep records is adequate.

8. There is space adequate to maintain pupilsÕ permanent records, and accurate pupil data is maintained permanently.

** 9. Water fountains, dressing and shower rooms, and storage spaces are adequate.

** 10. There is adequate parking space for teachers and students.

11. Prominent signs inform visitors of how to find the school administrative offices easily.


C. All space occupied by students or staff is adequately cooled, heated, lighted and ventilated.


D. Adequate safety precautions are observed. Particular care is exercised in peak traffic periods before and after school.


** Article VI. Faculty

A. All teachers are qualified with appropriate degrees and training.

1. The bachelors degree with twenty-four (24) semester hours, or appropriate certification in the subject matter being taught, is required. (However, degreed teachers with twelve semester hours in a subject may teach if the time assigned is less than one-half the teaching load.)

2. Kindergarten and elementary teachers must have a bachelors degree with twenty-four (24) semester hours of elementary courses, such as elementary reading, language arts, music, elementary science, elementary math, elementary social studies, and elementary physical education, or appropriate certification.

3. Pre-kindergarten teachers will be qualified if they have the bachelors degree (and/or an appropriate preschool degree) with at least twelve semester hours in elementary education courses, or if they possess certification as a kindergarten teacher, or teacher of young children, or an associate (two-year) degree in the education of young children. Also, seminary trained teachers in religious education of young children are qualified to teach pre-kindergarten.

4. The full-time librarian has twenty-four (24) semester hours in library science for a school containing grades one through twelve.** 5. Teachers of credit bearing Bible and/or religion classes should hold a bachelors degree, but may waive the 24/12 hour subject matter requirement.


B. All teachers give evidence of a Christian commitment consistent with the philosophy of the school.


** C. The school conducts an annual evaluation process for individual members of the faculty.


D. Professional staff members are employed by contract.


E. Records for faculty members are kept permanently and show service dates, sick leave accumulation, transcripts (showing degree(s) earned), proof of necessary certification, evaluations, and evidence of ongoing professional development.


** F. Teacher planning, preparation time, and class size are provided appropriate to the teaching assignment and should be conducive to maximum learning.


** G. Qualified applicants are employed without regard to race, color, ethnic background, or national origin.


** Article VII. Finances

Income from tuition, fees, gifts, endowments, and fund raising activities must be adequate to support a high-quality educational program.

A. Salaries and benefits are sufficient to attract and hold competent teachers, administrators, and staff members.


** B. There are adequate supplies, current textbooks, age-appropriate furniture, and technology equipment available for the operation of the educational program.


C. An annual budget is proposed by the administration, adopted by the governing body, or church body and managed by the administration. Monthly and annual financial statements are prepared and distributed according to policy.


D. An annual review of financial transactions is conducted by someone outside the church administration, school administration, or school board. Verification must be on file in the board's minutes. If the accounting procedures are operated jointly in the church office, school funds are administered separately from church funds. Funds collected by the school may not be appropriated by the church outside of regular reimbursements.


** E. There is a willingness by the church/sponsoring body to underwrite any school expenses which the school is unable to pay. This standard does not apply to independent schools.


F. No abrupt terminations of grade offerings should occur. Due consideration for the educational welfare of students will cause a church to phase out its school (if so desired), in a manner that is in the best interest of the students currently enrolled.


G. Funds are available for staff development, including travel expense funds for administrators and teachers.


** H. There are enough support staff employees to serve the operation of the school adequately and enough teachers that classes do not become unreasonably large.


** Article VIII. Students

A. The school admits qualified students without regard to race, color, ethnic background, or national origin.


** B. Students are screened and admitted only when the school's program can be predicted to serve the needs of each.


** C. Students are evaluated annually. Standardized test scores in group form are available to parents, the governing body, and the sponsoring body. A recent follow-up study indicates how well graduates are performing in colleges and schools.


** D. Any currently or previously enrolled student will have his/her record kept permanently on file by the school.


** E. The school publishes documents that describe the curriculum, its organization, how students are classified, the marking system, disciplinary rules and techniques, promotion and retention policies, and high school graduation requirements (if applicable).


** F. There is a mandatory attendance rule for students which meets or exceeds the state standards.


** Article IX. Curriculum

A. The school day and year correspond to the minimum requirements set by the Texas State Board of Education for accredited public schools.


** B. Bible is a required subject for all enrolled students and is carried out in addition to the instructional time necessary for other required academic course offerings.


C. The curricular and co-curricular activities are designed to develop each student academically, spiritually and physically.


D. The TEKS prescribed by the Texas State Board of Education for all courses in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade are included in the curriculum. Course names and codes are consistent with those prescribed for public schools. The school offers the courses required for public schools in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, but each school with grades nine through twelve may select to offer the sequence of courses required for the minimum, recommended, or distinguished diploma programs.


E. The school publishes and makes available printed material describing the curriculum offered and teaching methodologies.


** F. The school does not use a programmed curriculum package except as a supplement to material taught by a qualified teacher, using textbooks and other aids.


** G. The school practices free inquiry and allows students freedom of choice in determining truth. "Free inquiry" means that students are encouraged to seek truth. The teacher has the freedom to proclaim the Bible as truth. Students shall be free to form their own perceptions of truth without coercion.


H. Schools show evidence of integration of Bible concepts in all subject area curricula.


("**" indicates that additional notes are included in the attached Explanatory Addenda)

Passed and finalized March, 1995.

Revised, January, 1999.