Next week the FIS will be hosting an eleven member Evaluation Team as part of our re-accreditation process. This is the first time the FIS will be doing a synchronized re-accreditation with the Council of International Schools (CIS), New England Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges (NEASC), and the International Baccalaureate (IB). The team will be made up of:
- four representatives from the International Baccalaureate (two for Middle Years Programme MYP and two for the Diploma Programme DP),
- four members from the Council of International Schools, and
- three members representing the New England Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges.
The process of CIS/NEASC accreditation is an on-going one; with a five year cycle starting with a preparatory evaluation, and moving through to a self-study, team evaluation, accreditation achieved, annual accreditation report and beginning the re-accreditation process again. Similarly, all schools running an International Baccalaureate programme must be re-evaluated every five years. The IB recognizes that each school is on a different journey regarding the implementation of its programmes depending on its context. The IB MYP and DP programmes are firmly established at the FIS; nonetheless, the IB evaluation process provides an opportunity for the IB to work along the school to further the implementation of the programmes.
The FIS is now at the CIS/NEASC team evaluation stage following the completion of the self-study, which is the most important part of the whole evaluation and accreditation process, both in the commitment of time and effort involved and in the value to be derived. The FIS CIS/NEASC and IB self-studies took a little over a year to complete. The CIS/NEASCself-study began with a specially designed Community Survey which involved all the key constituents of the school community.
The FIS assembled and analyzed data, rated our current practice in the light of our Guiding Statements and the Standards for Accreditation, and wrote our findings – including plans for improvement. The self-study required a considerable time commitment from many members of the school staff as well as from a number of parents, governing body members, and students. I would like to thank and acknowledge the hard work of staff, and the contributions of many parents and students who have been already involved in this detailed process.
With the IB, schools are also evaluated using a self-study questionnaire to assess the extent that they are implementing the IB standards and practices. This process allows us to determine our own assessment of the implementation of the programme, according to the programme standards and practices, and programme requirements. Furthermore, it allows us to identify major achievements during the period under review and to identify practices that need further development. Like all the accreditation organizations, the IB’s focus is on learning and will review our purpose, culture, and environment to determine how effectively we develop students as learners.
Throughout the process, the overarching holistic drivers are purpose and direction, student learning, student well-being and global citizenship. As you can see, the student remains at the center of this entire process. So why is accreditation important for the FIS? Afterall, the FIS is authorized to operate as a school by the state of Bavaria and must adhere to all local regulations and obligations.
There are a number of reasons why the FIS willingly engages in this re-accreditation process but it comes down to four main ones:
- rigorous evaluation against internationally-agreed standards holds us accountable and provides an objective measure of where we are;
- the accreditation process is a blend of support and challenge that will support the FIS in our future planning and strategic thinking;
- ensure that we remain an IB World School;
- it is a peer-based model that brings together international educators from across the world of CIS, NEASC, and IB accredited schools.
More especially though, the accreditation process demonstrates the FIS’s commitment to high-quality international education and helps ensure our school is continually improving and keeping up with leading international education standards.
Head of School