The Application Process

Schools interested in pursuing CESA membership should be encouraged to have conversations with the Katie Wiens, CESA’s Executive Director, and a current Member of Council Head of School about CESA’s mission. We also strongly recommend school leaders to discuss the mission and standards of CESA with the school’s Board of Trustees.  Once ready to apply to become a provisional member, please complete the Application for Membership and submit it to Katie Wiens (kwiens@cesaschools.org).

Becoming a Member School

All interested schools must complete the CESA Application for Membership. Once the application is completed, the Executive Director or Director of Institutional Review will connect with the school and review the standards with the administrative team. This will help the school understand their ability to seek full membership over the next two years. After this call, the Executive Director and Institutional Review Director determine approval of the application, and if approved, the school will become a Provisional School.

Provisional status will give the school full rights and privileges of a CESA member school. The school and its faculty may attend CESA-only events and receive the latest research and publications as a CESA member. Once the school’s application has been approved, the school will be invoiced $2,000 for the Application Fee and will pay 50% dues annually as if they were a full CESA-member school. Annual members are billed on July 1st for the upcoming year. If a school applies during the school year, their dues for that year will be prorated.

A Provisional School is one that has committed to completing an on-site Institutional Review, and subsequently submitting a Standards Achievement Plan (SAP) for review by the Board of Directors within the next two years.

Schools must complete all three components of the Institutional Review process within two years unless an extension is granted. If they should fail to complete the process within two years, or if they should fail to receive approval from the Board of Directors, the school will forfeit any fees or dues paid to CESA and will not attain the Member of Council designation. In concert with the Executive Director and Director of Institutional Reviews, a plan will be agreed upon for schools to be reviewed again.

All Institutional Review components and approval by the Board of Directors are required in full before being considered a Member of Council. Provisional Schools may not promote themselves as being a “CESA School,” “Member of Council”, or any other official or unofficial CESA designation, including the display of the CESA logo or links on the schools’ website.

The purpose of the Institutional Review is to gain a perspective on the institution and where it performs in relation to research-based best practices nationally for Christian schools. The goal of CESA is to enable leaders to lead high-performing Christian institutions that deliver the best education to students across the country.  Using the CESA Institutional Standards, schools use rigorous, research-based standards to measure their school against objective standards.

The Institutional Review Visit will include a team of four individuals. The team will be composed of the Institutional Review Director and/or the Executive Director of CESA, 1 or 2 heads of school, as well as an expert in independent school academics. The Institutional Review Visit will give an opportunity for the school to better understand the main areas of success as well as improvement, hopefully resulting in membership of CESA. All visits and questions about Reviews should be directed to Jim Marsh, Director of Reviews (jmarsh@cesaschools.org)

**Note: The CESA Institutional Review may be scheduled to coordinate with an accreditation process of another accrediting organization, if appropriate. Additionally, schools may obtain AdvancED accreditation by passing the CESA Institutional Review process (no AdvancEd team will visit, only the CESA team).  This is a joint accreditation and schools will become a CESA Member of Council and receive AdvancED accreditation.  While this step is not required, it is an option for schools interested in AdvancEd accreditation.

The purpose of the Institutional Review is to gain a perspective on the institution and where it performs in relation to best practices nationally for Christian schools. The goal of CESA is to have high-performing Christian institutions delivering the best education to students across the country.

Jim Marsh, the Director of Institutional Reviews, will facilitate the process of preparing for the review.

The Institutional Review Visit will include a team of four individuals. The team will be composed of the Institutional Review Director and/or the Executive Director of CESA, 1 or 2 heads of school, as well as an expert in independent school academics. The Institutional Review Visit will give an opportunity for the school to better understand the main areas of success as well as improvement, hopefully resulting in being welcomed as a Member of Council.

A full narrative of the Institutional Review Visit can be found here.

**Note: The CESA Institutional Review may be scheduled to coordinate with an accreditation process of another accrediting organization, if appropriate.

After the Visit, the school will have 60 days to provide their School Achievement Plan report to the CESA Institutional Review Director, Jim Marsh.

A template for the SAP can be found here.  After the SAP is submitted, CESA will regularly follow-up with the leadership team to provide support in continuous improvement.  We desire that this is a dynamic process, and we hope to support schools in whatever way needed, including connecting schools with their peers in Member of Council schools who may be able to provide targeted support.

Renewal

The purpose of the Membership Renewal is to engage Members of Council with the leadership team of the school in evaluating progress on the Institutional Standards, identifying areas of potential growth, and engaging in professional dialogue that edifies the school leaders and the school.

The visiting team (3 members, including the chair) will visit your campus for 3 days/2 nights. The school being visited is responsible for all travel expenses for the visiting team.  We encourage Heads of School to work with the Director of Reviews to identify known areas of need prior to the visit so that the visiting team can be built with the expertise the school most needs.

The full scope of the Renewal can be found here.

Dues

Members of Council and Provisional school pay membership dues annually. Members are billed on July 1st for the upcoming year.  Members of Council pay full dues and Provisional schools pay 50% dues.

Dues for the 2019-2020 School Year

School’s budget up to $1.5 million – $2060

School’s budget $1.5 to $3 million – $3460

School’s budget $3 to $4 million – $4275

School’s budget $4 to $5 million – $4866

School’s budget $5 to $6 million – $5356

School’s budget $6 to $7 million – $6221

School’s budget over $7 million – $6437

Accreditation

CESA enjoys a dual accreditation partnership with AdvancED.  Schools receiving Member of Council designation also will receive AdvancED Accreditation if desired. While this step is not necessary, it is an option we consider a value-add for our schools. We strongly recommend, however, that schools continue to utilize another accrediting body such as ACSI, SAIS, or other reputable agencies. CESA is committed to and has established a history of working seamlessly with other agencies on dual visits.

If schools choose to add or continue with AdvancED as a dual accreditor, the school is responsible for a) filing an application with AdvanceED designating CESA as the partner organization, b) paying AdvancED dues, and c) notifying CESA of their desire to be dual accredited with AdvancED.  When using this option, the CESA protocol and team will visit; no AdvancED representatives are needed.

If you have questions about your accreditation options, please contact Katie Wiens at kwiens@cesaschools.org or (770) 268-9355.

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