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Anyone could decide to open a school tomorrow. All you need is a building, a curriculum, staff, learning materials, and students, right? For many schools the answer is yes. For others looking for a higher standard, accreditation is a necessary final requirement. Accreditation is a voluntary process that schools go through in order to ensure that they are offering a high quality education that meets established standards. Surabaya Intercultural School is the only school in Surabaya accredited by a western body. We are accredited through the Accrediting Commission of Schools – Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC) based in California.

WASC has developed a protocol that schools must use in order to evaluate their programs. They cover topics such as Organization for Student Learning, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Support for Student Personal and Academic Growth, and School Culture and Environment. Schools must complete a comprehensive self-study using the protocol that often begins more than a year before a visiting team comes to verify the report. A visiting team will then come for up to five days to meet with all stakeholders (board members, administrators, teachers, support staff, students, and parents) in the community to affirm the report. The process also yields many recommendations for future growth and improvement. Accreditation is a continual process, so after one visit ends, preparations for improvements begin almost immediately.

Why does this matter for parents? It serves as a guarantee of the quality of the education your child will receive. When your child has completed her education at SIS, it is a signal of quality to the next institution she will attend, whether it is a university or another K-12 school in a different country. Accredited schools also attract higher quality teachers. It is a signal to teachers that it is an institution that focuses on learning. Many school districts back home will not grant credit for years of service in a non-accredited school. Education has become a very profitable sector. This has led to the proliferation of schools with slick marketing campaigns who will gladly take your tuition, but cannot do the necessary work to provide a quality education. Next time you are choosing a school, be sure to ask about accreditation. Quality schools will commit the time and energy to ensuring that they are accredited. Giving your child a quality education is one of the best gifts you can give. Be sure to choose an accredited school.

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