AWSNA is a recognized accrediting agency of The International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA) and the National Council for Private School Accreditation, authorized to accredit Waldorf schools. We work with fourteen other leading regional accrediting agencies to offer joint accreditation for our member schools. Approximately 75% of accredited Waldorf schools pursue a dual- or triple-accreditation.
What is Accreditation?
The accreditation process is a qualitative assessment of a school’s congruence between its stated mission, the AWSNA Principles for Waldorf Schools, and the AWSNA Policies and Practices for Waldorf Schools. Congruence is determined by observation, interviews, and document review.
To become accredited, schools are expected to demonstrate congruence as described above through a process that involves self-study (reflection) and peer review. The period of self-study culminates in a self-study report. Peer review is the process by which congruence is evaluated.
The self-study and its material outcome, the report, are conducted with participation by all constituent groups in a school over a 2 year period. As outlined below, the self-study process is meant to bring awareness, understanding, and clarity to all members of the school community regarding the identity and mission of the school; to affirm that the school’s policies and practices support this mission; and to determine congruence with the AWSNA Principles for Waldorf schools and the AWSNA Policies and Practices for Waldorf Schools. The Accreditation process is a continuation of the Associate Member Self Study Process and is intended to facilitate and support ongoing school improvement and development. Like with any living organism, this is an ongoing task the never ends.
An important service AWSNA provides is the process of accreditation for its member schools as a tool to guide their progress toward an ideal of educational excellence. In providing this process, the Association in no way limits, but rather strives to preserve the freedom of each individual school to practice within the principles for Waldorf schools.
AWSNA accreditation is a structured, cyclical process of self-study, peer review, and follow-up. The AWSNA accreditation process includes all aspects of school life, including Waldorf principles, independence and mission, self-reflection, students and families, faculty and staff, community, educational programs, decision-making, resources, health and safety, and legality. The goal is to strengthen Waldorf schools while maintaining the true and complete independence of each school.
In both philosophy and practice, the focus of the AWSNA accreditation process is on the development and nurturing of excellence. The principal objectives are to provide a stimulus for excellence, help the school assess its strengths and weaknesses, and help the school confirm the validity of its priorities and planning for growth.
Member schools that complete this process successfully may use the term "Accredited by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America."