The On-Site Visit is a critical element in the SAES accreditation process. A team of Episcopal school educators from SAES accredited schools, a representative of the SAES Standards Committee, and a representative of the Association visits the school to observe the classes, meet with school and church leadership, trustees, faculty, administrators, students, alumni, and parents to learn more about the school. The visit begins on a Sunday afternoon and ends by noon on the following Wednesday. The team writes a report for the SAES Standards Committee that includes commendations, suggestions and recommendations regarding the school’s compliance with SAES standards and best practices. Following the visit, the SAES Standards Committee reviews the report and makes a recommendation to the SAES Executive Board regarding the school's accreditation status. The report is a privileged document to be used only by the SAES Standards Committee and by the school's governing body, administration, and faculty for internal purposes of the school. Accreditation may be granted for up to ten years.
Complete details regarding the On-Site Visit for accreditation can be found in the SAES Accreditation Handbook.
Preparing for the On-Site Visit
- Agree on a date for the three-and-a half-day On-Site Visit and the size of the team.
- Discuss areas of the school's program that might require special attention.
- Inform and orient the school community regarding the process.
- Schedule a "pre-visit" for the team leader to become acquainted with the school and to discuss details and schedule of the On-Site Visit.
- Since all costs associated with the Pre-Visit and On-Site Visit are the responsibility of the school, the Head of School should include the projected expenses in the operating budget. A sample budget may be found in the SAES Accreditation Handbook.
During the On-Site Visit
- Be certain there are no special events, field trips, or tests during the visit. All faculty and staff should avoid being away from the school in order to be available for meetings.
- Arrange for part-time faculty and staff, trustees, church leadership, and parents to be present sometime during the visit.
- Be certain a typical chapel/worship service is scheduled during the visit.
- Schedule a fire drill during the visit.
- Inform the faculty of a faculty meeting to be held on the Wednesday of the visit for feedback on the visit.
After the On-Site Visit
- A draft copy of the On-Site Visit Report will be presented to the Head of School within three weeks of the visit.
- The Head of School has one week to submit a response regarding possible factual errors contained in the report.
- The final On-Site Visiting Team Report will be sent to the Head of School, Rector (if applicable), and President of the Board of Trustees after the SAES Standards Committee has discussed it and the Executive Board has endorsed the Standards Committee's recommendation. This may occur several months after the On-Site Visit.