International School leaders often volunteer their time to support the accreditation of other international schools. Accreditation is similar to an ISO9000 process in business, confirming a school is meeting the international standards of excellence. This week (April 2-8, 2022), I am the Chair of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation visit to the International School of Turin, Italy. It is a synchronized visit with the Council of International Schools and the International Baccalaureate. Unfortunately for the team, the visit is virtual and these long days and nights on Zoom video conferences get a bit tiresome. It would have been much better to visit the school to get a true feel. However, it is surprising through Zoom how much you can learn about a school. I’ve also seen a few schools in my day and can quickly assess what is going on. I also wanted to see Northern Italy, a part of the world I’ve never been to.
It is a fantastic professional development experience for me. It is beneficial to be on the other side of the accreditation process. The Tashkent International School is undergoing our Synchronized Visit from November 12-18, 2022. This week has made me more comfortable with the software platform for the reports (WEAVE), the scheduling of the visit, and, most importantly, making sure we have all of our documents and processes in place. CIS/NEASC/IB are moving towards a supportive role for experienced schools instead of purely evaluators. The IB Chair described the process as holding up a mirror to the school. I like this format and I felt the meetings I am participating in this week are robust professional discussions about education instead of trying to find faults in the school. I am learning just as much as the school we are visiting.