Based on a deliberative, reflective, and continuous accreditation process

Benefits of Membership

  • Rigorous and proven accreditation process
  • Personalized professional staff support for individual schools
  • Professional development offerings that are grounded in best practice and responsive to current and future needs of independent schools
  • Prominent representation and recognition at the national level
  • Legislative representation that safeguards independence of member schools
  • Networking opportunities within a broad range of independent schools 

Personalized Staff Support

VAIS provides support tailored to the needs of individual member schools and their leadership. For schools in their infancy or interested in accreditation, VAIS will provide additional consultation. 


The accreditation process for VAIS has been approved by the Virginia Council for Private Education Committee (VCPE) on Accreditation as authorized by the Virginia State Board of Education. At the international level, the VAIS accreditation process is recognized by the International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA). Universities and colleges throughout the country recognize VAIS accreditation, and VAIS is recognized by the College Board as an accrediting body for secondary schools located in Virginia. While the United States Department of Education can only recognize bodies for higher and adult education, VAIS accreditation is recognized by the U.S. Government for such purposes as certification by the Immigration and Naturalization Service for foreign students and access to military academies and programs.

Professional Learning

Great schools depend on active and engaged teacher-learners. VAIS recognizes the need to lead the way toward educational realities and innovations in the school environment, while also staying faithful to those practices that are tried and true. VAIS offerings reflect input from faculty and administrators for learning opportunities that are affordable, effective, and readily attainable.

Legislative Services and Regulatory Monitoring

VAIS safeguards the independence of member schools through representation on the Virginia Council of Private Education (VCPE) Board of Directors and the International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA) Board of Directors.

Requirements for Membership

  • Articulating a clearly stated mission and guiding principles of both education and inclusivity
  • Upholding non-discriminatory policies and practices in admissions, employment, and all other aspects of school operation, as provided by law
  • Incorporating as a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization under IRS ruling
  • Adhering to governance by an independent Board of Trustees
  • Practicing academic integrity, i.e., academic freedom to promote diversity in pedagogy and curriculum without restriction to any single dogma
  • Paying annual VAIS dues
  • Participating in VAIS membership through: Accreditation maintenance (including submission of annual data), evaluation, and adherence to VAIS Standards for Membership; VAIS professional development and accreditation teams; Annual report submission; and Representation at one of the bi-annual business meetings and all special meetings during the fiscal year
  •  Demonstrating a willingness to meet the VAIS Standards for Membership

Recognition of VAIS Accreditation

The Virginia State Board of Education recognizes VAIS accreditation through approval by the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE).Comprised of state, regional, and international accrediting associations, the International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA), recognizes VAIS accreditation.

  • Guarantees the transfer of student credits to a public school
  • Recognizes teacher licensure credits for time served in an accredited independent school
  • Approves VAIS as an accrediting body of independent schools for university and college admissions
All VAIS member accredited schools are eligible for certification by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP); certification is required in order to enroll F1 Visa non-immigrant students. VAIS is a recognized SEVP accreditor.
The College Board recognizes VAIS as an accrediting body for secondary schools located in Virginia.

Interested in Membership?