Visiting Team Members

Serving on an ISACS visiting team is both an integral part of the accreditation process and a valuable professional development experience. Team members learn from each other and from the school that they visit and return to their home schools with fresh perspectives and new ideas.
 
Heads of Schools recommend teachers and administrators from their schools to serve on accreditation visiting teams. If you are interested in serving on a team please contact Andy Gilla, Director of Communication, Outreach, & Research. 

Visiting Team FAQs

How was I chosen?

Every head of an ISACS accredited school is invited annually to submit the names and qualifications of faculty, administrators and trustees who would be well qualified to serve as an evaluator.  From this database, ISACS selects and invites appropriate team members for each school being evaluated.

What is the purpose of a visiting team?

The school you will visit will have completed an intensive self-study of itself and all its  components before you arrive on campus. The purpose of the Visiting Team is to add the objective, professional view of people outside the school to the evaluation process.  You will be primarily concerned with reviewing and validating, or questioning, the school’s  own findings, and you will also be asked to help determine what, if anything, the school  may have overlooked in the course of its self-study.

What will I do?

Tentative assignments are included with the invitation.  The visiting team leader may adjust assignments once the team is assembled. Your job will be to find congruence between what the school describes about itself in its self-study and what is observable during a three-day on-site visit. This is done through thorough review of the school's self study prior to the visit, and observation and interviews during the visit.

What will be my specific tasks?

Review the data and materials prepared by the school. Observe the school in full operation to ascertain the degree to which the actual situation coincides with that reported by the school.

Seek, collect, and interpret data necessary to reach conclusions concerning the effectiveness of the school and its programs.
Prepare a written report summarizing the findings of the Visiting Team, including both commendations and recommendations for each part of the school as well as for the school as a whole.

Can I be effective in such a short visit?

As in almost all professions, there is a body of knowledge and skills educators acquire through years of experience.  Anyone who has visited someone else’s classroom, especially in another school, knows that it takes only a few minutes to get a feel for what makes the classroom good or even great.  With careful observation and questioning, subtleties will be discovered that will lead to major truths about the school.

Who pays for the visit?

There are no out-of-pocket expenses to the visiting team member, one serves as a guest of the school.  Since your head-of-school has recommended you for this service, your own school will provide either a substitute or coverage for your assignments.

How do I get to the school?

Travel arrangements will either be made by you or the school you are visiting. If airfare is required, you may be asked to purchase your own ticket and be reimbursed by the school. Most schools will provide transportation information no later than four weeks before your visit and will likely provide transportation from the airport to the school, and also attempt.

How do I prepare?

Your recognized experience as a teacher, administrator or trustee, along with good skills of observing and communicating are all the background that is needed.  The school to be evaluated will send the materials you need to read in advance of your visit (usually no later than four weeks prior to the visit).  The visiting team leader will provide other coaching that may be needed in understanding the protocols and unique attributes of each school.

What is a typical schedule?

All accreditation visits start on Sunday and are wrapped up by Wednesday. Team members are usually asked to arrive at the team hotel by 2 or 3 pm on Sunday and are free to leave in the early afternoon on Wednesday. Days will be filled with classroom observations, conversations with faculty and staff, larger meetings with specific constituent groups, writing time, and team meeting time. While there often exists an impression that team members stay up all night writing and meeting, in reality the vast majority of team leaders are committed to reasonable time expectations (everybody likes to be rested for the next day’s work!)