O’Neal earns re-accreditation

The O’Neal School has earned its reaccreditation for membership to the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS).

To earn reaccreditation from SAIS, O’Neal complied with quality standards, was evaluated by an outside group of peer professionals, and implemented a school plan focused on strategic improvement and student performance in accordance with the School’s mission which is dedication to the development of academic excellence, strength of character, and physical well-being of its students in an environment where integrity, self-discipline, and consideration for others are fundamental.

A team representing SAIS conducted an on-site visit to review O’Neal’s self-study and standards compliance and its adherence to its mission.

The team was comprised of diverse educational leaders from institutions across the region and led by Dr. Quinton Walker, head of upper school at the University School of Nashville in Nashville, TN. The visiting team sought evidence of critical strategic questions the school answered during the self-study process preparing for the visit.

SAIS-accredited member schools are part of an international network of accredited schools that have demonstrated success in educating children and meet membership standards. As such, SAIS accreditation is recognized throughout the world as a symbol of quality in education for students and teachers.

In today’s world of accountability in education, accreditation serves as a critical component of a school’s demonstrated effectiveness and ability to provide a complete educational program for all students. A school that is able to achieve accreditation demonstrates a commitment to a process that requires the school to meet a set of rigorous standards; to engage in a program of continuous school improvement; and to demonstrate quality assurance to its stakeholders through self-evaluation and peer review.

SAIS accreditation provides schools like O’Neal access to an integrated network of services and technical assistance that supports every school’s ability to identify and meet its goals for improving the teaching and learning process and mission-focused outcomes for students.

SAIS began its organizational life in 1903 as the Mid-South Association of Independent Schools (MAIS). In 1953, another organization began as the Southern Association of Independent Schools, providing a forum for independent school administrators to work with public schools through SACS and to contribute to the larger interest in accreditation in the Southeast.

MAIS and SAIS merged in 1986 to form the present-day SAIS, which now works at the state, regional, and national levels, to serve and strengthen member schools through the promotion of the highest quality educational standards and ethical conduct. The mission of SAIS is to provide leadership, accreditation services, and professional development resources that will strengthen member schools as they fulfill their missions.

O’Neal’s accreditation with SAIS also automatically allows the school membership to the National Association of Independent Schools, an organization of only 1651 schools worldwide.

O’Neal was first accredited in December of 1977, just after it celebrated its first graduating class in the spring of 1977.

Feature photo: Sophomores Chris Walters and Noah Bass convert copper carbonate to carbon dioxide in chemistry lab. One of the goals mentioned in O’Neal’s accreditation self-study is to extend more hands-on science learning for lower and middle school students.

Courtesy photo/Contributed.

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