As mentioned under step 4, some private school associations also offer optional accreditation of your academic
program. What does this mean? It simply means that a third party has looked at your curriculum and believes there is sufficient
teaching, structure, checks and balances to demonstrate that a typical K-12 program is being taught to each child. Even if
all your member families are using a different curriculum at home, you can still have your program accredited. By collecting
a simple yearly curriculum outline (a one page form mentioned in Step 5) from each member family, which covers the curriculum
being used to teach each of the core subject areas, then combining that with a list of the classes taught at your
Academy, you can show that the children are receiving an equivalent K-12 education.
Accreditation is a lengthy procedure but CAN be done for private school cooperatives. I prefer NAPS (below).
Accreditation is the LAST STEP (step 10) in this non-profit process and is optional. The main benefit is the ability
to issue high school diplomas that are from your "accredited" institution. This is a plus for college applicants, but not
a necessity. Many small private schools are NOT accredited, due to the continued yearly costs involved in maintaining your
status. However, NAPS fees are so reasonable that I believe the benefits are worth the effort. The information you
will need to present to the accreditation agency is almost a duplicate of your 501C3, so why not take the extra initiative
to complete the accreditation application?
NATIONAL ACCREDITATION AGENCIES
Currently, I recommend N.A.P.S. for private school program accreditation. (If your organization
has had a positive experience with another association, please feel free to email me that information and I will post it here
National Association of Private Schools (NAPS)
*You can also check the web for your regional state accreditation agencies for private schools.
MEETING STATE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
If you applied for private school status you will want to be certain that you fulfill any of your state requirements
for non-profit private schools. Most states require school administrators to complete a yearly enrollment form, in which
you provide the total number of enrolled students for each grade, your school address, and school name. As long
as you are NOT applying for state funding, the requirements are often VERY minimal. Contact your state Department of
Ed (DOE) for the private school liaison OR ask the owner of your local private school
association, who will be able to share details of your state requirements with you.