Exemplary Accreditation

Exemplary Accreditation is a higher tier of accreditation that is granted by ACSI to a K-12 school that meets the criteria. The Exemplary Accreditation criteria are based on evidence, performance, a site visit, and review and determination by the ACSI Commission on Accreditation. The school is evaluated in six Critical Factor areas of excellence:

  • Board Governance
  • Executive Leadership
  • School Viability
  • Student Learning
  • Spiritual Formation
  • School Culture


  1. The criteria are based upon six Critical Factors. These Critical Factors distinguish a school of excellence and mark a school as flourishing at the influential level.
  2. The criteria are comprehensive. The Critical Factors and indicators are intended to address key important internal and external aspects of school operations with requirements that are clearly at an “influential school.”
  3. The criteria are interconnected. There is a connection among the criteria. They address the multiple, embedded, and interacting framework of school life based on the school’s mission, vision, core values, and expected student outcomes.
  4. The criteria are non-prescriptive. The focus is on results rather than on specific processes or procedures.
  5. The criteria are a basis for collaborative self-assessment. The criteria should be seen as a useful tool for self-assessment, strategic planning, professional dialog, innovation, and involvement of all relevant constituents in a common school improvement plan.
  6. Self-assessment is an effective school improvement strategy. Research and experience suggest that self-assessment benefits schools and fosters improvement in practice. Successful schools usually have a process for planning and consideration.
  7. The criteria are valuable to schools assessing their current programs and practices. The criteria are for those schools which have reached an influential level of distinguished organization, achievement, and operations.

Exemplary Accreditation

  1. Eligibility Requirements The school is ACSI accredited* in good standing, or eligible for and completes an “accreditation crosswalk” process to ACSI accreditation, based on the school’s standing with a recognized accrediting agency.
  2. The school is known for its commitment to excellence in its assertive pursuit of its Christian mission, organizational stability and viability, high student achievement, service to others, and a vibrant Christ-centered ethos among students, faculty, leadership, and stakeholders.
  3. The school agrees to provide strong evidence in support of each of the indicators for each Critical Factor. Most of those will need to be available six weeks ahead of time in electronic form. Those that cannot be provided electronically must be provided on-site at the time of the visit.
  4. Under each Critical Factor there are some indicators with very specific requirements that must be met by the time of the visit. The school must clearly and fully meet the five nonnegotiable indicators and 90% of all indicators in order to be recommended for exemplary status.
  5. On the form provided with its application, the school provides an initial rating on each of the Critical Factor indicators. Any indicator that cannot be met or is below the compliance (3) level should include a brief explanation.
  6. The application should be sent to ACSI approximately one year prior to the time of accreditation renewal or an anticipated exemplary visit. The school will be notified of its candidacy for Exemplary Accreditation within one month of receipt of the application. If the application is rejected, the application fee will be refunded.

Briarcrest Christian School - Eads, TN

Calvary Christian Academy- Fort Lauderdale, FL
Christian Academy School System - Louisville, KY
Covenant Christian High School - Indianapolis, IN
Dalat International School - Penang, Malaysia
Delaware County Christian School - Newtown Square, PA
Evangelical Christian School - Cordova, TN
First Presbyterian Day School - Macon, GA

GRACE Christian School – Raleigh, NC
Grace Community School - Tyler, TX
Lexington Christian Academy - Lexington, MA
Northwest Christian School - Phoenix, AZ
Prestonwood Christian Academy - Plano, TX
Silverdale Baptist Academy - Chattanooga, TN
Southside Christian School - Simpsonville, SC
The First Academy - Orlando, FL
Valley Christian School - San Jose, CA
Valor Christian High School - Highlands Ranch, CO
Wesleyan Christian Academy - High Point, NC

To obtain a copy of the Exemplary Accreditation Protocol, or to express interest in applying, please e-mail accreditation@acsi.org.

*Please note: The Exemplary School Accreditation Protocol was written for K-12 programs only. If the school desires accreditation for an Early Education program, the EE indicators in the REACH accreditation protocol will cover that program.