St. James Episcopal School is accredited by the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools (SAES). Our accreditation is fully recognized by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) through its recognition of the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC). The process of accreditation is rigorous and substantive. In addition to regular on-site visits by a team of fellow educators, interim written reports required by the Standards Committee of SAES seek to make the accreditation process continuous. St. James has enjoyed the maximum of two, five-year accreditation periods between on-site reviews. The SAES Director of Accreditation and a team of administrators and educators visited the campus in February 2009. We are pleased to report that St. James Episcopal School recently received their full accreditation.
Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools (SAES)
The Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools (SAES) is a regional organization of Episcopal schools representing Texas, Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana and Oklahoma. SAES is the only faith-based accreditation organization in the United States recognized by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). NAIS reviews an organization’s accreditation materials, processes and requirements in addition to observing teams actually performing on-site visitation, to verify that when accreditation is conferred it is comprehensive and warranted. SAES has written the following summary of the value of accreditation:
Accreditation attests to a school’s quality in terms everyone understands. To say that a school is accredited is to say that it has met proven and respected standards of quality.
- Accreditation is a standard that affirms the status of students with other institutions and employers.
- Accreditation is an essential credential for fund raising.
- Accreditation strengthens the voice of all schools through SAES in speaking collectively for the interests of Episcopal and independent schools.
- Accreditation employs a process of evaluation that combines self-scrutiny with an external review by a committee of peers. Both the internal and external reviews bring helpful and accurate observations, comments and suggestions for the purposes of validation and improvement.
- Accreditation assists the school in better realizing its objectives, supporting rather than inspecting, in order to enhance the school’s unique character rather than to impose a common design.
- Accreditation is a creative experience for the school and its staff. It can do much to refine goals and to give a sense of direction. It is designed to bring new strength to the institution.
- Accreditation is primarily a process for improvement; actual accreditation is a worthy but secondary product.
Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC)
In 1985, the State of Texas mandated that the Texas Education Association (TEA) totally revise its school accreditation process. TEA determined that these changes would make it impossible for the agency to properly accredit public schools while continuing to accredit private schools. In 1989, TEA recognized TEPSAC as the organization it would trust to both confer and monitor the accreditation of private schools in Texas. The Texas Private School Accreditation Commission is comprised of all accreditation member organizations that it recognizes in Texas to accredit private schools. Currently, TEPSAC is comprised of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS), the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools (SAES), the Texas Association of Baptist Schools (TABS), the Texas Catholic Conference and the Texas Conference-Seventh Day Adventist Schools. Any school wishing to be accredited in the state must submit to the accreditation procedures and be monitored by one of these recognized accrediting organizations.