We are committed to...
  • encouraging diverse points of view.
  • continuous reflection and on-going improvement.
  • collegial relationships and ethical leadership.
  • independent education options for families.
  • promoting the independence of our schools.
  • quality standards without standardization.
  • assisting schools in fulfilling their missions.

Essential Characteristics of NWAIS Schools

In order to assist schools in fulfilling their commitment to provide children a high-quality educational experience, we believe that schools that are mission-appropriate for the Association support the mission and core values of the Association and abide by the following essential characteristics for NWAIS schools.

Commitment to the Public Good

As not-for-profit organizations under the IRS code 501(c) (3), NWAIS schools must provide for the public good. We expect schools to accomplish this by offering an independent educational option for a wide variety of families and by giving back to their community through service, economic development, and providing models of quality organizations, curriculum and instruction.

Effective Governance and Operations

Success of NWAIS schools is secured through governance structures that provide fiduciary responsibility and strategic oversight, the goal of which is long term viability. These structures work in partnership with an administrative structure that effectively manages the daily operation of the organization, ensuring the sustainability of the school for faculty, staff, and families.

Physical Location or Place

Top educational opportunities and experiences for elementary and secondary children are grounded in teacher-student interactions. To this end, we expect schools to have a campus where students are able to frequently and meaningfully interact with adults and peers.

Primary Focus of Academic Education

NWAIS only accredits schools whose primary focus is academic education. In addition, the Association only accredits schools in their entirety; it does not accredit parts of school programs. The mission, philosophy, and goals of our schools articulate a commitment to academic preparation; ensuring students are inspired toward and prepared for subsequent educational opportunities. This requires NWAIS schools to create relevant and current curricula, with pedagogies based on present understanding of learning. NWAIS does not accredit schools whose primary focus is therapeutic, wilderness based, or athletic. NWAIS schools prepare students for pursuit of future educational opportunities.

Commitment to the Best Interests of Children

NWAIS schools demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the best interests of the students and families they serve. This includes commitments to the long term sustainability of the school; providing the continuity of educational experience through to the graduation of the child; promoting a safe and inclusive community; adequate resources for advising and counseling of students at their developmental age; and comprehensive programming for residential programs in schools that have them.

NWAIS Non-discrimination Statement for Affiliated Schools

Member schools do no discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, disability, national or ethnic origin, or other legally protected status in admission of otherwise qualified students or in providing access to the rights, privileges, programs, or activities generally available to all students and their families, including educational policies, scholarship and other financial aid programs, or athletic, extra-curricular, and other school-administered programs and activities. Similarly, member schools do not discriminate in their hiring or employment practices on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, disability, national or ethnic origin, or other legally protected status. Single sex institutions, religious schools, or institutions serving students with learning differences or other special needs implement policies related to gender, religion, and learning differences or other special needs as appropriate to support their published mission statements.

Our Mission

The Northwest Association of Independent Schools promotes the ongoing improvement of its member schools and advances independent school education by:

  • Supporting schools
    in achieving
    their missions
  • Cultivating excellence in school leadership
  • Furthering diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Encouraging free and open inquiry
  • Fostering collegial
    and collaborative relationships
  • Championing our public purpose

-- Approved by the
NWAIS membership
Sunday, May 2, 2016

Upcoming Events
  • November 27, 2017
    • Gig Harbor Academy Parent Tours 6820 32nd St. NW., Gig Harbor, WA 98366

      Come by and take a tour of the campus and explore all that Gig Harbor Academy has to offer. To book a tour please call us at 253-265-2150 or email us at admissions@gigharboracademy.org.

    November 28, 2017
    • Giddens School Tour 9:00 AM to 11:00 AMGiddens School

      Please join us for a tour and get a close-up look at our school. Visit our classrooms and meet members of our community, including students, families, and faculty.

  • Guiding
  • Inspiring
  • Advancing
Northwest Association of Independent Schools
5001 California Ave. SW, Suite 112
Seattle, Washington 98136
T: 206.323.6137 • dstone@nwais.org
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