In 2006, The Post Oak School received accreditation by the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS), the culmination of many years' work. The documentation of adherence to ISAS standards took two years to complete, the self-study a full year, followed by a twelve-person accreditation team's site visit lasting three-and-a-half days.
Why pursue yet this accreditation, when Post Oak is already committed to its AMI Montessori heritage?
The two associations complement each other, demonstrating that The Post Oak School is a respected institution in the worlds of both Montessori and traditional education. Our commitment to AMI principles confirms that Post Oak follows the most rigorous path of Montessori education for both the mind and heart; ISAS confirms that the Montessori approach does not stint in academics, but rather excels in them.
And the new accreditation puts Post Oak in good company. ISAS accredits 85 schools located in Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Mexico, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, enrolling over 50,000 students. Their primary mission is "to encourage, support, and develop the highest standard for independent schools of the region and to recognize by formal accreditation those schools in which these standards are maintained." Local peers also holding ISAS accreditation include St. John's, Kinkaid, River Oaks Baptist, Annunciation Orthodox, and Awty International.
Serving as a bridge between two worlds of schools offers Post Oak the chance to be an example to each. From a letter by former Head of School John Long in the September 29, 2006, issue of the school newsletter:
The commendations were many. In addressing the assembled faculty, staff, trustees, and parents, the vice-chair of the visiting committee, Arnie Cohen, Headmaster of the Lamplighter School in Dallas, was quite emotional in describing how wonderful the Post Oak children are and how deeply they love their school – and he was not looking at those cute, little three-year olds, but was referring to middle-school students with whom he met for an hour along with one other member of the team.
Mr. Cohen identified the students as thoughtful, caring, articulate, compassionate, and insightful. When he asked them what they would change about Post Oak, he was quite amazed to hear that they would like more opportunities to serve the school. This was a profoundly touching response from a group of adolescents given a chance to gripe.
Team chair Shaun Underhill, Head of School at St. Alcuin Montessori School in Dallas, concluded that Post Oak is an authentic Montessori school: a school that lives its mission. She noted that for the several Montessori people on the team, it was enormously affirming to observe such an extraordinary Montessori school at work. For the balance of the visiting team who came from traditional schools, the experience was eye-opening and demonstrated to them new possibilities in the education of young people.
Mrs. Underhill also commended the self-study for its clarity of thought and for its accurate representation of Post Oak. She said simply, “You are who you say you are.” This deceptively simple statement in fact reflects the purpose of the site visit – confirmation by an outside panel of educational experts that we have identified who we are as a school, and at the same time have correctly assessed our own strengths and weaknesses.
Post Oak’s ISAS accreditation is effective for ten years, with regular interim reports to ease re-accreditation.
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) certifies that ISAS has voluntarily submitted to a rigorous and impartial review of its accreditation program and demonstrated its adherence to the Commission’s Criteria for Effective Independent School Accreditation Practices. NAIS has commended ISAS for the quality of the association’s accreditation program for its member schools.
To read the summary recommendations from the 2006 ISAS Visiting Team report, click here.