Accreditation Requirements for All Schools, Agencies and Centers
1. The Board of Commissioners may issue a waiver of any kind to a school for no more than one year. A request for continuing the waiver for another year must be presented and approved by the Board each year.
2. The school schedules 180 full school days for students each year. During times of economic stress – The Board of Commissioners will declare such times – the school may schedule less than 180 days of school per year. However, the school must schedule the same amount of time for annual instructional activities that would occur in a 180-day school year. A written request to the Executive Director must be submitted not later than July 1st. Member schools may hold the hourly equivalent of 180 days of school each year without actually having school for 180 days; however, the minimum number of days a school may request and be approved for is 160 days.. The following shows the total number of hours of instruction each school must provide in a school year.
School Level Number of Hours of Instruction per Year
Kindergarten 540 hours per school year
Elementary 1080 hours per school year
Middle/Junior High 1080 hours per school year
High School 1080 hours per school year
A school may elect not to complete, as make-up days, up to four days which are the result of days missed when school was closed due to emergency, disaster, act of God, or civil disturbance.
3. As part of the accrediting process, GAC requires that schools seeking initial accreditation status pay $50 for the application fee.
Effective July 1, 2014 the Board adopted a new fee structure.
Traditional Schools will pay an annual renewal fee of $50 per grade level.
Pre-K $50 Junior High/Middle 6-8 $50
Elementary K-5 $50 High School 9-12 $50
EASP and NTEC schools $50
Effective July 1, 2015 EASP and NTEC schools will pay a flat rate of $100.
All GAC-accredited schools seeking continuing accreditation should complete application forms and pay annual membership fees after they receive their new certificates and renewal applications.
Annual fees paid not later than November 30th are $50.00 per year per grade level for traditional schools and $50 per year for NTEC and EASP schools (July 1, 2015 $100).
Fees received between December 1st and December 15th will be assessed a $10 late fee.
Fees received between December 16th and April 30th will be assessed a $25 late fee.
Fees received after May 1st will not be accepted and the accreditation of the school will be revoked. If the school seeks reaccreditation after their accreditation has been revoked for non-payment of fees, the school must make application and be visited by a consultant.
Schools may be approved for simultaneous accreditation in different programs, but may not receive dual accreditation for the same program. For example, a school with grades K through 5 may receive accreditation as a Non-Traditional Educational Center for grades 1 through 5 and may receive accreditation as a private school for Kindergarten.
4. After-school programs are considered integral functions of the overall school’s educational program and are included in the accreditation of the school. A consultant visit during the time the after-school program is operating is required. The visit may be combined with any consultant visit.
1. A principal, headmaster or manager may serve in such capacity at only one school, agency or center at the same time. So long as the principal, headmaster or manager does not serve two or more schools simultaneously, then one school leader can serve more than one school.
2. Whenever the person designated as the principal, headmaster or manager of the school leaves the position, the Executive Director of the Georgia Accrediting Commission must be notified within 3 months.
3. When the school is relocated a consultant visit is required.
4. The governing board delegates to the superintendent or headmaster all executive and administrative functions, including the nomination of staff personnel.
5. Teachers and all other staff personnel of an individual school are employed only upon the recommendation of the principal to the superintendent or headmaster. The school superintendent or The Head of School is the only employee of the Board that is selected solely by the Board.
6. All college and university coursework and degrees must be from member institutions of higher learning approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
7. All college and university coursework and degrees must be from institutions of higher learning accredited by an institutional or accrediting organization approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
8. The director and all teachers or caregivers report suspected child abuse or neglect to the DFCS office in the county where the child lives.
9. The governing board of a school or school system publishes policies that will assure the observance of professional ethics by all concerned and will promote the professional development of competent school personnel.
Program of Studies
1. Elementary, Junior High/Middle, High School and Educational Agencies with Special Purposes may accept home-schooled students only in the status of “transient students.” This restriction does not apply to Non-Traditional Educational Centers.
2. Student records are protected against fire, theft, and damage by being located in a fire-resistant vault or fire-resistant cabinet, or a second, duplicate set of records is located in another area.
3. The school, agency or center must administer a nationally standardized testing program every three years for each student enrolled by the center. The PSAT, SAT or ACT given in grades 10 through 12 are acceptable to meet this requirement
4. When students transfer to other schools, the school will assist the receiving school in making the transition to the new school. Such assistance will include, but not be limited to, evaluation of work completed, credits earned, tests completed, attendance, records transfer and other pertinent information. However, the school has the right to withhold records until all obligations, such as financial, have been met.
5. Complete and accurate permanent records are maintained for all students. All student records must be kept for a period of not less than seven years. After that time only transcripts must be kept.
1. All schools, centers and agencies must be fiscally sound and possess the financial resources to meet all of their financial obligations.
2. All schools, centers and agencies must fulfill all of their financial obligations in a timely manner
3. All financial activities relating to inter‑school contests and all other school sponsored activities are under the direct control of the principal or headmaster.
4. At least $6.00 per student enrolled is spent for library books and other library media, exclusive of equipment, each school year.
5. The school has a system of internal accounting records showing all receipts and disbursements. These records are audited annually by a qualified individual who is not a member of the administrative staff of the school.
The following Physical Plant standards apply to Schools, Agencies and Non-Traditional Educational Centers that offer Classes for 15 or more Students, but not to Pre-Kindergartens and Kindergartens.
Pre-Kindergarten Standards may be found on p. 23; Kindergarten on p. 29.
(For Accredited status 24 affirmative answers are required, including standards 1 through 22).
1. A safety preparedness plan has been developed for the school
2. Fire drills are conducted monthly
3. A natural disaster plan has been developed and drills are conducted yearly.
4. Panic hardware is installed and operational on all outside doors except classrooms that open directly to an outside area.
5. Electrical and gas outlets and lighting fixtures are in safe condition.
6. There is a minimum of 20 square feet of floor space per student in each instructional area.
7. Commodes, lavatories, and urinals are clean and operational.
8. Fire extinguishers are available and have current inspection labels attached.
9. Exit lights are operating.
10. All storage spaces are free of fire hazards.
11. Equipment on the school grounds is in safe condition.
12. Building appears to be structurally sound.
13. Drinking fountains are available and operational.
14. All exits are free of obstruction.
15. In schools with kitchens, equipment is safe and operational.
16. An exhaust system is installed in science laboratories and functions when hazardous fumes are present.
17. There is adequate lighting throughout the school plant.
18. Science laboratory equipment and furnishings are in safe and operational condition.
19. All buildings have a Certificate of Occupancy issued by the Georgia State Fire Marshall. Those buildings not eligible to be issued a Certificate of Occupancy by the State Fire Marshall have an acceptable inspection report by an appropriate local, State, or federal fire official on file.
20. Protective eyewear is used in appropriate laboratories.
21. Emergency eyewash equipment is provided in labs where chemicals are used.
22. Schools of 300 students or less have a school site of at least 4 acres. Schools of more than 300 students have a school site of at least 4 acres plus an additional acre for each 100 students above 300.
23. Outside lighting is sufficient to avoid hazards at night.
24. Where lockers are present, they are operable.
25. Adequate teacher workspace is available.
26. Shelving in the Media Center is adequate for materials and equipment.
27. In schools with lunchroom workers, separate restroom facilities are available for lunchroom workers.
28. Automatic door closers are present in areas where food is prepared or consumed.