Standards for Non-Traditional Educational Centers

Standards for Non-Traditional Educational Centers 


            Non-Traditional Educational Centers are defined as those centers serving groups of students engaged in independent study and are members of a center for non-traditional learning.  Effective July 1, 2013: Non-Traditional Educational Centers will be defined as those centers serving home-schooled students a maximum of 60% of the time at the center. The remaining 40% of the time must be spent studying at home or at a place designated by the parents. Parents or guardians may teach their own children in the home study program or parents or guardians may employ a tutor who holds at least a high school diploma or a GED equivalency diploma to teach their children. Effective March 9, 2011: Applications for NTEC status will be accepted only for those centers meeting the above requirements (60/40 Rule).

The process of accrediting NTECs begins with an examination of the center’s written statement of its educational goals. This focus allows the center’s program to be uniquely specialized to meet the learning needs of the students served and to be responsive to the interests and general welfare of the groups and students they serve. The written statement of educational goals must be forwarded to the consultant and to the Executive Director of GAC prior to consultant’s visit to the center.

Because Non-Traditional Educational Centers vary widely in the kinds of students they serve, the kinds of programs provided also vary. For this reason, the Commission has developed specific standards that these centers must meet. Thus, all NTECs are required to meet the following standards (listed by accreditation status) in order to be accredited with the Georgia Accrediting Commission:

The standards are cumulative; that is, all the standards for Accredited Annually must be met before consideration will be given regarding the status of Accredited Fully. Also, all of the standards for Accredited Annually and Accredited Fully must be met before consideration for the status of Accredited with Quality will be given.

Application Procedures for Non-Traditional Educational Centers

  1. The center will complete an application (form may be found at and forward it to GAC. The address and fax number of GAC are on the application. An application fee of $50.00 must be forwarded to GAC along with the Center’s application. In addition, a fee of $50.00 will be paid in advance for each year’s membership. The consultant will be paid $250 per day plus travel expenses by the center for each day on-site.
  2. The center chooses a consultant from the list contained in this Bulletin or on the GAC website. If the center prefers, the GAC Executive Director will assign a consultant. WEBSITE
  3. The chief administrator of the center will work with the consultant and will provide the consultant and the Commission with a written operational plan that demonstrates the operation of the center is in agreement with each standard. The written operational plan should directly address how the center meets each standard. The plan must be forwarded to the consultant and to the Executive Director of GAC prior to consultant’s visit. Center personnel are encouraged to make the plans as concise as practical with additional documentation made available to the consultant during the on-site accreditation review.
  4. The consultant will review the center’s written application, written statement of educational goals and the center’s written operational plan and visit the center.
  5. During the visit the consultant seeks evidence that the center meets GAC standards. If it does, the consultant recommends to the executive director that the center be accredited in the appropriate status: Accredited Annually, Accredited Fully or Accredited with Quality. If the center does not meet GAC standards, the consultant informs the executive director. In either case the chief administrator of the center receives a copy of the consultant’s recommendation or report.
  6. Because of the specialized nature of the programs, it is essential that there is sufficient stability in leadership positions to ensure program continuity. So, whenever the person designated as the educational director of the center leaves the position, the Executive Director of the Georgia Accrediting Commission must be notified within 3 months. Then, a consultant must visit the center to verify the continuity of the educational program.
  7. After the center has been awarded Accredited Fully or Accredited with Quality status, the center will apply for Continuing Accreditation status on or before November 30th of each year. A Continuing Accreditation Application and payment of an annual membership fee ($50.00) must be sent to the GAC executive director not later than November 30th. Late fee penalties will apply to membership dues not paid by November 30th of each year.
  8. A consultant visit each year is required for the first three years of accreditation, regardless of accreditation status. After the third-year visit, a consultant visit will be required every three years for renewal of accreditation.

Accreditation Statuses

The Board of Directors has approved three levels of classifications for Non-Traditional Educational Centers seeking Accreditation status with the Georgia Accrediting Commission.

 Accredited Annually: Classification for a center which has involved its faculty and staff in a study of the GAC principles and has provided the Commission with satisfactory documentation that the following standards have been met. Please note: A center may be in Accredited Annually status a maximum of two years, and a consultant must make annual visits. If the center does not advance to either Accredited Fully or Accredited with Quality status after two years, the center will not be accredited. The center may reapply for reaccreditation after one year in non-accredited status.

A written operational plan verifying compliance with the following standards must be provided to the consultant.

A.  The agency will remind parents of their responsibilities to report certain information as specified by the Georgia Department of Education (see below).

Effective July 1, 2013, Georgia law indicates parents are no longer required to submit an attendance form to the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE).  Declarations of Intent (DOI) must still be submitted to the GaDOE each year.  These forms should be submitted electronically using the GaDOE website.  Electronic submissions automatically provide the parent with a 36 unique character parental signature.  Georgia law dictates that the DOI must be submitted by the parent or guardian only.  The GaDOE will not accept third party submissions.  If possible, submission of the DOI should be electronically, however, mailing, emailing or faxing is acceptable.  The GaDOE no longer issues Certificate of Attendance.  The parents’ DOI with the 36 unique characters on the parental signature line is the official document of the Georgia Home Study Program.  This document should be used to obtain Driver’s license/permits, work permits, post-secondary admission, military enlistment, and for all other entities that require proof of educational enrollment.

B.  The agency maintains attendance records 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.
C.  The center maintains an academic transcript of the courses completed, the clock hours devoted to each, and the average grade of tests administered by the center.
D.  The center administers, scores, and records a content test at the end of each course.
E.  The 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.
F.  The center provides frequent group enrichment and socialization activities. They are arranged for all students enrolled by the center.
G.  The center develops activities that allow its students to participate both academically and socially with students from other groups in the community.
H.  When students transfer to other schools, the agency will assist the receiving school in evaluating the grade placement of the student.
I.  The center will certify that the school day includes at least 41/2 clock hours of instructional activity.
J.  The center will certify that the school year consists of 180 days.
K.  One person who is assigned to leadership in academic planning for the agency must possess at least a bachelor’s degree.
L.  For grades 9 through 12, the center offers the college preparatory curriculum.  Such a curriculum must include: 4 units in mathematics, 3 units of sciences, 1 unit of health, 4 units of English, 3 total units of history and social sciences, 2 units of foreign language. The center will certify the completion of at least 22 units for graduation (a minimum of 120 clock hours of class activity equals a unit).
M.  The philosophy and objectives are reflected in admissions and in the program of operation, administration, organization, instruction, and student activities.
N.  All standards for grades 9 through 12 also apply to summer school programs      provided by the center.
O.  The center requires a student to complete an academic year of study through the accredited center program before verifying independent study completed prior to entry into the center.
P.  The center provides space and opportunity for patrons to examine and/or review      curriculum materials and books that may be utilized in independent study, and will assist mentors in ascertaining progress in the weekly learning tasks of students.
Q.  Each student is assigned an adult mentor.
R.  All mentors not possessing college degrees (TRANSCRIPT) have completed at least 8 clock hours of instruction in mentoring. A waiver may be requested so long as mentors are engaged in receiving instruction and are making progress toward attaining the 8 hours.
S.  The center has an annual budget allocation that is adequate for the educational program.
T.  Each center has a satisfactory system of internal accounting with records kept on all funds by the administrator or his or her appointed personnel.  A financial statement is available and subject to an annual, external review.
U.  Student records are protected against fire, theft, and damage by being located in a fire resistant cabinet, or a second, duplicate set of records is located in another area.
V.  The governing group of the center publishes policies that will assure the observance of professional ethics by all concerned and will promote the professional development of competent personnel.
W.  The center will maintain official SAT/ACT reports for each graduating senior of the College Preparatory Curriculum and make these reports available to the Commission Consultant.
X.  A faculty member with a bachelor’s degree will be present for centers offering group classes, and for each period, with a ratio of one bachelor-degreed teacher for 40 students (Commission Consultant will make calculations by dividing the total number of students enrolled, each period, by 40).
Y.  Effective July 1, 2016: Teachers of mathematics, science, language arts, or social      studies to students at any grade level have bachelor degrees and at least 6 semester hours credit in education courses. Equivalent staff development units may be substituted for semester hours of professional education.
Z.  The governing group delegates to the administrator executive and administrative functions, including the appointment of staff personnel.
AA.  Buildings in which group classes are conducted will meet local Fire Marshall      requirements.  If the building is exempt from Fire Marshall concern, the Commission Consultant will make a judgment of conditions for escaping fire and for withstanding storm.
BB.  A plan has been developed by the center for safety preparedness, fire drills, natural disaster, and acts of terrorism.   Appropriate drills are conducted.
CC.  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.

Accredited Fully Status: Classification for a center which has involved its faculty and staff in a study of the GAC principles and has provided the Commission with satisfactory documentation that all Principles required for Accredited Annually status have been met. In addition, the following Principles have been met:
A.  The center will document specifics regarding the secluded space for academic study.
B.  The center will document that the student has access to appropriate research materials, including encyclopedic, CD-ROM or Internet capability.
C.  Where group classes meet, the center meets applicable School Plant guidelines      contained on pages 19 – 20 of Bulletin.
D.  The center has a plan to follow the progress of those students who have left the center.
E.  The center explains the professional growth experiences of the staff for the past year.

Accredited with Quality: Classification for a center that has involved its faculty and staff in a study of the GAC principles and has provided the Commission with satisfactory documentation that all Principles required for Accredited Fully status have been met. In addition, the following principles must also have been met.
A.  The educational program is under the administration of a person with a Master’s degree.  When this person leaves the position, the Executive Director of the Georgia Accrediting Commission must be notified.
B.  The center’s student retention rate from the start to the end of the academic year is at least 60%. A minimum of 50% of the students have scored average or above on the standardized achievement tests.
C.  Students and mentors have agreed to a plan for: assessment of each student;      development of an individualized plan to be followed in study; evaluation of the student based on the plan; and prescription of a re-teaching plan.
D.  All homes of the center have a mentoring family member who has completed some academic credit beyond high school.
E.  All who serve as mentors to students have completed methodology for instructing each of the fields of mathematics, sciences, English, history and foreign language (four clock hours each).



 Career/Technology      22                                                        College Preparatory            22

Subject                         Credits Required                                 Subject         Credits Required

Language Arts                           4                                              Language Arts               4
English 9                      (1)                                                        English  9          (1)
English 10                    (1)                                                        English10          (1)
English 11                    (1)                                                        English 11         (1)
English 12                    (1)                                                        English 12         (1)

 Mathematics                              4                                               Mathematics                 4
Either:                                                                                        Either:
Algebra Concepts 1 &2 (2)                                                        Alg Concepts 1,2  (2)
Or                                                                                                        Or
Algebra 1                      (1)                                                      Algebra 1              (1)
Geometry                      (1)                                                      Geometry             (1)
Algebra II                      (1)                                                      Algebra II              (1)
Elective Above
Alg. II          (1)

Science                                       4                                                       Science                 4
Physical Science           (1)                                                      Physical Science  (1)
Biology                          (1)                                                       Biology                 (1)
Elective                         (1)                                                       Elective                 (1)

Social Studies                            3                                                         Social Studies        3
World History                  (1)                                                        World History        (1)
U.S. History                    (1)                                                         U.S. History          (1)
Economics                     (.5)                                                         Economics           (.5)
Government                   (.5)                                                         Government         (.5)

Health/Physical Education        1                                             Health/Physical Education   1

Career/Technology                   2                                             Foreign Language                2
Core                              (3)                                                          Two years of  same
.                                                                                                    language                (2)

Fine Arts/Technology/                1                                             Fine  Arts/Technology/        1
Level III Foreign Language                                                       Level III Foreign Language

Electives                                   3                                               Electives                              3