Nanjing International School is the only independent, non-profit international school in Nanjing, meaning all our resources go into providing the best teachers, the best facilities, and the best opportunities for our students. We are owned by our parents. NIS is also the only school in Nanjing to be accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) – each global gold standards of accreditation – and authorised by the International Baccalaureate.
A thorough accreditation process vets a school in ways parents usually can’t, even if they currently have children enroled. Accreditation forces a school to closely examine its own standards and plans, all while an independent body looks behind the scenes for appropriate governance and clean bookkeeping, encourages transparency, and measures the amount of say parents have on financial planning. All of this is particularly important for international schools in China, where those that are for-profit and owned by a group do not legally need to answer to parents where their tuition goes. Accreditation also matters internationally because without it, high school diplomas are not usually accepted by universities abroad.
“There are many organisations that offer some degree of evaluation,” explained Mr. Kasson Bratton, Deputy Director of Learning at NIS. “But none even come close to the rigour, the reputation, and the international recognition that ours do.”
Council of International Schools
NIS has been consistently re-accredited by CIS for almost 20 years. “Over the course of time, we've used their rigorous framework to constantly evaluate our own programme as part of the accreditation process,” said Mr. Bratton. “The culmination of those ongoing self-studies is the visit. The feedback we get is extremely helpful in constantly improving our programme from an organisation that is non-profit and has a very clear goal.”
The many hundreds of schools that are accredited by CIS are all peer-evaluated, so the officials that accredit us have a deep level of understanding of how schools work and are coming from accredited schools themselves. The feedback our school receives is therefore very rich and essential to our ongoing improvement. “As a parent, especially when looking at the international education system, CIS is by far the gold standard,” explained Mr. Bratton.
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
Like CIS, our school has been continuously re-accredited by NEASC for almost two decades. NEASC is one of several US-based, non-profit organisations that accredit all schools and colleges in the United States.
What this means for our school is that a diploma from NIS is considered the same level and standard as a diploma from any high school in the US – this is crucial for our graduates, as many of them wish to pursue studies at an American university.
“When you graduate from NIS, it’s not just a piece of paper,” said Mr. Bratton. “It’s an accredited high school diploma that shows the level of rigour that we're trying to build into our programme, and that is reflected in any university in the United States.”
NEASC partners with CIS, so when the school evaluates itself and is ultimately vetted, we are not just held to CIS standards, but also NEASC standards, which demand a great deal in terms of the integrity of our academic programme.
NIS is the first IB World School in China and the country’s first IB Continuum School. Since the 90s, the IB has added another internationally recognised framework for teaching and learning at our school that is focussed on the student experience.
During an IB accreditation, it’s not only about academics, but also well-being. “Being authorised by the IB gives us the huge benefit in that we're able to run the Diploma Programme, which is by far the most rigorous and internationally-recognised high school programme in the world,” explained Mr. Bratton. “It gives us access to a huge network of schools and a vast amount of professional learning for teachers. Because we're a continuum school, it helps us build an even better K-12 student experience.”
At NIS, we use the IB framework to help us purposefully construct every single student experience, social, emotional learning, curriculum, and programme all the way from Pre-K through grade 12.