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Foundation Standards

The ACE Learning protocol encompasses two distinct parts: six Foundation Standards and ten Learning Principles. The ACE Foundation Standards constitute the basic building blocks necessary for a school to function and to ensure that fundamental operational requirements are addressed. While the Learning Principles embrace a transformative approach designed to change ‘schools’ into reflective learning communities, the Foundation Standards represent the transactional relationships, structures, policies and systems without which a learning community cannot exist.

ACE Foundation Standards are the “non-negotiables” schools wishing to obtain NEASC Accreditation must meet. At the Application-Foundation Review stage of the ACE process at least three of the six Standards must be substantially met and implemented, with reasonable and achievable plans in place to meet the remaining two in order to qualify for Eligibility. Unless a school meets these minimum requirements, the accreditation process will not proceed until deficiencies have been remedied and another visit has been conducted to verify improvements. Thus, the Foundation Standards serve as gatekeepers of Eligibility for Accreditation.

NEASC reserves the right to schedule Special Visits and/or require a school to submit a Special Report if it deems that circumstances warrant it. Failure to meet Foundation Standards may lead to withdrawal of accreditation.

Learning Structure

The school has in place clear statements that express a shared understanding of learning and objectives that shape and drive its programs and practices. A curriculum articulating learning outcomes, expected teaching practices, and principles of assessment exist.

Organizational Structure

The school has in place a clear governance and leadership structure with defined roles and responsibilities, and a faculty and staff qualified for the roles to which they are assigned. Expectations defined in policy are carried out and observed in practice. Mechanisms for assessing the effectiveness and functionality of the school’s organizational structures have been developed.

Health, Safety, and Security

The learning environment is healthy, safe, and secure for all members of the school community. Effective and well-established policies and procedures exist and are acted upon to protect children, adults, and visitors alike.

Finance, Facilities, and Resources

The school has in place policies, practices, and procedures that ensure financial health and economic sustainability. The principles governing financial management are designed to provide the resources (in personnel, equipment, and facilities) required to support the school’s learning program and objectives. The school facilities are fit for purpose.

Ethical Practice

The school has well established, transparent policies and practices in place to ensure that employees, learners, and parents are treated fairly, equitably, and ethically.


The boarding/residential program, if offered, effectively supports the wellbeing and enhances the learning experiences of all boarding students and staff.