NIS Stories

Navigating the Pathway II Evaluation: A Journey of School Improvement and Accreditation Excellence

Students enjoying origami together.

Accreditation serves as a testament to a school's dedication to maintaining high standards in education. It provides a benchmark for quality and assures stakeholders – parents, students, and the community – that the school is committed to continuous improvement. NIS is authorized by the IBO (International Baccalaureate Organization) and accredited by both WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) and CIS (The Council for International Schools).* In 2024, NIS was excited to be one of the few schools in the world to have a triple re-accreditation visit by all three organizations, and for the school to be one of the first to undergo the CIS Pathway II accreditation process. 

Pathway II: Tailoring Improvement Goals to School Vision

When a school is thriving and has consistently been delivering on the promise of its mission, CIS offers a new opportunity to embark on a Pathway II accreditation process. NIS is in a select group of schools that are the first to embark on a “Pathway II” accreditation process. This new pathway empowers schools to identify specific areas for improvement aligned with their unique goals, fostering a more tailored approach to enhancing overall performance. NIS considered this distinction both an honor and an opportunity and set off on a path of discovery. 

The NIS Journey

Last year, NIS underwent a comprehensive strategic planning process, including a review of our Mission. It involved all stakeholders – staff, parents, teachers, administration, and the Board of Directors. After this process, the school emerged with a new vision for the future, resulting in a dual structure “School Development Plan” (SDP). The plan outlined strategic and tactical goals representing a manageable body of work with a 1-3 year goal for accomplishment. The plan then guided the start of Pathway II and helped the school identify key areas of focus centering around the "Teaching and Learning" domain** that could be deepened and improved upon.A male high school science student precisely measures a solution with a pipette.

The Four Focus Areas***

NIS identified four focus areas as part of their Pathway II journey to improve Teaching and Learning:

  • Embedding International Competencies:
    • Integrating global competencies into daily learning experiences.
    • Cultivating a global mindset among students.
  • Revamping Teaching Approaches – DuCKS Methodology:
    • Aligning teaching methods with the development and application of DuCKS – Dispositions, Understanding of Concepts, Knowledge, and Skills.
    • Implementing pedagogical models from preschool through grade 12.
  • Fostering Strong Partnerships to Enhance Student Learning:
    • Strengthening partnerships through transparent communication.
    • Ensuring parents are informed about their children's learning experiences.
  • Enhancing Co-Curricular Activities:
    • Aligning activities with the school's mission and ethos.
    • Strengthening connections between extracurriculars and academic goals.

Committee-driven Solutions

The school formed committees of staff to drive progress in each focus area. Through tireless efforts and long hours, these committees formulated and implemented strategies to achieve specific goals, fostering a collaborative environment for continuous improvement. For the past 18 months, these committees have been working towards these goals knowing that their work is not a means to an end, but rather a steady advancement towards outcomes that will greatly benefit our students, parents, and staff.

“...the most gratifying part is that [through this process] there is so much collaboration, empowerment, and dedication happening, that I can go home at night feeling that I work with some really good people and I’m glad my kids are here…” - Maia Bassett, PYP & MYP Visual Arts/DP TOK and Accreditation Coordinator

Parents cheering and participating at an assembly.

Evaluation Time!

CIS evaluators (along with WASC and IB evaluators) spent time at the school during the week of March 11-15. NIS leaders and committee members enthusiastically presented their progress over four event-packed days. The evaluators also spent considerable time with students at all levels of the school, as well as parents, to get a well-rounded picture of the projects and how they were having an impact on student learning. At the time of the evaluation visit, some projects were already in the implementation and assessment phase, while others were still in the planning and development stages. With multiple components to each of the four areas, the emphasis needed to be on continuing progress, not final outcomes, as a demonstration of the dedication to thoughtful and progressive improvement.

A CIS evaluator speaks with children around a table in the conference room.

And that is the very point of The Pathway II evaluation with CIS. It exemplifies a commitment to ongoing progress, allowing schools like NIS to tailor their goals according to their unique vision and needs.

This journey, marked by collaboration and dedication from all corners of the NIS community, is a testament to the school's unwavering commitment to providing a world-class education. As NIS eagerly awaits the evaluation report, the anticipation is not just for validation but for an acknowledgment of the school's relentless pursuit of excellence in international education. 


*Read more about NIS and accreditation

**CIS Pathway II allows schools to concentrate on certain ‘domains.’ This may include Wellbeing, School Infrastructure, or Administration and Governance, among others. NIS chose the domain of Teaching and Learning guided by the SDP process.

***Read more about the individual projects in the Head of School Weekly Notes archives, dated February 9, 16, 23, and March 1. 


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