Become a Member of VAISEF!

We are the only statewide association in Virginia exclusively serving private schools for students with disabilities. We are a recognized voice when it comes to special education advocacy and expertise.

We support our members in providing innovative and quality education services to children, youth, and adults with special needs. This commitment to high standards and services has made a VAISEF accreditation a hallmark of quality in Virginia’s specialized education arena. We believe that the active involvement in a strong association benefits private providers by promoting program involvement, staff development, and positive productive relationships to other agencies.

VAISEF has a rigorous set of standards established to provide a framework for accreditation through a peer review process that has been approved by the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE) as authorized by the Virginia State Board of Education.

Through its affiliations with the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE), the National Association of Private Schools for Exceptional Children (NAPSEC), and the Virginia Coalition of Private Provider Associations, we are enabled to expand our range of influence with state, local, and national agencies, and strengthen our ability to provide training, information, and promote the legislative interests of member agencies.

Networking & Advocacy: Preparing for the future

VAISEF is innovative in response to developments in and the needs of the special education community, and forward thinking in meeting the needs of our students. To this end, VAISEF maintains active association membership with the Virginia Council of Private Education (VCPE) and the National Association of Private Schools for Exceptional Children (NAPSEC) to expand the organization’s range of influence with state, local and national agencies, and strengthen the Association’s ability to provide training, information and promote the legislative interests of member agencies on behalf of students with special needs.

Guided by the Board of Directors and the Government Affairs Committee, VAISEF advocates at the legislative, executive, and state agency levels for private schools for students with disabilities and those students that they serve.

VAISEF’s staff are registered lobbyists who work closely with Senator and Delegates in the Virginia General Assembly and the Governor’s office, ensuring that state policymakers understand the services our schools provide and the impact of statewide policies.

Many members of the VAISEF Board of Directors and various committees, also maintain close relationships with staff at the Virginia Department of Education, who have come to recognize and value the strength of the collective voice that VAISEF represents.

Accreditation: Ensuring the Best

With an established set of rigorous Standards of Accreditation, VAISEF maintains a peer-review accreditation process. Every five years, all accredited schools must submit application and be reviewed by a team of peers who are members of the VAISEF Accreditation Committee. In between these five year reviews, schools must also provide annual reports and an interim self-study, indicating their continued compliance with the Standards of Accreditation.

Becoming a member of VAISEF enables schools to apply for accreditation. More information about accreditation can be found here, but in summary, the benefits of accreditation are as follows:

  • Documents that the school is true to its own foundational statements (mission, philosophy, and goals).
  • Affirms that the school meets standards of quality and accountability established by the association.
  • Provides validation of the credibility of the school/program through a peer review process.
  • Promotes accountability to the school community and impacts parental contentment.
  • Promotes on-going institutional improvement through a continuous process of self-assessment and systematic school/program development.
  • Guarantees the transfer of credits between nonpublic and public schools.
  • Provides a complete review and written documentation of school program.
  • Gives purpose and direction for long-range strategic planning.

Partnerships: Member Benefits & Services

Conferences, Seminars and Meetings – Each year VAISEF hosts 2 conferences as well as seminars and meetings which address topics and issues of interest and importance to member facilities. The Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Education routinely shares information with member facilities in regrds to trends and regulations.

Medication Administration Training for Youth Program – The course certifies staff in private children’s residential facilities or schools for students with disabilities to administer prescription and over-the-counter medications when provided written instructions from the prescriber and permission from the legal guardian.

Government Affairs – VAISEF monitors and reports on legislative issues that affect members and the students and families they serve.

Cooperative Service Arrangement and Information Exchange – Members are encouraged to work together in sharing services and best practices to benefit all VAISEF member students and families. Members are also eligible to participate in services provided by Partlow Insurance. A biannual newsletter is distributed to members.

VAISEF Website Listing & Link – Members are listed on the VAISEF website and a link is provided to the organization’s website.