What does accreditation mean?

In the United States, education is controlled by each state. The US Constitution does not give this power to the federal government. Each state has its own laws that govern education in the state. In order to assure that public and private schools have uniform standards, accreditation organizations were created. They are supposed to be independent from the government and independent from the schools. They assure that the schools meet their standards so that students in every state will receive a similar education.

The federal government established a Department of Education, which gives money to schools that offer certain programs and comply with their standards. The desire for federal government funding is what tempts the states to include the federal programs in their schools and comply with standards.

Accreditation is not related to a school’s legal status in the state where it has offices. West River Academy started in Colorado as a Colorado corporation. In California, it operates as a foreign corporation. Each year, West River Academy files an affidavit with the California Department of Education and is listed on their website as a private school. You can find the affidavit here:


Scan the QR code and find us directly at the California Department of Education’s website.

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West River Academy is accredited by the National Association for the Legal Support of Alternative Schools (NALSAS). This organization assures the student who is considering this school that it has done an on-site visit to the school and can assure the public that the school complies with all legal requirements and performs the services that it offers.

NALSAS does not have curriculum requirements for member schools. It honors the right of the family to choose the program that will work best for their children. This is the reason that West River Academy chose to seek accreditation by NALSAS and not by other accreditation organizations.

Most US colleges and universities that West River Academy seniors have applied to have recognized our diploma and transcript as valid. Our documents have also been accepted in other countries and by universities in other countries. For students in countries that are members of The Hague Convention, the documents are usually sent to the Secretary of State of Colorado to receive an Apostille and then presented to the Ministry of Education or a university in that country.