Membership Overview

What does NAPCIS Membership mean? | Why Join NAPCIS | Membership Classifications | Standards of Excellence

What does NAPCIS membership mean?

Membership in the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools means solidarity, strength and security.

  • solidarity in the uniting of members in their common interests and responsibilities;
  • strength in the reinforcement of the identity and resolve of individual schools to live up to their Catholic mission;
  • security in the protection and assurance of belonging to a community that brings the freedom of confidence and the certainty of success.

Membership in NAPCIS confirms the character and quality of the school and gives witness and support to its philosophy of education. It provides assurance that a school has met the high standards of spiritual and academic excellence which characterize NAPCIS schools.

In order to be eligible for membership in NAPCIS, a school must meet technical eligibility requirements: NAPCIS schools must have explicitly stated non-discrimination policies in admission and employment; must be non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations recognized and regulated as such by the IRS; schools must demonstrate sound fiscal practices and provide NAPCIS with financial documents as requested by NAPCIS.

In addition to the technical requirements, the NAPCIS executive committee and its membership department have set the following professional eligibility standards: schools must provide the required documentation and demonstrate that they operate under a Catholic philosophy of education; that they offer an academic environment of excellence that is consistent with the Catholic mission of the school; that they have responsible organizational structure and administration. Schools applying for membership must fulfill the technical eligibility requirements and the professional criteria before membership into NAPCIS will be accepted.

Why join NAPCIS?

Your annual $150 membership fee entitles you to:

  • enrollment in the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools;
  • listing in the online edition of the NAPCIS Directory of Private Catholic and Independent Schools.
  • networking available through NAPCIS conferences,  e-mail loops, and bulletins.
  • online posting of job opportunities giving national access in the recruitment of qualified administrators and teachers.

NAPCIS offers the following programs and services to its members:


  • Accreditation of member schools through NAPCIS Accreditation Program
  • Certification of teachers applying Standards of Excellence for Teachers


  • Advice and assistance on how to start a school
  • Professional consultants & speakers
  • Annual Conference
  • Referrals to educational resources, support services
  • Publicity – Advocacy for private Catholic and independent schools
  • Internet access to a national network of private Catholic and independent schools
  • Online resources and immediate access to information and documents necessary and useful in the operation of private Catholic and independent schools

Beyond these services:

NAPCIS offers the professionals in its member schools an opportunity to join a national association uniting private and independent schools teaching the Catholic Faith in a common resolve to support, advance and preserve their mission.

Working in private and independent schools that teach the Catholic Faith is a challenging and fulfilling vocation. Too often, however, it can be an isolating experience and be perceived as being “all alone out there”, as founders and administrators of schools have expressed. Administrators, teachers and parents need support, reinforcement and affirmation. NAPCIS offers assurance in the knowledge that member schools are a part of a larger plan, larger than lovingly demonstrated by an individual school. Private Catholic and independent schools are the activity of the Holy Spirit in the Church today to preserve and teach the Faith.

How Do Schools Qualify for Membership In NAPCIS?

The National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools seeks members who are dedicated to preserving and teaching the truths of the Catholic Faith in loyalty and obedience to the Holy See. We recognize that member schools will differ in their methods and facilities. We ask schools to demonstrate their Catholic identity, provide academic excellence, practice sound fiscal policies and manage their operations with responsible governance and administration.

A school must be a non-profit, tax exempt, 501(c)(3) organization and be nondiscriminatory under the law in admission and employment practices.

How Is The Application Processed?

Applications are evaluated by the Membership Department of NAPCIS and may be referred to the Board of Trustees for review and approval.

When Are Applications Reviewed?

Applications are evaluated and reviewed as received.

Acceptance of Membership

Applicants will be notified of the review and decision by the Membership Department. Upon completion and acceptance of application for membership a membership fee of $150.00 will be due to NAPCIS. This is an annual fee of membership. A reminder of renewal is sent each August.

Deferred Action

Sometimes, because it does not have enough information, the Membership Department may not be ready to make a recommendation about an applicant school. The length of deferral will depend on the circumstances.

Refusal of Membership

The NAPCIS Board of Trustees reserves the right to refuse membership to any applicant school which, in the board\’s view, fails to satisfy the eligibility requirements. NAPCIS will notify the school of the board\’s reasons for its action and offer the school the opportunity to respond within a designated time period.

NAPCIS Membership Classifications

Active Status Membership

A category of membership for schools that meet all eligibility requirements and have submitted all necessary documentation. An active member receives all benefits and services of the association.

Provisional Status Membership

A category of membership for those schools who do not currently meet all the eligibility requirements, but are in the process of completing the documentation process. This category is evaluated by the Membership Department on a year-to-year basis, as long as progress is made by the applicant to meet eligibility requirements. A provisional member receives all benefits and services of the association.

Associate Status Membership

This category of membership is available only to individuals or groups involved in the beginning stages of starting a school. The founders group of the new school has submitted an application for membership to NAPCIS, which has been reviewed and accepted by the Membership Department. The period of Associate Status depends on progress made by the founders group in opening the school and meeting the eligibility requirements to qualify for an upgraded classification of Active or Provisional membership. An Associate Status member is listed in the NAPCIS Directory, and receives partial services (see listing of services in membership packet).

You can join NAPCIS and be part of uniting and strengthening your actions

Standards of Excellence for Member Schools

 NAPCIS Commitments

1. Religious: The Association exists to promote the teachings of the Catholic Faith in obedience to the Pope and Magisterium.

2. Educational: The Association advocates excellence and professionalism in the curriculum adopted and the faculty employed by the schools.

3. Administrative: The Association maintains the position that a school\’s stability is secured by an administrator who has clearly designated responsibilities and evinces a degree of permanence.

4. Financial: The Association expects members to demonstrate fiscal responsibility and accountability.

5. Philosophical: The Association requires that member schools clearly state its mission, goals, and objectives and have the ability to demonstrate in practice the fulfillment of its philosophy.

Standards of Membership

1. The school is incorporated as a non-profit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

2. The school has a statement of its mission and purpose. All individuals and groups associated with the school – governing body, professional staff, parents and students – have a clear understanding of this statement.

3. The school requires the Board of Trustees, administrator and the essential professional staff be practicing Roman Catholics. The Board, administration and faculty make an annual Profession of Faith and pledge an Oath of Fidelity to the Pope and Magisterium.

4. The school informs parents of the mission and purposes of the school and secures their affirmation and consent for full support and participation.

5. The school requires all students to participate fully, without exception, in its curriculum and program, including, and, especially, those that confirm its Catholic identity – Mass and the Sacraments; devotions and prayer; religion and Theology studies.

6. The school has an established admission policy and procedure consistent with the school’s stated mission and purpose.

7. The school informs the families of their financial responsibility to the school, and the school’s policy regarding the payment of tuition and fees.

8. The school has established non-discriminatory enrollment and employment practices with regard to race, color, national, or ethnic origin in conformance with federal and state statutes.

9. The school has sufficient administration, faculty and staff to carry out the stated program of the school.

10. The school employs professionals who possess either a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in life experience or training.

11. The school has a program for staff development and evaluating staff performance.

12. The school provides the professional staff with reasonable working conditions and salaries.

13. The school prepares a yearly calendar, which meets its State’s requirement for minimum number of school days.

14. The school designs and implements a curriculum that meets the stated mission and goals of the school.

15. The school has physical facilities, equipment and teaching materials to support its program at each grade level.

16. The school adheres to city, county and state health and safety regulations as they apply to the school’s physical facilities.

17. The school has a structure of governance with established procedures for developing school policy and program, and for defining and delineating personnel duties and responsibilities.

18. The school has an effective administration designed to implement the policies established by the governing board.

19. The school has established effective means of communication between the school and parents to inform parents of student progress and school activity and to insure parents’ involvement in the mission and purpose of the school. The school has, also, established reasonable practices and procedures by which parents may address their concerns and interests to appropriate school personnel.

20. The school gives evidence of its financial stability and has established procedures for the management of its financial resources.

21. The school maintains complete and accurate records for students, personnel and graduates.

22. A secondary school includes grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 and confers a high school diploma. It is college preparatory in its stated goals and purposes, although all graduates may not, in fact, go on to higher education.