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Unique Missions
Fast Facts

CAIS Helps Independent Schools Fulfill Their Unique Missions

CAIS (California Association of Independent Schools) empowers school leaders through ongoing training, accountability, and individualized support.

Check out our Fast Facts below to learn more about our association.

CAIS At A Glance

Total Enrollment
School Size
Median Tuition
Per Year
Financial Aid
Per Year
to 4-yr colleges
Students of Color
Teachers of Color
Heads of Color

Who We Are

  • CAIS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1941.
  • At the time of its founding in 1941, CAIS comprised just 21 schools. We now serve nearly 93,000 students in more than 233 independent non-profit elementary, middle, and high schools throughout California.

What We Offer

  • An ongoing cycle of accreditation, training and support to independent K-12 schools throughout California.
  • Professional development, networking, resources, and solution-driven guidance to member school heads and trustees.
At A Glance

A Snapshot of CAIS Schools

Independent, Nonprofit Institutions

  • CAIS schools are financially and structurally independent of government, shareholders, religious groups or other external organizations.
  • An independent school is free to act in students' best interest, without significant influence from outside sources.

A wide range of missions, sizes, approaches, cultures, affiliations and programs

  • Over 233 schools to meet diverse needs
  • School sizes ranging from 31 to 1979 students
  • Secular (non-religious), Catholic, Episcopal, Jewish, and Muslim schools
  • Language immersion and international schools
  • Traditional and progressive approaches
  • Supporting all types of learners, including gifted and special-needs students
  • Urban, suburban, and rural locations

Environments that Prepare and NuRture Students

  • CAIS schools provide strong academic and co-curricular programs, preparing students for college and beyond.
  • CAIS schools know and nurture each individual student in tight-knit, caring, and goal-oriented communities.

Communities that Embrace and Celebrate Diversity

  • All CAIS schools offer financial aid; together providing over 460 million dollars in financial aid each year.
  • Our schools include 51% students of color, 34% teachers of color, and 19% heads of color with a shared commitment to inclusion, equity, and belonging.
Find an Independent School

CAIS Membership

CAIS independent, nonprofit schools are held to high standards, ensuring that each school can fulfill its unique mission. We assess six key areas:

  1. Instititional Purpose and Core Values
  2. Teaching and Learning
  3. Financial Sustainability
  4. Operational Purpose and Core Values
  5. Institutional Stewardship and Leadership
  6. Institutional Improvement and Sustainability

CAIS Member Schools

Shared Code of Ethics
Share high ethical standards, including non-discrimination in admissions and hiring.
Self Study
Make continuous improvements to their programs through an ongoing cycle of self study and re-accreditation.

Joint Accreditations

  • Many schools are jointly accredited by CAIS and WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges).
    • We also co-accredit with WCEA and other groups.
Explore Membership

Data on this page comes from the database of the National Association of Independent Schools.