NFHS Receives Accreditation from Cognia | Sports Destination Management

NFHS Receives Accreditation from Cognia

Mar 21, 2022

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the national leader and advocate for high school athletics and performing arts programs, has earned accreditation by Cognia, a nonprofit organization that provides quality assurance for schools, school districts and education service providers.

Cognia, formerly AdvancED, nationally recognizes schools and other education service providers that meet rigorous standards that focus on productive learning environments, equitable resource allocation that meet the needs of learners, and effective leadership. Earning accreditation from the Cognia Global Accreditation Commission means that the NFHS is recognized across the nation as an organization that meets Cognia Standards of Quality and maintains a commitment to continuous improvement.

The Cognia report covered the entire organization, with the major focus on the NFHS Learning Center, which offers online education courses through its site at The Learning Center, which has delivered more than 15 million courses since its inception in 2007, was founded as the NFHS Coach Education Program and has evolved from just two courses for coaches (Fundamentals of Coaching andFirst Aid for Coaches) to more than 85 online education courses, more than 50 of which are available at no charge. Learning Center course offerings extend across 14 different sports with sport-specific courses and to performing arts programs.

In addition to coaches, online education courses are available for students, athletic directors, school administrators, parents, officials, performing arts educators, music adjudicators and others involved in high school sports and performing arts programs.  

“Accreditation as conferred by the Cognia Global Accreditation Commission provides the NFHS a nationally recognized mark of quality,” said Dr. Karissa Niehoff, CEO of the NFHS. “This accreditation demonstrates our commitment to excellence, our openness to external review and feedback, and our desire to be the best we can be on behalf of the students we serve. It is confirmation that we are effectively providing appropriate leadership and resources to help everyone involved with high school education-based activity programs.”

To earn Cognia accreditation, schools or organizations also must implement a continuous process of improvement and submit to internal and external reviews. Schools or organizations in good standing can maintain their accreditation for a five-year term.

“Cognia accreditation is a rigorous process that focuses the entire organization and its community on the primary goal of preparing lifelong learners in engaging environments where all students can flourish,” said Dr. Mark A. Elgart, president and CEO of Cognia. “The NFHS is to be commended for demonstrating that it has met high standards and is making progress on key indicators that impact student learning.”

“The NFHS Learning Center provides an opportunity for ongoing learning and a pathway for professional development, and this accreditation highlights that we are willing to commit to ongoing learning and improvement,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services.

“While everything we do at the NFHS has — at minimum — an indirect impact on high school students, the NFHS Learning Center has been able to directly bring value to more than 1.4 million students in improving their interscholastic experience through coursework,” Schuster said. “Not only have we been able to leave an impact on today’s students, but we are also working to prepare the next generation of parents, coaches, administrators and officials.”

About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,500 high schools and 12 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.9 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at

About Cognia

Cognia offers accreditation and certification, assessment, professional learning, and improvement services to institutions and other education providers. The result of the merger of AdvancED and Measured Progress, Cognia was formed to bridge the gap between school evaluation and student assessment. As a global nonprofit working in over 80 countries, its 36,000 institutions serve and support nearly 25 million students and five million educators every day. Cognia serves as trusted partner in advancing learning for all learners. Cognia is the parent organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).Find out more at

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