Spanish-American Institute



ACICS Self-Study Narrative


August 2011


Table of Contents

1.  MISSION.. 4

1.1.  How was the mission developed?. 4

1.7  How does the institution plan to improve its effectiveness?. 6

1.8  How is the plan evaluated?  What is the schedule for evaluation?. 7

1.11  How do these annual average retention and placement rates compare to prior rates and to rates at similar institutions?. 8


2.3  How does the administration monitor and evaluate activities of faculty and staff?. 10

2.6  Describe any plans for the improvement of the institution's organization. 11


3.2.1.  Programs of study. 13

3.2.2 Student activity programs. 14

3.2.3  Guidance services. 15

3.2.4  Financial aid services. 15

3.4.1.  Financial aid activities. 17

3.4.2  Admissions. 18

3.4.3  Curriculum.. 18

3.4.4  Guidance. 18

3.4.8  Faculty and staff 19

3.4.10  Annual Institutional Reports. 20



4.4  Describe the institution's student recruitment program. 25



4.11  What are the institution's refund policies and procedures?. 30


4.16    Describe the institution's retention program. 33



5.4       How are provisions made for individual differences among students?. 38

5.9       How was the length of each program determined?. 40


5.21     Who is responsible for faculty orientation?  Describe the orientation of the faculty to the institution. 44

5.29     Describe the frequency, content, and documentation of faculty meetings. 47


6.3       Describe any plans to improve the physical plant and equipment. 50


7.3  Describe the institution's advertising and promotional literature. 52


8.2  Explain how the quantity and quality of instructional resources are appropriate for the size and type of the institution. 54

8.6  Describe any plans for improving instructional resources. 55



1.1.  How was the mission developed?


The Spanish-American Institute was founded in 1955.  The school’s mission responds to the needs of its changing student population.  The Institute originally provided communicative adult basic English language training to newly arrived immigrants primarily from the Spanish-speaking Americas.  The Institute responded to their additional need for job-entry office skills by adding career-training courses such as stenography, typing, and bookkeeping.  While the school now draws its student body from all over the world, it continues to provide English language preparation as an end in itself, as preparation for further academic study in an English language environment, and as an integral component of workplace preparation. 


1.2.  State the institution's mission and cite where it is found in the catalog. 


As found on page 7 of the Catalog, the Institute mission statement reads as follows: 


The Spanish-American Institute's mission is to provide effective skills training to individuals seeking entry-level office employment.


Philosophy – The population served by the Institute is largely foreign-born and faces a double challenge to acquire:


·        entry level office skills in keyboarding, accounting, computer operations and

·        improved English language ability.


The Institute believes that students who can anticipate progress on both fronts from the start of classes are more likely to begin and to successfully complete training.  Courses and programs at the Spanish-American Institute permit an individual to pursue these two goals simultaneously.


Objectives – The Institute implements this philosophy through: 


the establishment and maintenance of an effective faculty

the development of business, computer, and language courses and programs

the integration of a varied English as a Second Language course sequence. 


1.3.  Explain how the faculty, financial resources, physical plant, administration, management, and educational activities contribute to the implementation of the institution's mission. 


Faculty:  The Institute’s multilingual, English proficient faculty is sensitive to the particular needs of students in a new country, a new culture, and new language environment.  Faculty members meets ACICS requirements and have New York State Education Department licenses to teach in their respective discipline(s) at a registered business school. Faculty with degrees from other countries have had their credentials formally evaluated by a NCAES member organization in accordance with ACICS guidelines. 


Financial Resources:  The Institute provides the resources needed to accomplish its mission, including but not limited to—


  • facilities conducive to teaching and learning;
  • instructional support such as a stand-alone library and multi-media resources; and
  • academic leadership through a Dean of Academic Affairs and department chair people. 


The Institute's financial statements indicate that it has adequate financial resources to securely deliver its educational programs and services.


Physical Plant:  The physical plant provides attractive space for 13 classrooms, a library, a computer room, an accounting instructional area, a keyboarding instructional area, a bookstore/commissary, two student study and meeting rooms, and administrative and faculty offices. 


Administration and Management:  The Institute has four administrative officers—a President, a Dean of Students, a Dean of Administrative Services, and a Dean of Academic Affairs. 


Educational Activities:  To serve its adult commuter students, the Institute offers a broad array of ESL and non-ESL courses scheduled so that they can arrange full-time academic study during the day or evening with maximum flexibility.


1.4.  What are the provisions for ensuring that the mission is subjected periodically to critical review by the administration and faculty to determine if the institution is fulfilling its educational mission and meeting the needs of the community?


The mission statement and goals and objectives are reviewed periodically through the Institutional Effectiveness Plan (IEP) process. 


1.5.  How was the institutional effectiveness plan developed?  Who is responsible for its implementation? 


The Institute implemented the first IEP in 1992 and updated it every two years until 2001.  Since 2001, the Institute has updated the IEP at least twice a year.  The IEP Study Group consists of faculty and administrators.  The entire faculty, staff, and advisory board also review the Plan periodically. 


The President is responsible for IEP implementation through supervision of and delegation to the Deans. 


1.6.  What data are utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan?  Explain how the data are used to a) measure the knowledge and skills gained by students and b) measure satisfaction of employers and graduates.


Knowledge and Skills Measurement:  All Institute courses are performance-based.  The Institute uses bi-monthly exams to measure the knowledge and skills gained by students.  Some computer applications courses include a final project.  To assure high testing standards and correlation to course content, faculty are strongly encouraged to use publishers’ professionally developed testing material, in addition to self-generated exams.  The Institute also currently uses the Secondary Language Proficiency Test (SLEP), a nationally normed instrument produced by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), to assess ESL student placement and achievement.  Under the new academic Division and Chair structure described below in Section 2:  2.6, the Institute has begun to review all testing to ascertain what changes, if any, might be needed to assure that tests measure and validate the stated academic outcomes for course objectives. 


Graduate and Employer Satisfaction Measurement:  To measure graduate satisfaction, the Institute surveys career program graduates before they leave the school or as soon as possible after leaving.  The school uses a follow-up system that includes staff exit interviews, mailings, telephone calls, and express mail (if the previous contact strategies produced no results).  


To measure employer satisfaction, the Institute periodically surveys all employers of record over a finite period to obtain short- and long-term employer satisfaction data and graduate employment trends.  The President and Deans review graduate and employer satisfaction data.  The data are also presented to the IEP Study Group and through them to the faculty as a whole via IEP drafts for review and feedback


1.7  How does the institution plan to improve its effectiveness?


To implement the goals listed in 1.2., above, the Institutional Effectiveness Plan contains 5 objectives with specific activities; data, assessment tools, and/or other criteria; timelines and responsibilities; and outcome measures.  The 5 objectives are: 


1.      To provide student-centered curriculum and instruction accommodating the needs of students for whom the first language is not English by:  

·        developing English and career courses and programs according to best practices within an ESL environment;

·        implementing career and English language course and program designs most appropriate to students whose first language is not English;  

·        providing faculty development consistent with new curriculum and materials according to best practices;  and

·        assessing student academic progress in English as well as content learning. 

2.      To support effective teaching and learning through appropriate facilities, equipment, and faculty services  by: 

a.       providing the same quality of service to faculty and students in day and evening classes;

b.      providing the equipment and courseware required to support instruction; and

c.       developing and maintaining facilities and services appropriate to urban commuter students from diverse backgrounds.  

3.      To support and advance student retention by:

·        monitoring indicators of academic performance related to retention and

·        providing student activities geared to urban commuter students from diverse backgrounds whose first language is not English.

4.      To support and advance student placement and graduate satisfaction by:

a.       surveying current and former students and

b.      providing on-demand student placement services, to the extent possible.

5.      To provide activities that support and advance employer satisfaction by: 

a.       soliciting the input of the school’s Advisory Board and

b.      conducting outreach to and obtaining feedback from actual and local potential employers. 


1.8  How is the plan evaluated?  What is the schedule for evaluation?


The IEP Study Group reviews the plan at least once a year.  Periodically, the full-text of revisions is  presented to all members of the Institute community for comments and suggestions. 


1.9  What are the retention and placement goals for the institution?  What factors were taken into consideration when developing these goals?


Retention Goals:  The Institute is an open-admissions school with rolling admissions and programs of different duration.  Spanish-American programs range from 480 to 1600 hours in length.  As illustration, a full-time student might be enrolled for 5 hours a day over 16 months while a part-time student might be enrolled for 4 hours a day for 20 months or for 3 hours a day for 27 months.  


Based on trend line data, the Institute set a reasonable retention baseline of 75% for 1999-2002, with a goal of increasing retention by 1 percent a year until the school had achieved an 80% aggregate retention rate by 2002-2003.   The Institute exceeded its retention goals for the last three reporting periods from 84.9% in 2007-2008 to 95.6% in 2009-2010. 

Table 1  Aggregate Retention Goals and Outcomes







































Placement Goals:  The Institute set a placement goal of 80%. 


Table 2  Aggregate Placement Goals and Outcomes by Percent

AIR Year














0% *










                               *There were no graduates available for placement in AYs 2008 and 2010. 


1.10  What are the annual average retention and placement rates for the institution for the past three years?  (Provide the numbers used to calculate the rates, and explain as necessary.)


The Institute is an open-admissions school with rolling admissions and programs of different duration.  Spanish-American programs range from 480 to 1600 hours in length.  As illustration, a full-time student might be enrolled for 5 hours a day over 16 months while a part-time student might be enrolled for 4 hours a day for 20 months or for 3 hours a day for 27 months.  


The Institute has set reasonable retention and placement goals.  At the same time, it recognizes that retention and placement results in any one-year may vary due to factors beyond the Institute's control such as international student visa processing and changing international student visa regulations. 


The Spanish-American Institute periodically evaluates placement patterns to determine if we need other placement strategies for all programs or for individual programs. While the school seeks to improve the placement rate for these programs, review of our program placement rates suggests that differences from year to year may not be statistically significant, when calculated on a relatively small validation base. 


More complete data about aggregate and program retention rates are provided 

in the Table below.  These data suggest that ongoing student retention programs are suited to the school's mission and population and have contributed to retention, even during a difficult periods like that following 9/11.


Aggregate retention is reported in the section above.   The Institute exceeded its 80% retention goals for the last three reporting periods from 84.9% in 2007-2008 to 95.6% in 2009-2010. 


1.11  How do these annual average retention and placement rates compare to prior rates and to rates at similar institutions?


Retention Rate Comparisons:  Annual retention rates exceeded those of comparable institutions according to the annual ACICS Summary of Key Operating Statistics. 



Placement Rate Comparisons:  The Spanish-American Institute's aggregate annual placement does not compare as favorably in years when no graduates were available for placement. 


1.12.  Have the activities undertaken to meet the retention and placement goals enabled the institution to maintain or improve retention and placement outcomes over successive years.  Describe. 


Activities to meet institutional retention and placement goals have enabled the Spanish-American Institute to maintain or improve retention outcomes in particular over successive years.  We attribute our relative success to the Institute’s small class size, to attention to individual student learning needs, and to increased student enrichment opportunities described further below in Section 4, Relations with Students. 


1.13  Describe the administration's plans for any changes in the institution's mission.


The Spanish-American Institute’s does not plan any change in our core mission in the near future.






2.1  Describe the governance, control, and corporate organization of the institution and cite where it is stated in the catalog.


The Institute Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit New York State corporation established in 1995, owns the Spanish-American Institute.  The officers are Dante V. Ferraro, President/Treasurer; Paul Schiffman, Vice President; and Robert Connelly, Secretary.  This information is stated on page 8 of the Catalog.


2.2  How does the administration ensure that faculty and staff clearly understand their duties and responsibilities, the person to whom they report, and the standards by which the success of their work is measured? How is this documented?


The organizational chart indicates administrative positions and lines of authority. 


To ensure a clear understanding of performance duties, responsibilities, and standards by which work will be measured, the administration provides each faculty and staff member with, the following, as applicable (e.g., faculty receive faculty related documents):


·        an Orientation Program

·        a Faculty Handbook

·        a Faculty Performance Standards and Expectations Statement

·        systematic support and supervision during the initial period of employment and informal oversight on a regular basis,

·        periodic evaluation, and

·        ready access to senior administrators under the school's Open Door Policy


2.3  How does the administration monitor and evaluate activities of faculty and staff?


Faculty:  The Dean of Academic Affairs also observes new faculty within the first few weeks of teaching and may informally observes other faculty from time to time.


The Dean of Academic Affairs evaluates faculty on a regular basis.  The process includes a formal professional development conference:


·        to assess progress made in implementing the previous professional development plan (with documentation) and

·        to formulate a professional development plan for the coming year.   


Staff:  Spanish-American Institute staff work in close proximity to senior administrative staff in contiguous offices.  Senior administrators, therefore, monitor them daily.  In addition, the President formally evaluates them. 


Most administrative staff also hold teaching licenses.  The Dean of Academic Affairs evaluates those staff who may also have teaching assignments, the same as other faculty. 


2.4  Describe how the administration provides for the professional integrity of the staff and the academic freedom of the faculty.  How is the institution’s policy for ensuring academic freedom communicated to faculty?


Upon employment, each faculty member receives a copy of the Faculty Handbook, which contains the Academic Freedom statement. Print copies of the Handbook are distributed periodically. The updated Faculty Handbook is also available on-line at the school website. 


The administration requires faculty and staff to take every inquiry seriously, to treat students with dignity, and to keep protected information such as individual student grades confidential.  The administration informs faculty and staff of State Education Department, US Department of Education, and ACICS guidelines related to their duties and responsibilities.  The administration also assures that faculty and staff keep licenses current.  The school compensates individuals based on time worked without commissions or bonuses of any sort.


The administration encourages faculty to voice their professional concerns or suggest new directions in several ways, including: 


·        to the President and/or Deans through their Open Door policy;

·        to their colleagues and the administration at periodic faculty/staff meetings; 

·        through curriculum development and other aspects of academic activity; and

·        through formal participation in activities such as serving as department chairs, on IEP and Self-Study committees, and/or on other committees. 


2.5  Describe the institution's grievance policies and procedures for students, employees, and other interested parties.  How are students, faculty and administrative staff made aware of these policies?


The Catalog (p.15) describes the Institute's complaint procedure.  The school encourages students and/or employees to resolve complaints informally, where possible.  We encourage students to resolve classroom matters first with the faculty member and to resolve administrative matters first with a Student Advisor.  If not resolved informally, the Catalog spells out procedures for addressing formal complaints to the administration, to the New York State Education Department, and/or to ACICS. 


2.6  Describe any plans for the improvement of the institution's organization. 


The Spanish-American Institute has had a Dean of Academic Affairs since Fall, 2000.  The Dean reports directly to the President.  The Dean of Academic Affairs will continue to assume responsibilities typical of the position, including but not limited to faculty evaluation; faculty development; curriculum review, assessment and development; and instructional improvement. 


In mid-2011, the Institute began implementation of an academic reorganization to better enable the academic planning and execution reflected above.  Previously, the Institute had an academic department organization for English, Business, and Computers. The new academic organization reflects the Institute’s emphasis upon English language learning while also providing for career program oversight. 


The Institute’s academic reorganization resulted in creation of two academic Divisions, a Career Program Division and an Intensive English Language Division.  Each has three department chairs—one each for Business, for Computers, and for English.  Each chair works collaboratively with their counterparts in other Divisions under the Dean of Academic Affairs.  However, their primary responsibilities differ.  Career Program Department Chairs will be primarily responsible for assuring the occupational outcomes objectives of  their respective programs for students enrolled in career programs. Intensive English Language Department Chairs will be primarily responsible for assuring the English language outcomes objectives of ESL and non-ESL courses through curriculum development, instructional practices, and academic outcomes assessment. 






3.1  Who is the institution's chief executive office and/or on-site administrator and what are that person's qualifications for this position? 

President Dante V. Ferraro is the Spanish-American Institute’s chief executive officer and primary on-site administrator.  Mr. Ferraro has a Bachelor's degree from Fordham University, has completed New York State Education Department training as a Licensed School Director, has worked at the school in various capacities since 1969, and has been the chief on-site administrator since 1986.   Mr. Ferraro has also served on various ACICS Visiting Teams. 


3.2.  How does the administration provide for continuous evaluation of the following functions? 


3.2.1.  Programs of study


Programs are evaluated continuously through the following: 


·        mandatory State Department of Education course review and approval once every four years,

·        student feedback through periodic surveys,

·        faculty feedback through informal and formal discussion,

·        review of national and professional standards in the field, and

·        employer feedback. 


State Review and Evaluation:  The New York State Department of Education evaluates and approves all curricula before they can be offered.  The State also requires submission of all course and program outlines for its review and re-approval every four years. 


Student Feedback:  The Institute conducts surveys in-class periodically such as the Student Evaluation of Faculty and Courses  and the Current Student Survey.  Both surveys provide students with the opportunity to formally comment in writing about course and program strengths and weaknesses.  For example, student feedback contributed to the decision to change ESL textbooks to a state-of-the-art series.   


Faculty Feedback:  Faculty feedback occurs informally in conversations with the President or Dean of Academic Affairs and formally at faculty and/or department meetings.  For example, faculty recommendations for different ESL teaching materials has led to entirely new textbook materials supported by a wealth of instructional resources correlated to the textbooks, including listening tapes and CDs, DVD videos, teachers’ manuals, and publisher tests. 


National and Professional Standards:  The Dean of Academic Affairs periodically reviews national and professional organization standards with program Chairs and faculty.   


Employer Feedback:  The Institute has routinely surveyed employers of graduates.  The Employer Survey Form asks employers to recommend areas in which the school could improve graduates' performance.  Overall, employers continue to be highly satisfied with the performance of Institute graduates with some recommendation for improved communication skills.  The Institute continues to work on maximizing student and graduates’ English language communication skills through adoption of new textbook materials in ESL, Accounting, and Computer courses that require higher order language skills. 


3.2.2 Student activity programs


Since 2004, the Spanish-American Institute has greatly expanded student activities tailored to the needs and preferences of our unique second-language student population.  Most of the Institute’s enrollments are international students, new to New York City and to the United States.  They are curious about American culture, especially holidays and celebrations, and eager to explore New York City.  At the same time, they are urban commuter students, whose varied class schedules and work and/or family responsibilities most often preclude participation in one-time, one-off scheduled student activities.  Most of them live in the “outer” boroughs, i.e., not in Manhattan, at some distance from the school.  The Institute, therefore, has evolved student activity programs that accommodate their life-styles and needs.  


Dedicated Space:  We have designed the Student Room and the Founders’ Special Events Center to serve as centers of student activity.  Students can meet, talk, eat, and study in either space before and after class.  The school provides recent copies of popular magazines, of the Wall Street Journal, and of other periodicals for use in these rooms or the Library.  The school also provides timely information such as changes to the TOEFL exam through the Student Room and Bookstore.  In addition, the school provides discount ticket vouchers for Broadway plays, for other cultural events, and for organizational memberships.  The Student Room also houses Readcycle bookcases where students can take fiction and non-fiction books donated for "readcycling" by faculty and staff. 



Activities and Amenities:  The Institute has expanded student activities and amenities to meet our students’ unique socio-demographic-cultural needs in the following ways: 


  • Food and Beverage Service:   In response to student requests, we have added beverages and snacks to the Bookstore.  A high quality hot beverage service is available. 


  • Student Club Newsletter:  We publish 10-12 issues a year of a student newsletter.  The Student Club Newsletter is distributed on-site to all faculty and students throughout the school, mailed to student homes, and archived on-line at the school website.  The newsletter always contains but is not limited to the three items of greatest interest to our student readers—


1.      descriptions of American culture, especially holidays and other celebrations;

2.      listings of free or inexpensive ways to see and enjoy New York City’s myriad cultural and recreational offerings; and

3.      listings of free or inexpensive access to health and wellness services. 


  • School Bulletin Boards:  Two large Bulletin Boards, one in the Student Room and one outside the Special Events Center, provide frequently updated information about free concerts, other free cultural events, free or inexpensive access to NYC Parks Recreational Facilities, free health services such as Department of Health inoculations, and other timely information of interest and importance to our students. 


  • Faculty and Staff Supervised Activities:  We encourage faculty to organize out-of-classroom trips, noting their contributions in their annual evaluations.  We have also purchased a number of bicycles used for Student Club bike trips with faculty and staff. 


  • Special Events Center Exhibits:  In 2007, we also began a program of former and current student art exhibits in the Founders’ Special Events Center open to the school community and the public.  Publicity for these events includes notices in the Student Club Newsletter and notices in newspapers targeted to Institute student populations. 


3.2.3  Guidance services


The Dean of Students and Faculty Student-Service Associates provide assistance regarding course placement and scheduling, academic progress, and job placement.  The Institute's Counseling Plan describes the following specific guidance services:


·        identification of "at risk" students through Academic Progress and Attendance tracking and through administrative review of all bi-monthly and final grades.

·        one-on-one Orientation and Progress conferences.

·        academic warning notification and referral for in-school support to help with academic problems.

·        job placement counseling and assistance.


The nature and frequency of student requests for particular kinds of information helps us gauge the need for new or different guidance services.  For example, in the last few years, faculty and staff have received more frequent requests for information about American colleges.  To accommodate the growing number of students who indicate that they plan to go to an American college at some point after leaving the Spanish-American Institute, the school instituted a College Success Seminar course in Summer, 2003.  The College Success Seminar provides practical information about the American higher education system, about higher education programs of study, about American college classroom culture, and about applying to colleges in the United States as an international student.  The course also develops study skills, information literacy skills, lifestyle skills, and English language skills critical to college success.  



3.2.4  Financial aid services


The Institute is eligible to participate in the Pell Grant and New York Tuition Assistance Programs (TAP).  Financial aid services are reviewed for updates as needed based on:


·        information provided by financial aid professional organizations;

·        reading of Federal, State, professional, and other timely financial aid literature; and

·        subscription to a financial aid-processing package that includes EdConnect and EDExpress e-mail updates. 


3.2.5  Instructional procedures


The administration continuously evaluates instructional procedures through informal and formal classroom observations and through student feedback obtained from the Current Student Survey and Student Classroom Evaluation.  Faculty receive periodic formal and informal feedback.  For example, the Dean of Academic Affairs observes each new faculty member informally in the first few weeks of initial appointment and talks with the faculty member informally about areas for improvement.  At the annual evaluation conference with each faculty member, the Dean of Academic Affairs discusses the observation report and the faculty member's efforts to improve instruction based on the recommendations for improvement.


In the aggregate, classroom observations provide the Institute with insight into areas of instruction that could benefit from increased attention.  For example, with the adoption of new textbook materials, some  ESL teachers have clearly needed more guidance in using more active pedagogical strategies to facilitate student learning.  English and career program faculty have all needed more guidance in teaching reading skills or integrating writing.  The Institute dedicates most in-service workshops to these and related topics.  


3.2.6  Instructional resource services


The Institute provides ready access to instructional resources services for faculty and staff through:


·        computer and printer access,

·        multi-media hardware and software,

·        a professional library exclusively for faculty use, and

·        a general library.


Computer and Printer Access:  Faculty members are encouraged to establish free e-mail accounts, to use the Institute's Internet connection, and to use any Microsoft Office program for curricular and instructional enhancement.  Faculty can access e-mail accounts and the Internet or use any Microsoft Office Suite program at school networked computer terminals.  Faculty may also obtain laser printer accounts for use in school-related activities such as preparing examinations and supplementary classroom materials.  In addition, the Institute provides faculty with Xerox services for exam and other critical learning material duplication. 


Multi-Media Courseware:  The Institute has developed an extensive selection of audio-visual material that faculty may borrow for instructional purposes.  Faculty have access to DVD/VHS playback units and CD/tape playback and recorder units for classroom use.  Three classrooms have wall-mounted  CD players.  Faculty may check out classroom related multi-media materials on demand through the Bookstore.  The material is catalogued and described in detail in the school's annotated Instructional Resource Manual.  The Manual is updated periodically and distributed to all faculty and staff.  The Dean of Academic Affairs circulates periodic memos that describe new additions to the audiovisual collection and other instructional resources. 


Professional Library:  Faculty have access to a small professional library of books and periodicals on teaching, learning, curriculum development, curriculum evaluation, and ESL instruction.  The professional library is set aside in an area of the Spanish-American Institute Library.  The material is catalogued and circulated through the Institute's automated Library catalog system. 


General Library:  The Spanish-American Institute Library contains a catalogued collection of print and audio-visual material that includes reference titles, general knowledge titles, and specialized knowledge titles.  The Library’s specialized knowledge collection reflects Institute programs.  The latter contains titles primarily related to accounting, management, business, computer applications, and English language development.  In addition, the Library contains materials related to the United States and New York City of special interest to our international student population such as NYC guides, history, maps, etc. for student and faculty use. 


Faculty may use Library materials in the Library itself, borrow the material for their own use or for lesson planning purposes, or borrow the material for classroom instruction. 


            Electronic Databases:  Faculty also have access to a series of EBSCOhost databases such as MasterFile Select available on any school networked computer.  Most electronic databases contain full-text articles or material that can be downloaded, printed, saved to a disk, e-mailed, etc. 


3.3.  What evidence is on file to verify degrees of professional staff whose degrees are listed in the catalog?


The Institute maintains current files with official transcripts obtained directly from granting institutions for faculty and staff.  Faculty with degrees from other countries have had their credentials formally evaluated by a NCAES member organization in accordance with ACICS guidelines. 


3.4.  What records are kept relative to the following areas?


  3.4.1.  Financial aid activities

The Institute keeps the following financial aid records for all students:


·        total tuition due,

·        amount and date paid,

·        balance due,

·        source of aid (if applicable), and

·        calculation of refund due (if applicable). 


The school keeps additional information for students receiving New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) aid:


·        proof of age, education, and residence eligibility;

·        State financial, accounting, and certification documents;

·        waiver evaluation sheets (if applicable); and

·        academic progress and academic standing records and criteria.


In addition, we maintain a financial aid folder for each Federal Pell grant recipient with items required by regulation.  The folder contains:


·        the Previous Post-Secondary Education and Financial Aid Transcript Request Form;

·        the Pell Student Aid Report;

·        copies of financial aid transcripts;

·        the Student Financial Aid Conference and Status Notes Form;

·        the Certification of Student Non-Default/No Refund Due Form;

·        Signed statements of updated information, educational purpose, and registration status;

·        Drug Prevention and Information Program material;

·        Pell verification worksheets and supporting documentation, when required;

·        verification of citizenship, residency, or refugee status;

·        correspondence related to the above; and

·        verification of Selective Service Status. 


  3.4.2  Admissions


The Admissions area maintains the following records for each student:


·        a career program Student Data Sheet;

·        an Enrollment Agreement that includes--

o       title of course and course schedules,

o       statement of tuition and fees;

o       copy of the appropriate refund plan;

o       placement guarantee disclaimer;

o       signed verification that the student has received a copy of the school Catalog;

o       signed verification that the student has received a copy of the State disclosure brochure;

o       signed verification of the agent who enrolled the student;

o       signed acceptance by the Institute;

o       documentation of high school completion or equivalent (if applicable);

o       documentation of request for official transcript; and

o       an ESL placement test result (if applicable).


  3.4.3  Curriculum


In accordance with New York State Education Department regulations, the school maintains current copies of approved curricula on file.  The State requires that curriculum documents specify the:


·        official title and length of the course or program;

·        course or program admission and graduation requirements;

·        method and language of instruction;

·        course or program occupational objectives;

·        course or program prerequisites;

·        hour breakdown by course or unit of study;

·        content outlines by individual course unit;

·        textbooks and instructional aids; and

·        equipment that supports the course, unit, or program. 


Copies of current syllabi are: 


·        periodically distributed to faculty in print form;

·        available in hard copy in the Spanish-American Institute Library and other locations throughout the school;

·        available on-line at the school website at; and 

·        archived in the Dean of Academic Affairs office.  


    3.4.4  Guidance


The Institute maintains copies of grade reports, student conference notes, correspondence and notices, etc. in individual student files. 


   3.4.5  Library or instructional resources


The Spanish-American Institute Library Catalog is automated.  The collection of books, periodicals, reference materials, and audiovisual instructional resources may be searched on-line from any school-networked computer.  In addition, the Institute periodically prints an updated Instructional Resource Manual distributed to faculty and staff.  The comprehensive Manual provides faculty with an overview of the school’s instructional resources and allows faculty to quickly and conveniently locate information about access to the Library’s collection, automated databases, audio-visual teaching materials, teachers’ manuals, audio-visual material, and other instructional resources. 


   3.4.6  Instructional supplies and equipment


The Institute maintains equipment inventories, instructional software inventories, and records of service,  contracts, purchases, warranties, supply orders, software site licenses, etc. 


  3.4.7  School plant


The school keeps on file documents related to the physical plant such as the Certificate of Occupancy, fire and health certificates, State Quarters Approval, leases, cleaning services, and fire extinguisher maintenance service. 


  3.4.8  Faculty and staff


Personnel files include but may not be limited to the following:


·        the initial application for employment;

·        official transcripts of all degrees and credential evaluations of foreign transcripts, if needed;

·        State License Applications and Licenses (for each faculty member, the President, and Agents); and

·        ACICS Data Sheets. 


The Dean of Academic Affairs maintains current files of individual faculty professional development plans and faculty evaluations. 


   3.4.9  Students (how are the student files organized?) and student activities.


Student Files:  Student files are arranged alphabetically by student status:  new enrollments, active students, or inactive students.  Student records include--


·        personal information,

·        Enrollment Agreements,

·        documentation of qualifications for admission,

·        copies of academic reports,

·        financial data,

·        placement information,

·        change of status information,

·        attendance reports,

·        guidance and counseling records,

·        grade transcripts, and

·        enrollment status (active, leave of absence, discontinued, completed, and/or graduated).


Student Activities:  The Institute records student activities in a variety of ways: 

  • through digital photo-logs;
  • through the Student Club Newsletter published several times a year and archived on the school website;
  • through Institute web-site postings of digital photo-logs and past issues of the Student Club Newsletter;
  • through school bulletin boards; and
  • through special memos circulated widely throughout the school (e.g., for Student Bike Club outings and for Special Events Center current or former student exhibits).   


  3.4.10  Annual Institutional Reports


The President's Office keeps on file copies of Annual Institutional Reports. 


3.5  If applicable, what specific testing records and academic and career advising records are maintained by the institution for students admitted under an ability-to-benefit determination? . . . . .


The Spanish-American Institute does not currently admit students to programs based on Ability-to-Benefit criteria. 


3.6  What procedures are used to obtain official high school and/or college transcripts or equivalency certificates with scores? 


For students applying to programs, the Admissions Office obtains a copy of the high school or GED diploma as part of the application process.  The student completes and signs a request for Official Transcripts (retained in the student's file), which the Institute mails to the issuing school. 


3.7  What grading system does the institution employ to indicate student progress?  What is the system of credit used?  Is a transcript maintained for each student?  How is the grading system explained on the student's transcript?


The school Catalog and bimonthly progress reports contain the following explanation of the school's grading system.  The grading system is printed on each student transcript.  


Letter Grade



















Above Average



































New student





Exam Absence


The New York State Education Department does not permit registered business schools to use the term "credit" to describe course measurement.  As a non-degree granting institution, the Spanish-American Institute measures courses and programs in instructional hours.  Students receive academic "credit" on the basis of class hours successfully completed.  The Institute maintains individual electronic student transcripts showing course and program titles, grades, instructional hours and diploma or certificate awarded. 


3.8  How are records and reports (e.g., student, staff, financial) housed so that they are safe from theft, fire, or other possible loss?  If the institution utilizes computerized record keeping, what are the back-up procedures?


The Spanish-American Institute is housed in a building with a centralized fire alarm system and command post voice capability, a 24-hour security force, and a video security system.  In addition, cleaning service employees are bonded. 


The school stores current student academic, financial, and payment records in fireproof files.  We store recent student files in a cinderblock room with a locked metal door and we store older records on microfilm in a bank vault. 


The administration back ups computer files continuously, keeping backup file copies off premises.


The school accountant also retains duplicates of financial reports, tax records, and other corporate financial records. 


3.9  How long are student records maintained by the institution?


The Institute keeps student academic records for 30 years and keeps detailed financial and attendance paper records for seven years.  We retain media backups indefinitely. 


3.10  Identify who is responsible for oversight of all academic programs and faculty performance.  Describe their qualifications for the position.  If their academic and experiential qualifications are not related to the programs of study offered by the institution, explain how they are able to oversee all programs of study. 


The Spanish-American Institute has a Dean of Academic Affairs and two academic Divisions, each with three (3) Department Chairs.  Dr. Carolyn Prager, the Dean of Academic Affairs, has been responsible for general oversight of all academic programs and faculty performance at the Institute since 2000.  She has a Ph.D. in English and over 50 years experience in education.  She has many years experience as a college faculty member, as a state higher education officer with postsecondary curriculum oversight, and for over 20 years, as a chief academic officer at two- and four-year colleges with programs similar to those at the Spanish-American Institute such as business, accounting, computer technology, and English, including ESL. 


Chairs report to Dr. Prager.


Career Program Division Chairs: 


Freddie Ann Bush, the Career Division Business Chair, has a Masters in Business Education from Hunter College, City University of New York.  She has taught at the Institute since 2002 as a returning teacher with several years teaching here before that.  She holds NYS Registered Business School teaching licenses in ESL as well as computer and business areas.   


Enrique Nibeyro, the Career Division Computer Chair, has a master’s degree and work experience in computer systems.  He has taught at the Institute since 2003.


Libertad Grajo, the Career Division English Chair, has a Bachelor’s in Education degree from Manuel Quezon University and 33 graduate credits from St. Michael’s College of Laguana, in the Philippines.  She has taught at the Spanish-American Institute since 2000. She holds a NYS Registered Business School teaching license in ESL.  


Intensive English Language Division: 


Nori Panganiban, the Intensive English Language English Chair, has a Ed.D. in Educational Management, an MA in Educational Administration and Supervision, and a BS in Education from Philippine universities.  She holds a NYS Registered Business School teaching ESL license.  She has taught at the Institute since 1994.


Freddie Ann Bush, the Intensive English Language Division Business Chair, has a Masters in Business Education from Hunter College, City University of New York.  She has taught at the Institute since 2002 as a returning teacher with several years here before that.  She holds NYS Registered Business School licenses in ESL as well as computer and business areas. 


Bouchra Zouhairi, the Intensive English Language Division Computer Chair, has a Masters in Information Systems from Touro College in New York City, a bachelor’s in Biology, and an AAS degree from the TCI College of Technology in New York City.  She holds several professional certifications, including Microsoft MCP and MCDST and that of a Certified Associate in Project Management from the Project Management Institute.  She holds a NYS Registered Business School Teaching License in computer applications and is currently renewing her ESL teaching license.  She has taught at the Institute and served as a Faculty Student Services Associate since 2005. 



3.11  If any faculty members teach a course outside of their academic major or minor, list their names and describe for each, how the administration determined their qualifications to teach their assigned subject(s).  How are the qualifications documented? 


The Institute determined that each of the following faculty members was qualified to teach based on his or her completion of requirements for New York State Education Department Registered Business School license(s) in his or her assigned area(s) of teaching.  


Faculty Members Teaching Outside Degree Area(s) With NYS Education Department License(s) in Area(s) of Teaching

(as of 08/2011)

Arbai, Jenny

Armyakova, Natalya

Armyakova, Zoya

Bush, Freddie Ann

Chalek, Myriam

Diaz, Gladys

Dolina (Ruck), Loreen

Eco, Lina

Grajo, Libertad

Guevara, Edwin

Matichyk, Zoryana

Marcus, Melvin

Mere-Mere, Semen

Ortiz, Vicenta

Pliner, Anna

Ramos, Emilio

Rodriguez, Karina

Tuldanes, Alumna



3.12  Describe any plans for the improvement in the institution's administration. 


The Spanish-American Institute encourages staff to obtain New York State Registered Business School teaching licenses.  The Institute has found that encouraging staff to obtain teaching licenses raises the level of staff work and reinforces the importance that we attach to our primary teaching mission.






4.1  What is the institution's admissions policy?  Does the policy differ based on the credential awarded or program of study?  Explain how the admissions policy adheres to the institution's mission.  [AND] 

4.2  If applicable, what is the admissions policy regarding enrollment of ability‑to‑benefit students?


Applicants for admission to programs must have a high school diploma or equivalent and be beyond the age of compulsory schooling.  Non-high school graduates are admitted to individual courses and certain course combinations. 


The Spanish-American Institute does not currently admit applicants to programs without the GED or high school diploma.  The Institute does not currently enroll ABT students.  Should we resume ABT admissions at some future time, we would admit ATB applicants after demonstrating ability to benefit from the program of study through:


·        evaluation of their admission application;

·        personal interview with a member of the administrative advisement staff; and

·        a satisfactory score on an independently administered, standardized aptitude test, in accordance with prevailing Federal and State regulations.  


4.3  What records are maintained by the institution which reflect the basis for the admission of each student?


The Institute maintains the following admissions documentation as part of the student file: 


·        the Admissions Application (for programs);

·        the signature of interviewing staff member;

·        documentation of prior education;

·        ability-to-benefit test (if applicable);

·        record of academic career advising ((ability-to-benefit students only, if applicable); and

·        advanced standing or credit transfer documentation (if applicable). 


4.4  Describe the institution's student recruitment program.


The Spanish-American Institute’s policy is to locate and inform students who can benefit from our offerings. 


Most students first hear about the Institute by word of mouth from other students and from graduates.  According to responses on the 2001, 2002, and 2006 Current Student Surveys, students overwhelmingly learn about the Institute in this way.  The school advertises in newspapers, magazines, and Google AdWords. 

Skype calls may now be routed to internal phones and addition of on-line requests for admissions information enable timely response to admissions inquiries from students abroad. 

The Institute does not utilize formal recruiters.  Admissions staff conduct in-house interviews with interested prospective students to determine their needs and to factually describe to them the courses and programs deemed most appropriate. 


4.5  How are admissions representatives trained, compensated, and monitored?


All Institute admissions representatives are licensed as private school agents by the New York State Education Department.  The President interviews new admissions personnel to orient them to school policies, admissions objectives, standards, procedures, etc.  He walks them through an orientation packet that includes copies of the Catalog, enrollment forms, pertinent State and Federal regulations, accreditation criteria, and other relevant materials. 


As part of their orientation, new representatives observe the daily routine of the Admissions department, including sitting in on applicant interviews.  This provides them with a first-hand opportunity to observe procedures and to ask questions.  During the final phase of their orientation, they reverse roles with an experienced Admissions staff member.  The new representative conducts the admissions procedure under the direct supervision of a senior staff member, the Dean of Students.  After the orientation period, the Dean of Students continually monitors them.  The President and/or Dean is/are available at any time to assist them in any unusual circumstance. 


The Institute compensates admissions representatives by the hour.  They receive no commissions or bonuses of any kind.  They, therefore, have no incentive to pressure any applicant into enrolling. 


4.6  Describe the institution’s policies and procedures regarding incoming transfer of credit.  Where are these policies and procedures published?


Students requesting transfer of hours must present transcripts of previous study for evaluation.  After transcript evaluation, the Institute may grant a transfer for hours completed in an approved course or program from another licensed or registered school or from a registered program at a degree-granting institution or other recognized postsecondary institution, at the discretion of the school's President or designee.  A student who successfully transfers hours from another institution has only to successfully complete the number of approved instructional hours for the program, minus the number of transfer hours the Institute has granted for previous study.  The Institute adjusts tuition accordingly.   





4.7       Who administers the standards of satisfactory academic progress for the institution?


Faculty Student Service Associates administer the standards of satisfactory academic progress. 


4.8       How does the institution determine if a student is making satisfactory progress according to the institution's policy?  Who reviews the student's records and advises the student?  Who monitors probation?  How is attendance verified?  How is the cumulative GPA and percentage of successful course completion verified?


Satisfactory Progress:  To maintain good academic standing, a student must achieve a grade of at least 65% in examinations and attain a cumulative average of not less than 70% (GPA 2.0).   


            Satisfactory Progress Review and:  There are six grade-reporting periods in each calendar year.  The Institute assesses satisfactory progress at six checkpoints: 


  • the end of each student's academic year;
  • the quarter point of the regular timeframe;
  • the halfway point of the regular timeframe;
  • the quarter point of the established maximum program timeframe, calculated according to the Table 3  Maximum Program Length Table on page 6, below;
  • halfway point of the established maximum time program timeframe; and
  • the three-quarter point of the established maximum program timeframe. 


We calculate maximum program length according to the following table--

Table 3  Maximum Program Length Table

Normal Program Length

Maximum Program Length

25% of Maximum Program Length

50% of Maximum Program Length

75% of Maximum Program Length

  720 hours

1080 hours

270 hours

540 hours

810 hours

  960 hours

1440 hours

360 hours

720 hours

     1080 hours

1600 hours

2400 hours

600 hours

     1200 hours

     1800 hours


The school places students on probation at the regular halfway point if they have not maintained satisfactory academic progress until the halfway point of the maximum timeframe.  Students on academic probation are assumed to be making satisfactory progress during the probationary period. 


            Satisfactory Progress Standards:  Students receiving New York Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) financial aid must maintain a cumulative minimum average of 70% (GPA 2.0) or lose TAP aid until they achieve that average.  Otherwise, we calculate satisfactory academic progress based on the following evaluation points and standards—

Table 4  Satisfactory Progress Table




Required Evaluation Point






Minimum % Successful Completion of Courses Attempted




Action If Not Meeting Standard


25% of maximum program length



Considered for probation

50% of maximum program length




75% of maximum program length




100% of maximum program length




End of first academic year



Considered for probation

End of second academic year



Considered for probation


            Probation Appeal:  Within three weeks of placement on probation, students may provide information to an administrative appeals committee about mitigating or special circumstances related to their academic progress.  The appeals committee includes the Institute's President and the Dean of Students.  The committee makes its determination within ten days of receipt of the student's written appeal.


            Extended Status:  If not making satisfactory progress at the evaluation point, the President or designee may extend the student's enrollment status, provided that the student and he or she discuss and agree in writing to the following conditions—


  • The student is not eligible for additional student aid while in extended enrollment status.
  • The student is responsible for all financial arrangements with the school.
  • The student is not enrolled in an eligible program for the purpose of student aid eligibility. 
  • The student may be charged tuition and fees during the extended enrollment period.


While in extended enrollment status—


  • The student must seek to correct any academic deficiencies by taking additional course hours, retaking courses he or she has failed, and upgrading his or her skills.
  • The student who has exceeded 1.5 times the maximum time frame of their program while in extended enrollment status does not receive the original academic credential. 
  • The school will calculate refunds from the last day of attendance, not including extended enrollment.


            Re-establishing Satisfactory Progress:  A student who has not met the minimum completion standards may re-establish satisfactory progress if—


  • The student successfully retakes previously failed courses or upgrades the skills applicable to the student's educational objective so that the recalculated GPA and successful course completion meet or exceed the minimum requirements. 
  • The President or designee has interviewed and evaluated the student to determine if the student has the desire and ability to progress satisfactorily in the program.


After re-establishing satisfactory progress, the student is placed on academic probation until the next evaluation period.  Students are subject to dismissal if they fail to establish satisfactory academic progress and if they do not make or are not eligible to make any of the arrangements listed above


Review of Student Records and Student Advisement:  At each assessment point, Faculty Student Services Associates review student records and immediately notify the Financial Aid Officer (the President) of any student failing to meet academic progress standards.  The President or his designee then meets with that student, explains conditions related to the student's new status, and advises the student regarding available academic assistance and support.  The Faculty Student Services Associates monitor the student during probation.  


Attendance, GPA, and Course Completion Verification:  Faculty submit weekly attendance reports that are entered into a computerized database.  The Financial Aid Officer (the President) verifies attendance and grades through the Institute's computerized database.  The database software automatically calculates both a weighted interim GPA and a final GPA for each student at the end of each eight week marking period.   





4.9  If the institution sponsors institutional scholarship, grant, or loan programs, describe them and provide how they are publicized.


The Institute does not sponsor any institutional scholarship, grant, or loan programs.


4.10  Provide evidence that the tuition, fees, and other charges for all students who enrolled at the same time and in the same program are consistent.  If they are not consistent, explain.


The Institute provides tuition and fee charges in the Catalog or supplement and posts them at every admissions desk.  The student's individual financial record lists all charges as well as payment dates, amounts, and balances due. The student and school also sign an Enrollment Agreement with an effective date that lists all contractual charges.  The State Education Department approves all such enrollment agreements, including the statement of its effective date.  Any change in tuition, fees, or other charges requires State approval of a new Agreement with a new effective date. 


4.11  What are the institution's refund policies and procedures?


The Institute adheres to the refund policy in the Enrollment Agreement given to the student at registration.  It reads as follows:


I.  AFTER SIGNING THIS AGREEMENT BUT BEFORE STARTING CLASS THE SCHOOL KEEPS:  the non-refundable registration fee of the lesser of 10% of tuition or ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($100) per course or program.  (Registration fee is additional to tuition but is deducted from last payment.)


A.  The ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR ($100) registration fee per course or program PLUS the stated cost of such textbooks, tools, materials, supplies, etc. as have been issued by the school and accepted by the student, PLUS the school keeps tuition.

1.  FOR QUARTER ENROLLMENTS (all courses):  If termination occurs week  #


1st Quarter of 1st Enrollment

Quarter 1 or 2* of Subsequent Enrollments


Subsequent Quarters

week 1

week 2

week 3

week 4

week 5

week 6

week 7

week 8

























2.  FOR First-Time Students in TERM ENROLLMENTS (all programs), The school keeps:


For withdrawal in:

Term 1

2nd Term

Subsequent Terms*

Week  # 1

0% of the term tuition


20% of the term tuition

Week  # 2

20% of the term tuition


35% of the term tuition

Week  # 3

20% of the term tuition


50% of the term tuition

Week  # 4

30% of the term tuition


70% of the term tuition

Week  # 5

40% of the term tuition


100% of the term tuition

Week  # 6

40% of the term tuition


100% of the term tuition

Week  # 7

50% of the term tuition


100% of the term tuition

Week # 8

50% of the term tuition


100% of the term tuition

Week # 9

60% of the term tuition


100% of the term tuition

Week #10

100% of the term tuition


100% of the term tuition

3.  FOR Non-FirstTime Students in TERM ENROLLMENTS (all programs), The school keeps:

For withdrawal in:

Term 1

2nd Term

Subsequent Terms*

Week  # 1

0% of the term tuition


20% of the term tuition

Week  # 2

20% of the term tuition


35% of the term tuition

Week  # 3

35% of the term tuition


50% of the term tuition

Week  # 4

50% of the term tuition


70% of the term tuition

Week  # 5

70% of the term tuition


100% of the term tuition

Week  # 6

100% of the term tuition


100% of the term tuition


*If the student withdraws in the second term, the school must use the first term schedule unless the school demonstrates that no significant educational change occurred in the program as of the student's last date of attendance.  Significant Education Change is defined as non-functioning equipment which adversely affects the student's program, material change in the student's schedule as agreed to at enrollment, substitution of teacher in a course after instruction begins if the teacher does not possess necessary language skills in approved language of instruction in order to effectively communicate subject matter to students, or significant increase in student-teacher ratio.


A student who cancels during the first twelve months is refunded all monies in advance for the second twelve months or part thereof.

5.  FOR ENROLLMENTS UNDER THE TUITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (TAP):  The total program tuition is divided by four.  Program length:  64 weeks.  Term #1=16 weeks; #2=16 weeks; #3=16 weeks; #4-16 weeks. 


B.  ALL REFUNDS ARE MADE WITHIN THRITY (30) DAYS.  Although not required, written notice of cancellation is recommended.  Refunds are computed as of the last date of recorded attendance.  Failure of the student to notify the director in writing of withdrawal may delay refund of tuition due pursuant to Section 5002 of the Education Law.

C.  Diplomas, Certificates of Completion and academic transcripts are not issued until the student meets all requirements and monetary obligations.

D.  Students dismissed for improper conduct, poor attendance, failing progress, or tuition arrears are not relieved of financial obligations as specified in this Enrollment Agreement. 


4.12     What are the qualifications of the financial aid officer?  In what activities does the financial aid officer participate to keep up to date on changes in financial aid programs?


The President, Dante V. Ferraro, serves as financial aid officer.  Mr. Ferraro has a Bachelor's degree from Fordham University.  He has worked in private school management since 1969 and has served as the Institute's Financial Aid Officer since 1986.  Mr. Ferraro is a member of the New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association. 


4.13     If applicable, describe the system for counseling students regarding their student loan repayment obligations.  What is the institution’s cohort default rate for the last three years?


The Institute voluntarily ceased processing student loans in December, 1991. 


4.14     If applicable, describe the institution's cash discount policy and provide evidence that it has been approved by the Council.


The Institute does not offer cash discounts. 





4.15    Describe the institution's orientation and counseling programs.  What are the qualifications of the person responsible for the counseling program?


The Dean of Students and support staff provide assistance regarding course placement and scheduling, academic progress, and job placement.  The Institute's Counseling Plan describes the following specific guidance services:


  • Identification of "at risk" students through academic progress and attendance tracking in conjunction with administrative review of all bi-monthly and final grades.
  • One-on-one orientation and progress conferences.
  • Academic warning notification and referral for in-school support to help with academic problems.


The student's orientation program begins with the admissions interview.  Prospective students receive a copy of the Catalog and an invitation to tour the school facility.  They also receive one-on-one information about program alternatives and requirements. 


The Institute has had an Early Warning system in place for many years through which teachers notify the President or his designees about significant attendance or academic problems.  In 2001, the school developed a weekly tracking system through which faculty indicate student's academic progress on the weekly attendance report.  For example, faculty indicate what lesson the student has completed in computer application self-paced learning courses.  Should the student not progress beyond that in a reasonable amount of time, the faculty member spends additional time with the student to determine the nature of the problem and, if need be, refers the student to the President or designees for counseling. 


4.16    Describe the institution's retention program.


The Institute assumes that students are more likely to remain in school if they encounter a friendly, caring, and supportive school environment while, at the same time, knowing what is expected of them. 


In carrying out this approach to retention, the school provides opportunity for students to:


  • make suggestions about courses, services, and other school-related topics through formal surveys and informal discussion;
  • evaluate their progress through regularly scheduled examinations and progress reports; and
  • receive intervention counseling through an early alert academic warning system. 


4.17    Describe employment services offered to students.  Describe how employment results are documented and follow‑up studies are conducted.


The Institute infuses school employment services into curriculum and guidance and counseling programs. 


            Course Integration:  All Spanish-American Institute career programs provide job-related skills.  Appropriate courses include segments on resume preparation, job searching, and interview techniques.


            Job Search Preparation:  Prior to graduation, students meet with the Dean of Students or Faculty Student-Services Associates for assistance in job searching, job referral, and final resume preparation.


            Placement Questionnaires:  In its graduate placement questionnaire, the Institute also encourages graduates to return to the school at any point if they would like job placement assistance. 


            Employer Follow-up Surveys:  The Institute periodically surveys actual employers of graduates based on information provided by graduating or graduated students.  Among other questions, the survey asks employers if they would consider hiring other graduates of Institute programs.  The response has been almost always most positive. 


4.18     Describe the institution's program of extracurricular activities, if any.


In recent years, Times Square, in particular, and mid-town Manhattan, in general, has changed from an area of local businesses and local residents to one dominated by mega-corporate centers and mega-businesses with a transient commuter population.  At the same time, the Times Square area has become an even more popular major tourist destination.  Like most others who pass through the Times Square area, our students, faculty, and staff do not live in the area.  They commute from the 5 NYC boroughs with over 8 million residents, as well as from suburban New York, New Jersey, etc. 


The Spanish-American Institute’s has developed extracurricular student activities that best meet the needs of our particular demographic of non-native speaking adult commuter students in an urban environment.  International students, in particular, are eager to learn more about American culture and to experience New York City.  They are eager to experience the City’s inexpensive or, better still, free amenities, which they can explore in accordance with their individual schedules and interests.  Therefore, the school actively encourages and supports extra-curricular student activities that: 


·        help students to explore the cultural and recreational richness of New York City;

·        introduce them to environments requiring their use and understanding of English in real world contexts; and

·        acquaint them with various aspects of American culture.   


Guidance and Supervision:  The Institute provides guidance for such activities through frequent postings in school newsletters and on bulletin boards about recommended activities, with detailed information about schedules and transportation directions.  In addition, the Institute provides direct supervision for specific activities such as the Student Bike Club and visits with faculty to local restaurants and cultural sites. 


Student Space:  The Institute always provided students with a Student Room where they could meet and socialize informally.  In 2004, the  school added about 1000 square feet of new space, the Founders’ Special Events Center, where students can meet, read, relax, etc.  We also encourage current and former students to use the space to showcase their artistic accomplishments in exhibits open to the public and entire school population.  


Refreshments:   In response to student requests, the Institute has made light snacks and beverages available in the Bookstore.  Students can purchase snacks and quality hot and cold beverages. 


Student Bike Club:  The school has purchased several bicycles that it provides to students for occasional school-organized bike tours of Manhattan with faculty and staff. 


Student Club Newsletters:  Since 2005, the Institute has published a Student Club Newsletter 10 to 12 times a year.  The Newsletter always contains a description of a major American holiday and listings of mainly free NYC activities as well as other items of interest to international students.  The listed activities provide subway directions for students who may be unfamiliar with the public transportation system.  Current issues of the Newsletter are distributed to all students, faculty, and staff and may be mailed or e-mailed to students’ and alumni.  They are also posted on the school’s Bulletin Boards.  Current and back issues are available on-line at the school website.  


School Bulletin Boards:  The Institute has installed large bulletin boards in the Student Room and outside the Special Events Center with frequently updated postings such as free NYC activities, free museum admissions and concerts, free inoculations through the NYC Department of Health, free or nominal NYC Parks Department recreation center memberships, and other cultural, health, and recreational information of interest to our primarily international students. 


Free Concert Tickets and Theatre Discount Vouchers:  Through a business-community relationship, the Institute receives free tickets for concerts at Carnegie Hall and other prominent sites that it makes available free to students, faculty, and staff.  Faculty and staff are encouraged to accompany students to these concerts.  The school also provides students with discount theatre vouchers to Broadway and off-Broadway performances, to the New York City Opera, and to the New York City Ballet.  . 


Faculty-Student Out-of-Class Activities:  The Institute encourages faculty to organize out-of-classroom activities with their students.  The school maintains a photo-log of such activities.  Faculty participation in such activity is noted on individual faculty evaluation reports. 


Student and Alumni Special Exhibitsts:  The Spanish-American Institute also hosts and publicizes special art exhibits and performances of talented current and former students. 


4.19     Describe any plans for improvement in relations with students.


The Spanish-American Institute will continue to develop student activities and services similar to those described in 4.18, above.  We will continue to provide students with a comfortable environment in which to meet and study.  We will continue to solicit student feedback in a variety of ways—through student surveys, through “conversations’ during classroom visits, and through one-on-one discussions of senior staff and students through the school’s open door policy. 







5.1       Describe how the educational programs have been developed based on the institution's mission.  List each program offered and state the occupational and general objectives of the program.  Provide an overview of how these programs are delivered (i.e., lecture, laboratory, self-paced instruction, distance instruction).


In accordance with our mission, the Institute has developed educational programs that integrate English language and career training.  We offer:


  • six levels of ESL;
  • advanced ESL courses such as Advanced Reading and Writing, Business English, and TOEFL  with incorporating more higher order language skills;
  • a wide array of Windows-based computer applications courses and an Internet course;
  • a  College Success course; and
  • typing, keyboarding, and office management and office practices courses.


Table 5 Programs with Occupational and General Objectives and Delivery Modes



Delivery Mode

5480 English as a Second Language                                                           480 hours


To enable graduates to improve English skills to:

  • perform present jobs more effectively,
  • obtain employment requiring English language proficiency, and/or
  • obtain admission to other programs of study requiring a higher level of language proficiency. 

Traditional classroom lecture, discussion, audiovisual presentations, etc. 

5960 English as a Second Language                                                             960 hours


To enable graduates to improve English skills to:

  • perform present jobs more effectively,
  • obtain employment requiring English language proficiency, and/or
  • obtain admission to other programs of study requiring a higher level of language proficiency. 

Traditional classroom lecture, discussion, audiovisual presentations, etc. 

7020 Computerized Office Management                                                      1600 hours


To prepare students for entry-level positions as administrative assistants with office procedures and computer applications skills. 

Lecture, discussion, and hands-on computer applications. 

8002  Accounting                                                                                            1600 hours


To prepare graduates for entry-level employment as computer accounting clerks or related accounting/bookkeeping positions. 

Lecture, discussion, and application

8010 Computer-Assisted Accounting                                                         1600 hours


To prepare graduates for entry-level employment as computer accounting clerks or related accounting/bookkeeping positions. 

Lecture, discussion, and application


5.2       Describe the role of the faculty, administration, and others in establishing the educational programs.


As licensed professionals with many years of collective educational experience, Spanish-American Institute faculty provide essential input into the selection of courses, course content, instructional support materials, and other aspects of educational program development.  Through department chairs, the faculty work with the Dean of Academic Affairs to develop and implement educational programs. 


Reporting to the President, the Dean of Academic Affairs works with faculty on curricular and instructional development and monitors academic programs and faculty performance. 


5.3.  Describe how the educational programs reflect the needs of the students and the community.


Increasingly, our students intend to pursue higher education in the United States.  The Institute’s English classes emphasize the higher order language skills necessary for academic as well as career success. With increased reliance upon the financial services and information processing sectors of the economy, New York City also needs workers with the entry-level office and computer applications skills taught at the Institute


Nearly all Institute students are recent arrivals to the United States who require substantial English language education to succeed in New York City’s economic, social, and academic environment.  For career program students, the Institute balances their need for language development with that of career development in ways that allow them to study language and applied skills at the same time, to the greatest extent possible.  


5.4     How are provisions made for individual differences among students?


The Institute schedules courses from 9:15 a.m. to 9:14 p.m., five days a week, twelve months a year (except for major holidays and during the Christmas-New Year's break) under a system of rolling admissions.  Therefore, students may begin their studies on the second Monday of each month and arrange their classes in response to their learning pace and real life demands. 


            ESL Students:  The Institute addresses differences in students' ESL levels through placement testing and placement counseling.  . 


            Computer Applications Students:  The Institute sets a minimum threshold for enrolling in computer application courses, consistent with course requirements and academic outcomes.  Like keyboarding and typing, computer applications students work at their own pace under the active guidance of teachers in a mastery learning environment. 


5.5       How are the resources of the community utilized to enrich the programs?


The Institute periodically brings speakers from the business and professional communities into the classroom.  The school also educates students about how they can access the vast resources available to them in New York City through notices in the Student Club Newsletter and postings on bulletin boards. 


5.6       Is there a detailed syllabus on file for each course?  How was that syllabus developed?  How is that syllabus utilized?  How often is it revised?


The Institute maintains a formal syllabus file for each course in the Dean of Academic Affairs’ office. 


In general, all syllabi are reviewed and revised, where needed, every two years.  In the interim, syllabi may be revised when needed to accommodate new course objectives, new or revised textbooks, new instructional methodologies, and new teaching materials.  In addition, the State Education Department requires a course outline for each course.  The State approves new courses for four years, after which the original or a revised course outline must be resubmitted and reevaluated for approval.  The State approval process, therefore, also assures that course outlines and syllabi are current and timely. 


After faculty have provided input into course development, the Dean of Academic Affairs prepares a syllabus for internal review and subsequent attachment to the formal application for State approval. 


Copies of all syllabi are distributed to faculty to: 


·        assure their understanding of the courses that they teach,

·        communicate syllabi information to students, and

·        enhance their understanding of other courses taught at the Institute. 


The Institute posts copies of syllabi on the school website and places bound print copies of all syllabi in strategic locations around the school such as the Library, the Student and Founders’ Rooms, the Accounting area, the Computer Room, etc. 


5.7       Describe any internship/externship programs, indicating name of program, procedure, and person(s) in charge.


Institute programs do not have internships or externships. 


5.8       Describe the methods utilized to evaluate and revise the curricula.  Identify any differences in these procedures among various programs.  If advisory boards are utilized, list board members and their qualifications.


State Review:  Curricula are evaluated every four years by the State Department of Education.  The State approves new courses for four years, after which the original or a revised curriculum must be resubmitted and reevaluated for approval.  The State approval process, therefore, assures that curricula are current and timely.


Professional Standards:  In addition, the Institute evaluates curricula according to the standards set by industry and professional groups.  For example, the TOEFL course was recently revised to accommodate the new directions promoted by ETS through the TOEFL bit test.  All ESL courses have been revised in the last four years to integrate higher order language skills and active learning strategies in accordance with emerging standards of good practice in ESL teaching enunciated by TESOL and other professional language associations.  While accounting courses still emphasize clerk/bookkeeper career entry-level education and training, they have also been revised to include more of the reading and critical thinking skills applications recommended by the Accounting Education Change Commission. 


Student, Graduate, and Employer Feedback:  In revising or evaluating curricula, Institute faculty and staff take into account student comments about courses and programs from the Student Evaluation of Faculty and Courses  and Current Student Surveys, graduate feedback from the Graduate Follow-up Survey, and employer comments about employee preparation from the Employer Follow-up Survey. 


5.9     How was the length of each program determined?


The Institute determines program length based on faculty estimates and review of the time needed for most students to master material subsets in a clock-hour delivery mode.  Bi-monthly exams provide a window into student mastery according to the time allotted. 


5.10     Do any programs include training by a third party?  If so, please explain.




5.11     Is licensure or other certification required for persons employed in any program areas offered? If yes, list specific skills that students will need to acquire in order to be licensed or certified and how the curriculum provides for attainment of these skills.  Describe any applicable examinations and the institution’s pass rate on each of these exams.


The New York State Department of Education requires a Registered Business School teaching license for persons teaching in any of the programs the Institute offers.   Students do not need to acquire licensure or certification in connection with any program at the Institute.  


5.13     How are appropriate course sequencing and prerequisites determined?  How is the curriculum structured to ensure an increasing level of difficulty as the student progresses?


The Institute determines course sequencing and course prerequisites with faculty input.  


Accounting:  The school has developed three levels of Accounting, each of which assumes the skills level attainment of the previous level. 


Computer Applications:  Some computer application courses may be taken independently if they do not require prerequisite skills.  However, others like FrontPage require that students have taken or have demonstrated competency comparable to that in the Word, Internet, and Access or Excel courses.  The prerequisite in this case is based on the basic computer skills and performance expectations for the course.


ESL:  The six levels of ESL and advanced ESL courses emphasize progressively higher order communication skills and more complex use of language.  Students, therefore, progress through these courses in sequential order in accordance with generally accepted standards of good practice.  For example, the Institute’s six level ESL sequence follows language learning outcomes generally expected of low beginner (ESL 1), beginner/high beginner (ESL 2), low intermediate (ESL 3), intermediate (ESL 4), high intermediate (ESL 5), and advanced ESL (ESL 6). 



5.13     How is the need for curriculum changes determined?  How are faculty members involved in curriculum evaluation and revision?  What evidence shows that the institution utilizes follow‑up studies of its graduates to assist in curriculum evaluation and revision?


Determining Need for Curriculum Change:  The Institute bases the need for curriculum change on a variety of factors, including emerging standards of good practice in the professions and disciplines and the recommendations of faculty, students, completers and leavers, and employers. 


Involving Faculty in Evaluation and Revision:  Faculty are involved in curriculum evaluation and revision through frequent discussion with the Dean of Academic Affairs and Department Chairs, individually and at Faculty Meetings.  


Utilizing Graduate Follow-up Studies:  The Institute asks all graduates to fill out a Student Placement Questionnaire that helps the school to evaluate programs.  The Questionnaire asks them specifically to list the skills learned at the Institute that they use in their jobs, if employed.  All graduate respondents over the past several years have indicated that they found the quality of education and training at the Institute good, very good, or excellent.  The vast majority of graduates have found English and computers the most helpful skills learned here.  Most respondents have made no recommendations for new or revised curriculum directions. 


5.14     What curriculum changes have been made during the last three years?  What changes are contemplated for the next three years?


            Curriculum Changes:  In Spring, 2003, the Institute began a complete revision of the ESL curriculum to emphasize higher order language skills development and integration through active learning.  The phase-in was accelerated in 2004 and 2005 and completed in 2006. 


ESL:  For ESL I, this resulted in a change to WorldView texts.  For ESL 1-6, Business English, and Advanced Reading and Writing, this resulted in a phase-in of NorthStar texts.  For TOEFL, this resulted in the new curriculum emphases established by ETS for the TOEFL iBT test. 


Computers:  With the addition of Apple computers, the Institute also created new MAC related courses:  Introduction to the MAC, Switching to the MAC, and Using Apple iMovie. 


Developmental:  The Institute added an English Literacy course in 2008 to respond to the needs of those students with little or no prior school experience or who come from a primary language background using a non-Roman alphabet and need to learn Roman script.  It added a Pre-GED course in 2011 for students who needed the foundational skills for further GED study. 


            Curriculum Changes Anticipated in Next Three Years:  The Institute anticipates more focus on instructional change and on student outcomes assessment in the next three years to solidify the learning objectives of the revised ESL curriculum.  The new ESL curriculum, in particular, requires that faculty employ more active teaching strategies and pedagogies and more attention to integrated and cumulative higher order language skills development than required by the former English curriculum. 


The creation of a new academic Intensive English Language Division will help foster curriculum changes, if any, to more  clearly define ESL and non-ESL course outcomes objectives, especially English language objectives, and to implement assessment methods that better validate student achievement of these objectives. 


5.15     How does the institution determine the appropriate allocation of contact time among lecture, laboratory, and intern/externship activities?  How does the institution monitor the number of contact hours completed for each course?


The Institute bases the allocation of contact time between lecture and laboratory activities on each course's educational goals and objectives.  ESL courses are taught in a traditional classroom mode.  The ESL classroom attempts to provide, to the extent possible, a living laboratory for language learning through classroom activity.  Computer applications courses, however, are more self-paced with an emphasis upon demonstrated mastery of skills.  The lecture portion of computer applications courses occurs through individual or small group teaching by computer teachers.  (The Institute does not have internships/externships.)   


The school monitors contact hours completed for each course through the weekly Monday-Friday attendance report submitted by each teacher for each course.  Attendance results are then entered into the schools' management information database.  The administration regularly monitors each student's cumulative contact hour completion. 



5.16     How does the institution determine the appropriate scheduling of classes in relationship to the needs of the students?


To accommodate students' real life demands for schedule flexibility in a very large urban commuter environment, the Spanish-American Institute offers courses in the morning, afternoon, and evening at 13 start times between  9:15 am and 9:14 pm.  Every course offered during the day is also offered in the afternoon/evening, enabling any student to arrange or change to a day, an evening, or a combined day and evening schedule.   




5.17     Describe how physical facilities, equipment, and resources are used to enhance classroom instruction. 


Computer and Printer Access:  Faculty members are encouraged to establish free e-mail accounts, to use the Institute's Internet connection, and to use any Microsoft Office program for curricular and instructional enhancement.  Faculty can access e-mail accounts and the Internet or use any Microsoft Office Suite program in the Computer Room.  Faculty may also obtain laser printer accounts for use in school-related activities such as preparing examinations and supplementary classroom materials. 


Students and faculty can access educational resources available on the internet through the Institute’s WiFi wireless LAN.


            Physical Facility Enhancement of Classroom Instruction:  The physical facility was renovated in early 2001.  The renovated facility is designed around a quadrangle with classrooms, offices, and Bookstore on the outer perimeter and accounting and computer areas at the center.  The layout eases the movement of students to and from class while minimizing noise and congestion.  Every teaching space including the Accounting and Computer areas have green- boards for faculty and student use.  Faculty and students have close access to the Bookstore for textbook and material acquisition or, in the case of faculty, for access to multi-media material for classroom use.


            Equipment Enhancement of Classroom Instruction:  The Institute provides mobile VCR/DVD playback units for ESL classroom use.  Each classroom has a CD player.  Accounting classes have computer stations in the immediate teaching area as well as access to other computers in the contiguous Computer Room.  Computer students have access to individual computers and networked printers including a Ricoh color laser printer.  


            Resource Enhancement of Classroom Instruction:  The Institute Library has a collection of supplementary print, audio, and visual material specifically designed for ESL classroom use that faculty can draw upon on demand.  The instructional collection includes but is not limited to:


·        CD listening passages and DVDs correlated to ESL WorldView, NorthStar, and TOEFL textbooks;

·        teachers manuals correlated to these texts;

·        publisher testing materials correlated to these texts;  and

·        short thematic videos with print guides for ESL and for program classes. 


In addition, faculty have access to an on-site collection of catalogued general and specialized reference and general knowledge books, which they can borrow for their own use or for classroom use. 


5.18     How are learning materials selected?  Describe how instructional procedures and materials are evaluated to determine their effectiveness.


The Institute solicits faculty input into the selection of learning materials such as textbooks and supplementary classroom resources.  The Dean of Academic Affairs shares publishers' examination copies of textbooks with Department Chairs and other faculty.  She also periodically notifies faculty by memo or at faculty meetings of new publications or of web sites that might be of interest.  The school evaluates the effectiveness of instructional procedures and materials through the Dean and Chairpersons' classroom observations, through faculty feedback, and through student feedback such as that provided on the Student Evaluation of Faculty and on the Current Student Survey.   


5.19     Describe how the institution ensures that students have access to appropriate learning materials, e.g., textbooks, laboratory equipment.


The Institute’s on-site Bookstore provides students with convenient access to textbooks and academic supplies.  No course requires laboratory equipment, per se.  The Institute supports accounting and computer applications courses with individual computers and networked printers including a Ricoh color laser printer.


5.20     Describe how the institution ensures that it maintains appropriate licenses for computer software and how it ensures compliance with copyright laws. 


Computer Software:  The Institute maintains current site licenses where required for computer software.  The President's office maintains a file of site licenses. 


Print and Media:  The Dean of Academic Affairs informs faculty and staff periodically by memo of copyright laws related to the duplication of print and media materials.  The Institute’s ‘ Fair Use’ Guidelines for Duplication of Copyrighted Classroom Material is also part of the Instructional Resource Manual distributed to all faculty and staff. 


5.21   Who is responsible for faculty orientation?  Describe the orientation of the faculty to the institution.


The President meets with all new faculty to acquaint them with the school's:


·          mission and philosophy,

·          instructional philosophy,

·          basic teaching materials, 

·          faculty and staff payroll and benefits, and

·          faculty responsibilities and resources, as described in the Faculty Handbook. 


The President then refers new faculty to the Dean of Academic Affairs for orientation to textbooks, courses, instructional methodologies, and instructional support materials.  For ESL faculty orientation, the Dean distributes and goes over with them a copy of the Institute’s ESL Teacher Orientation Standards of Good Practice in ESL Teaching.  For computer faculty orientation, the Dean distributes and goes over a copy of the Institute’s Computer Teacher Orientation:  Integrating Language Skills in Computer Courses. 



5.22     How does the administration determine the qualifications of a faculty member to teach a particular course?  Describe qualifications of non‑degreed teachers for the subjects they teach.  How are the qualifications documented?


The Institute employs only degreed teachers licensed by the New York State Education Department.  The State currently requires all business school teachers to have a baccalaureate degree with at least 18 credit hours in business subjects.  Specialized business teachers must have at least 12 of the 18 hours in the field being taught.  The State allows schools to hire faculty with short-term provisional licenses, subject to completion of approved teacher training courses and teaching experience. 


The Institute verifies the qualifications of new faculty with official transcripts maintained as part of the individual faculty member's file. 


5.23     Describe the institution’s procedure for collecting official transcripts for faculty members.  If there are faculty members whose official transcripts (those which bear the seal of the institution) are not on file, document what efforts are being made to obtain them.


Upon employment, the Institute requests that an official transcript from each educational institution attended by the new teacher be sent directly to the school.  All faculty members have official transcripts on file.


5.24     In what ways does the institution evaluate instruction?  What is done to promote better teaching?


The Dean periodically visits classrooms informally during the course of the year to monitor new faculty, to monitor the use of new materials, and/or to visit other faculty.  The annual evaluation process may ask faculty to address recommendations designed to improve instruction.   


The Institute also administers in-class student surveys that evaluate instruction.  The Student Evaluation of Faculty and Courses Form evaluates individual faculty in specific courses.  The Current Student Survey evaluates overall instruction and instructional delivery.     


In addition, the Institute promotes better teaching through:


  • selection of teaching materials supplemented with high quality instructional resources that promote active teaching and learning;
  • intensive Saturday workshops dedicated to a specific aspect of instruction; and
  • periodic in-house publications that explore new teaching materials and teaching methods. 


5.25     Is there a faculty development plan on file for each member of the faculty? How are the activities on the plan determined? How is the plan implemented? How often is the plan reviewed?


The Dean of Academic Affairs maintains a file of individual Faculty Development Plan/Summary reports resulting from the evaluation process.  Faculty members develop the planning portion of the report in a meeting with the Dean.  Results of  individual faculty plans provide data for the following year’s summary evaluation, documented by evidence that the previously agreed upon Plan’s  goals and objectives have been accomplished.  The Institute typically formulates a  Faculty Development Plan/Summary for new faculty within a few months of a new teacher’s hire and for senior faculty every year.  


5.26     Describe how the institution ensures that all faculty complete development plans. How are the activities documented by the institution?


The Dean of Academic Affairs sends each faculty member a memo describing the professional development plan/evaluation process.  Faculty then meet individually with the Dean to set goals and objectives which are incorporated into a formal Faculty Development Plan.  Documentation that the faculty member has met Plan goals and objectives then becomes the basis for the Summary evaluation during the next evaluation conference. 


The Dean maintains a file of individual faculty development evaluation material, including documentation of goals and objectives achieved.  Typical documentation includes but is not limited to:


  • college transcripts,
  • course or workshop completion certificates,
  • state licenses copies,
  • test completion results for state or professional licenses or certification,
  • testamentary letters or certificates recognizing community service, and/or
  • in-house workshop attendance records. 


5.27     Describe the institution's program of in‑service training for the improvement of instruction and curriculum.  List the schedule for the next 12 months.


Table 6 below lists the Institute's program of in-service training for the past three years and the programs projected for the next twelve months.  In-service training takes the form of intensive Saturday workshops.  In addition to the intensive Saturday workshops listed below, the Institute may sponsor  occasional in-service sessions on a rotating schedule during the week so that different faculty may drop in during a free period or before or after class.

Table 6 In-Service Training Dates and Topics

Workshop Date

Workshop Topic

Actual (A) or Projected (P)


What Have We Learned From NorthStar?



Language Skills Integration in Institute Courses



Institute Instructional Resources and Their Use



NorthStar Production Activities



CEA Standards and Self-Study:  English Language Curriculum, Learning Objectives, and Student Outcomes Assessment



CEA Self-Study Report:  Current and Future Implementation of CEA Standards


XXXX 2012

Implementing Standards-Based Assessment for ESL and Non-ESL Courses



5.28     Describe how the administration documents professional growth for full- and part-time faculty members.


The Institute documents professional growth for all faculty through the periodic faculty development planning/summary evaluation process.  During faculty development conferences with the Dean of Academic Affairs, faculty are asked  list and document (where appropriate) professional growth activities such as the following: 


  • reading of professional publications,
  • trying new teaching techniques,
  • preparing to teach a new course,
  • taking formal classes,
  • attending in-service professional development workshops, and
  • attending external workshops and conferences, etc. 


In particular, the Dean encourages faculty to relate professional development goals to the recommendations made as a result of observations about teaching. 


5.29   Describe the frequency, content, and documentation of faculty meetings.


            Frequency:  Faculty meetings and workshops occur at least once a year and as often as four times a year in 2 1/2 to 3 hour sessions.  The Institute schedules faculty meetings on Saturdays to enable the widest possible attendance.  Faculty and staff receive a memo announcing an upcoming meeting two weeks or more in advance. The meeting notice may include attachments for reading prior to the meeting such as a description of recently acquired audio-visual material or the Institutional Effectiveness Plan. 


            Content:  The Institute encourages faculty to identify topics for faculty meetings.  A typical meeting agenda format includes the —


  • President's report,
  • Department Chairpersons' and other faculty reports,
  • Dean of Academic Affairs’ report,
  • Workshops, and
  • reports from workshop sessions.


The President welcomes the faculty and reports on global issues affecting the school such as enrollment patterns and facilities expansion and on administrative details requiring faculty attention.  The Department Chairs update the entire faculty on curriculum and instructional initiatives in their respective areas.  The Dean of Academic Affairs chairs the faculty meeting.  She reports on new instructional resources, on issues and trends that may impact the school's curriculum, and on academic planning and self-study activities.  During new business, the faculty share topics of immediate interest or concern, make suggestions for school improvement, or propose items for future meetings.  After breaking for intensive in-service workshop sessions, the faculty as a whole usually reconvenes to summarize and comment on the workshop sessions.


            Documentation:  The Dean of Academic Affairs circulates a sign-in sheet to document faculty and staff attendance and drafts minutes of the meeting.  Meeting minutes are circulated to each faculty and staff meeting for his or her review and information.  The President and Dean of Academic Affairs maintain files of faculty meeting minutes and attendance records. 


5.30     Describe the institution's plans for ongoing improvement in curriculum and faculty.


The Institute will continue to respond to two factors with implications for curriculum and instructional (faculty) development.  The first is the demand for entry-level workers with good communication and critical thinking as well as technical skills.  The second is the demographic change bringing to the Institute students who seek intensive English as-a-Second language preparation enabling them to succeed in an American college.  .


As noted in 5.2, above, the Institute anticipates a greater need for instructional changes than for curriculum changes in the next three years so that we can solidify the learning objectives of the revised ESL curriculum and fully implement emerging standards for student language outcomes assessment.  The new ESL curriculum, in particular, requires that faculty employ more active teaching strategies and pedagogies and more attention to integrated and cumulative higher order language skills development.  


Institute plans for ongoing improvement in curriculum and instruction (faculty), therefore, will flow from the curriculum initiatives of the past three years.  Institute in-service workshops will reflect instructional emphases such as: 


  • integrating the four language skills in ESL and non-ESL course lesson plans,
  • extending one language skill (e.g., writing) from an activity dedicated to another skill (e.g., reading),
  • engaging students in active language creation,
  • developing techniques for teaching reading,
  • using companion video material effectively in ESL classes,
  • allocating time effectively to specific language activities,
  • developing information literacy skills in ESL and program classes,
  • etc. 


5.30     What are the normal teaching loads, number of field preparations, and number of subject preparations for full-time and part-time instructors at the institution?


Normal teaching loads vary but never exceed 31 clock hours per week, except for one additional subject (up to five hours per week) for additional compensation.  Teachers are assigned a maximum of three different field preparations or a maximum of five different subject preparations per term. 


5.33     What is the overall student‑teacher ratio at the institution?


The overall student-teacher ratio was 16:1 in AIR 2009. 





6.1       Provide an assessment of how the institution's buildings, classrooms, equipment, furniture, and surroundings meet the needs of an institution of its size and type.  Is the facility in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local codes for occupancy and safety?


The Spanish-American Institute’s facility accommodates the educational needs of an urban commuter population provided with maximum alternative scheduling opportunities both day and evening in a readily accessible building in the Times Square area.  Times Square is the subway transportation hub of New York City.  Students from anywhere in New York City's five borough's and suburbs can easily reach the Institute day or evening from any subway line or other public transit services.   


The school is on the second floor of an office building.  The Institute has a separate well-marked entrance and secure staircase.  The entrance is on a well-lit, well-traveled street one block from Times Square next to the New York Times building that has 24-hour sidewalk security.  The Institute itself monitors the entrance and staircase with closed circuit TV to provide additional security.  The Institute also has elevator access for disabled students.    


The facility is designed around a quadrangle with classrooms and offices on the outer perimeter and accounting and computer teaching and laboratory areas at the center.  Wide corridors permit the smooth flow of teachers and students between classes.  Classrooms and other teaching and learning spaces accommodate student chair desks, teachers' desks, and chalkboards.  The facility includes an enlarged Student Room and the Founders’ Special Events Center.  Students may use either space before and after class to study, to eat, or to meet or socialize.


Code Compliance:  The Spanish-American Institute complies with all applicable federal, state, and municipal codes.  Compliance documentation on file in the President's office includes:


  • the Certificate of Occupancy,
  • the New York State Department of Education's Quarters Approval,
  • the New York City Fire Department Certificate, and
  • the New York City Health Department's Certificate. 


6.2       How do the physical plant and equipment support the educational programs of the institution?


The Spanish-American Institute’s has dedicated most of the physical plant and equipment to the direct support of instruction.  The overall facility is attractive, clean, and quiet.  Teaching areas have chalkboards and teachers have ready access to audio-visual hardware. 


The Bookstore sells books and supplies to students, distributes audio-visual materials and equipment to teachers on demand, serves as the checkout area for library materials, and also serves as a commissary for light refreshments.  


Accounting courses are taught in an Accounting area with computer support, computer applications courses in the computer room with a variety of hardware and software support, and Keyboarding in another area, also with computer support.  In addition, the Institute has a stand-alone Library that faculty and students may use for study, research, and/or borrowing of circulating material.  


The school does most print copying in-house, providing faculty with copying service for exams and handouts on an at-need basis. 


6.3     Describe any plans to improve the physical plant and equipment.


The Institute has renovated and configured the additional 1,000 square feet of space leased in 2004 that now serves as the Founders’ Special Events Center.  The Center’s primary use is for student meetings, study, and relaxation and for student or alumni special exhibits and performance.  The space now includes a grand piano, a bass fiddle, and other musical instruments. .  We plan increasing outreach to make the space available to students and alumni for special exhibits and presentations.  


The Institute routinely replaces and upgrades audio-visual hardware for instructional purposes.   We also upgrade computer hardware and peripherals, as needed.  In the past two years, the Institute has purchased nearly 100 MAC computers for student.  We have also purchased 10 MAC laptops for office use with Skype access.  We are planning to upgrade the Windows domain and SchoolWorks database servers. 




7.1  Describe how the catalog reflects the institution's educational programs, operations, and services.  How often is the catalog published?


Through the Catalog, the Institute provides students with accurate and comprehensive information's about programs, operations, and services, in compliance with ACICS and New York State Education Department guidelines.  The Institute normally republishes the Catalog each year or more often as needed to reflect information changes. 


Section I, "About the Institute," includes the statement of mission and information about the school's history, legal control, facility, instruction, accreditation, affiliations, faculty, and advisory board.


Section III, "Programs of Instruction," describes the duration options, objectives, standards, occupational objectives, required courses and electives, and credential awarded for each program.  Each program also references where readers can find additional information about tuition and courses.


Section IV, "Course Descriptions," describes each course's objectives, standards, content, tuition, and completion credential awarded.


Section II, "Student Services;" Section V, "Admissions and Financial Aid;" and Section VI, "Academic Policies" describe how the Institute provides services and assistance to students as well as information about operations and policies that govern educational programs.     


7.2  How does the institution ensure that all enrolled students receive a copy of the institutional catalog?  What other publications are provided to enrolled students?


Spanish-American Institute admissions staff are trained to make sure that every applicant receives a copy of the Catalog.  Each enrollee acknowledges receiving a copy by signature on his or her enrollment agreement. 


The Institute also provides appropriate immigration requirement information to student visa applicants.


In addition to the above formal documents, the school also provides enrolled students with frequent notices and newsletters.  We have designed these publications to help acclimate a largely international population to New York City and to help them access its vast cultural, recreational, and health resources on a limited budget.  Such publications include but are not limited to: 


  • information about American holidays, American culture, NYC neighborhoods, and free or mostly free activities in the Student Club Newsletter, published 10 or more times a year;
  • notices about free concerts and free admissions to museums throughout the City;
  • notices about NYC Department of Health free inoculations and other health services;
  • notices about free or inexpensive NYC Parks Department recreational sites, gyms, and community centers;
  • information about NYC, Brooklyn, or Queens Public Library resources in local communities;
  • etc. 


7.3  Describe the institution's advertising and promotional literature.


The Catalog is the school's primary promotional piece.  The Institute also advertises periodically in selected local and foreign magazines and newspapers and provides school information through its home web page.   


7.4  Describe any plans for changes in publications.


There are no immediate plans for publication changes. 





8.1  Explain how the instructional resources serve the needs of the institution's educational programs.  How does the institution determine which reference works are acquired? Describe any contracts or agreements with outside libraries or resource centers. 


The Spanish-American Institute’s automated library catalog lists over 1,000 holdings.  The holdings include: 


  • circulating and non-circulating (e.g., reference works) print materials, 
  • professional (teachers') library titles, and
  • audio-video and other instructional support material for faculty classroom use.  


The collection is developed with input from faculty who are asked to recommend new acquisitions.  From any networked computer in the school, faculty and their students can access the following:


  • the automated catalog,
  • several electronic periodical databases,
  • a Library and Information Literacy Glossary,
  • in-house information literacy tutorials, and
  • links to information literacy tutorials at other sites. 


Print Instructional Resources:  The Institute supports instruction through a carefully selected print collection.  The collection includes titles from the following categories:


  • business topics that support the Institute's accounting, computer, and other business programs;
  • language and American culture topics that supplement ESL classroom textbook material; 
  • ESL adaptations of classic literature (e.g., Penguin Readers);
  • textbooks copies other than those used in classes that provide alternative presentations of similar material;
  • opposing viewpoints essay collections to support student reading and writing in advanced ESL classes;
  • self-help books on topics such as resume writing, job searching, and financial management;
  • guides for New York City and about American culture of interest to international students; and
  • general education materials.


In addition, the print collection contains professional titles for teachers on curriculum, instruction, and assessment; teachers’ manuals; and teachers’ guides keyed to textbooks and/or audio-visual instructional support materials. 


The reference portion of the collection includes the Encyclopedia Britannica, several one-two volume encyclopedias on cultural, general, and business topics; ESL and collegiate dictionaries; almanacs, handbooks, and style manuals; and other reference materials.  Because of the school's large international population, the reference collection also includes several guides to New York City. 


            Electronic Instructional Resources:  The Institute also provides access from any networked computer in the school to several EBSCOhost electronic periodical databases such as MasterFile Select. 


            Audio-Visual Resources:  The school's audio-visual collection supports ESL classroom instruction.  The on-line cataloguing system enables faculty to readily check out audio-visual material for immediate classroom use or for lesson planning through the Bookstore.  The Bookstore is always open when classes are in session.   


The video library includes several collections designed for ESL students at different language learning levels, including material keyed to ESL textbooks .  In addition, video holdings include shorter thematic educational videos produced  for American students at various grade levels.  These shorter thematic titles are excellent vehicles for introducing different levels of ESL learners to everyday aspects of American culture, to regional speech patterns, and/or to focused content on themes such as volunteerism, the environment, business practices, and personal financial management. 


The Institute provides three large Apple TVs with DVD/VCR units for classroom use. 


The video library also includes selected "authentic" (commercial) full-length films recommended by ESL experts for intermediate and advanced ESL students.  The "authentic" film collection is supported by professional library resource material for faculty use such as Five Star Films:  An Intermediate Listening/Speaking Text.  The professional library resource material contains pre-viewing, mid-viewing, and post-viewing reading, writing, speaking, and other activities keyed to the films. 


Audio Courseware and Playback Hardware:  Every classroom has a tape CD playback unit.  Faculty using the NorthStar and WorldView series in ESL or the TOEFL textbook have access to all available companion audio-visual material on demand.  The NorthStar, Worldview, and TOEFL audio material is available in multiple copies so that more than one class at a time may use a given tape or CD.  The Institute also provides several pronunciation titles for classroom use dedicated to American English pronunciation and to accent reduction.


External Affiliations:  The Spanish-American Institute is affiliated with the New York State Library through which it has access to numerous automated databases, the NYS Library’s holdings, and the various services provided by the NYS Library to “public” libraries.   


Library/Information Literacy Resources and Curriculum Integration:  The Spanish-American Institute actively encourages faculty and student use of Library and library resources as part of the learning process.  The Institute has selected textbooks in ESL, English, and program courses that integrate information literacy at every language and learning level.  For example, the NorthStar ESL series includes “Research Topics” at the end of each unit according to ESL level, even the most basic, and the Internet and College Success course syllabi have research-based components. 


8.2  Explain how the quantity and quality of instructional resources are appropriate for the size and type of the institution.


The Spanish-American Institute instructional resource collection directly supports Institute postsecondary educational programs for a predominantly international population.   It provides instructional resources  directly related to classroom instruction and learning about technical skills development, about language development, and about American culture, as well as about general knowledge. 


8.3  Explain how reference materials and periodicals are organized for easy usage and preservation.  


The Spanish-American Institute catalogs and shelves reference materials according to Library of Congress call numbers.  Reference materials do not circulate.  Students, faculty, and staff can search for Library holdings through the school’s automated catalog.  The Library catalog is accessible through any school networked computer.  Students may use current editions of periodicals in the Library. 


8.4  Who is responsible for maintaining an up‑to‑date inventory of instructional resources?


The Dean of Academic Affairs catalogs new acquisitions using Mandarin 3 library automation software. 

She distributes periodic notices to faculty about additions to the collection.  She also compiles the Spanish-American Institute’s comprehensive print Instructional Resource Manual distributed to all faculty and staff.  The Manual includes but is not limited to information about the Spanish-American Institute Library collection and automated search system, school copyright policy, multi-media resources, teaching guides and manuals, information literacy development, etc. 


8.5  Is there a budget for instructional resources?  How is the budget determined?


There is an annual budget for acquisition of instructional resources.  The Institute obtains multiple copies of publishers’ instructional resources for faculty use such as Teachers’ Manuals, CDs, and DVDs keyed to textbooks.  In addition, the Institute seeks to acquire print Library holdings keyed to textbooks. e.g., the recent acquisitions and accompanying brochure and teaching guide for faculty and staff, The NorthStar Bibliography Project:  Do Concepts of Biology and Culture Shape People and Society?  The Dean of Academic Affairs recommends specific acquisitions in consultation with faculty and department chairs.   


8.6  Describe any plans for improving instructional resources. 


The Institute has substantially increased and upgraded print and multi-media instructional resources over the past few years with an emphasis upon core holdings that directly support the curriculum.  At this time, we do not plan to significantly expand the collection.  However, we will continue to: 


  • solicit faculty input into subscription renewals and additional subscriptions, if indicated;
  • add selectively to multi-media courseware, especially video materials, keyed to specific ESL levels and student learning needs;
  • add additional multi-media courseware, if available, correlated to new or revised textbooks, if any; and
  • continue to encourage faculty integration of  information literacy modules into specific courses to encourage targeted classroom use of print and electronic library and Internet resources. 


8.36  Are there online resources available to students?  Describe all resources available on-line.  Identify full-text items. 


Students may access the Spanish-American Library website through any networked computer in the school to search through the Library’s automated Catalog and to access several on-line electronic research databases.  They may download and print articles and other on-line information through school networked computers and printers, e-mail the information to home or other computers, and/or save downloaded material to disk. 


The automated research databases include but are not limited to: 


  • MasterFile Select, a multidisciplinary database updated daily by EBSCOhost providing full-text items from more than 700 general reference publications, 35 full text reference books, 2,000 titles, and an extensive image collection.
  • TOPICsearch, a current events database that contains full-text access to over 139,800 articles from more than 4,800 sources.
  • General Science Collection, with full-text coverage for more than 60 of the most popular science publications.
  • Funk & Wagnall’s New World Encyclopedia.