CLS Purchasing Center


WELS School Accreditation (WELSSA)

The Commission on Lutheran Schools (CLS) exists to advance the Gospel ministry by supporting WELS schools. One of the ways CLS encourages premier Christ-centered education is through WELS School Accreditation (WELSSA). 

WELSSA has been strengthening schools through the encouragement of continuous school improvement since 2003.  This process leads to improvement of the educational quality and effectiveness of Lutheran schools and their ministries by: 

  • Assisting WELS and ELS congregations with evaluating their early childhood ministries, elementary schools, or high schools based on Scripture and on sound educational principles. 
  • Providing WELS and ELS congregations a basis for developing a plan for improving the school by identifying strengths and areas in need of improvement. 
  • Providing a means by which WELS and ELS schools can become accredited through the Commission on Lutheran Schools. 

Schools accredited through WELSSA and CLS can also pursue co-accreditation with regional agencies recognized by the National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA). 

How do I get started? 

  • Request the WELSSA Handbook at  
  • Send in the application and fee to get placed on the site visit calendar  
  • Host a site visit every five years 
  • Create a School Improvement Plan (SIP) each year  


  • WELSSA Handbook – free by request for WELS/ELS schools 
  • Application fee – based on current enrollment 
  • Annual fee 
  • Enrollment of 99 or less $400 / Discounted price of $200 for CLS Contributing schools 
  • Enrollment of 100 or more $600 / Discounted price of $300 for CLS Contributing schools 
  • Honorarium and reimbursement for team members when hosting a site visit 

Please pay your WELSSA Annual Fee between July 1 and October 1 with your other CLS fees.

The WELSSA ASAR/SIP Report is due annually to between March 1 and June 30.
Download the directions and report template.

Email your complete report to

To inquire about becoming a WELSSA accredited school, email executive director Paul Patterson at or call 414-256-3221. For support, email WELSSA support specialist Abby Truss at or call 414-256-3222. 

Note: You must first make a CLS Annual School Support Contribution to be granted the discounted prices.

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The commission guides and assists congregations in advancing the gospel of Jesus by providing resources, training, and personal assistance for starting and strengthening WELS schools.