Why I Applied For PSAP Approval

By Jolita Trahan


“What will I get out of it?”

This is often the first question that many school directors ask. The difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation comes to mind when I try to formulate my answer. Sometimes, the rewards are internal, as opposed to fortune and fame (although that’s not bad, of course). In our society driven by success and the bling of instant-gratification, we are often blinded to a deeper, more meaningful compensation.


When the Pilates School Approval Program (PSAP) was launched in 2017, I had no doubts about applying. Coming from an academic background with 12 years of experience in the International School of Florence (ISF), I immediately understood and fully supported the initiative to create professional standards. They represent guidelines by which a school can be approved and show its commitment to quality education. During my tenure as coordinator for the Upper School at ISF, the director made the decision to adhere to the International Baccalaureate Program with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. This entailed a very thorough year-long process of self-study. The documentation was very similar to that requested by PSAP, as is common for most education approval entities. Items such as legal status, organizational charts, grievance policies, as well as curriculum development, student assessment and staff training are just some of the topics which must be explained with great attention to detail.


So, why do it?

Because as you are trying to explain to a third party who you are, what you do, and how you do it, you learn and you grow. Your school gets better. You delve into a more refined identity: are you really doing what you think you are doing? Are there any weak links in the chain of command? Is there a way to streamline your structure? Are there areas which need reinforcing? Is there room for improvement?

(The answer to this last question is obviously: “always”.)


Your school becomes part of a network of professional excellence.

Graduating from a PSAP Approved School is not an eligibility requirement to sit for the NPCP exam, just like the IB program at the high school was not a requirement for university admission. However, when globe-trotting families looked to enroll their children as they traveled in various countries, the IB school approval was a guarantee of academic excellence. PSAP Approval provides that assurance to students searching for a program of study in the evermore crowded, and sometimes confusing, market of Pilates comprehensive education.


Accepting the challenge to become an educator also entails assuming the responsibility that comes along with it.

Students pay you in order to receive knowledge and skills. The learning environment in its entirety must be conducive to learning. From the moment a potential student consults your website to the moment a successful student receives their comprehensive certificate, the experience should be as professional and positive as is possible, and the process of becoming a PSAP Approved school is a rewarding professional accomplishment that is beneficial to both your school and your students.


I promise there will be moments when you’ll want to throw in the proverbial “towel”. But don’t. Stick with it and trust the PSAP team to guide you patiently through the templates and the standards. And when you finally achieve that little blue badge, the intrinsic sense of personal satisfaction will make it all worth it. You can do this!

Jolita Trahan, NCPT

Owner of Pilates Network