Welcome to Al-Andalus Private Schools’ American Diploma
Established in Fall of 2007, American Diploma carries the Al Andalus tradition of raising Saudi students forward through the delivery of both the American and National curriculum for boys in Grades 1 through 12.
Our vision “Education for Life” means American Diploma is centered on providing quality English instruction without neglecting the Arabic language culminating in an American Diploma with American and Saudi university entrance qualifications. Furthermore, it means instilling our school community with the understanding that life is a test and that we will be accountable for our works after death.
We are working towards our mission
“Raising a generation
striving for perfection
with a passion for learning
fostered by a qualified team
in a cutting edge educational institution
driven by genuine values
to fulfill society’s expectations” in the following ways (noted in bold font)
To date American Diploma has successfully graduated 158 high school students for university studies around the world since the Spring of 2010 raising a generation, to fulfill society’s expectations. Our qualified team of international and local staff are committed to the great responsibility of education through continuous improvement and best practices.
Located on Kayyal Street in the Rawdah District of Jeddah, the unified American Diploma campus is comprised of an elementary school building for grades 1-6 (currently 282 students) and an adjacent secondary school building for grades 7-12 (currently 264 students) since the summer of 2013. The elementary campus was previously in different district from 2007 until Spring 2013.
American Diploma is a unique blend of the California Common Core Standards and the Ministry of Education Arabic and Islamic curriculum. Additional classes include swimming, karate, lego mechatronics, computer, physical education, and art. Furthermore, our Morning Assembly programs allow for the introduction of school wide values, announcements, and spirit. Field trips, charity work, spelling bee, science fair, and parent visits to our classrooms also routinely enrich students’ experience. In the evenings TOEFL, SAT I and II preparations are held. American Diploma club is a weekend program in the evenings for students to exercise, socialize, and build a healthy lifestyle. And our School Library encourages students to access, research, and read more than ever before with a passion for learning.
The language of instruction is English or Arabic depending on the subject. We have qualified English, Arabic, and bilingual faculty members. The transition from “traditional” to “student centered” learning is ongoing for the purpose of increasing student engagement with a passion for learning, fostered by a qualified team.
During the 2012-2013 school year , the Educational Supervisor position was created and Mr. Mootaz Koriem was selected to lead the educational development (R&D) in American Diploma (Grades 1-12). In turn, the Educational Supervisor appointed 5 Head of Departments (HoDs) to supervise and coordinate the work of the following departments: G1-3 Homeroom, Arabic/Islamic Studies, English, Math and Science. The appointment of the respective HoDs was a crucial improvement both academically and administratively.
Our Educational Development (R&D) department includes an Educational Supervisor and 5 Heads of Department who are responsible for ensuring the quality of curriculum, training, instruction, and assessment. Over the past two years virtually all staff members have been trained in Kagan Cooperative Learning Strategies and implementation is ongoing. The frequency of professional development both internally and externally has increased substantially to include TKT, MAP data response, Fusion NWEA Conference, Harcourt English Language Arts, Student Counselor Training, and even serving on AdvancED Team Visits to other schools in the region.
The introduction of Classera (Learning Management System) in a cutting edge educational institution during the 2nd semester of the 2013-2014 school year provides teachers with a dynamic tool for extending the classroom to home through online homework, sharing of class materials, presentations, and messaging. Implementation has been gradual and will restart the 2nd semester of this school year due to technical and training delays. We have a total of 2 computer labs where students have computer classes weekly.
Online websites are used by Math, English, and Science teachers to attract students to learning at home and increase individual practice outside the classroom with a passion for learning.
In an effort to improve the quality of education we provide to students, we shifted our school calendar from a 32 to a 36 week calendar beginning in the 2012-2013 school year. Consequently, students previously had 150-160 days of instruction, but now have 180 days of instruction per school year. This was a critical, gradual and successful change from previous years when students, parents, and even staff would travel or vacation during these weeks.
Both internal and external assessments as well as formative and summative assessments are administered regularly to gauge students’ understanding and ensure the quality of our instruction. Data-informed response and triangulation of data are made possible through assessment. Teachers’ response to assessment data is improving and examples of administrative decisions based on such data is clearly seen in the secondary school. MAP assessments have been administered twice yearly since the 2011-2012 school year and allows teachers and students to set growth goals and take steps to meet those goals striving for perfection. Parents and students are encouraged to access their grades and may do so online through the SMS and Engrade websites.
AdvancED accreditation has served as a measuring stick for our school’s progress and development. The standards have provided us with access to international standards which have been critical to strengthening the effectiveness of educational system school wide “striving for perfection”. The formalization of our school board, school leadership team, school budget, and the implementation of an Annual Trial Internal Review are all a testament to our commitment to accreditation as well as the fruits of this investment.
As a private proprietary school it is important to determine the means for developing, approving, and implementing the annual plan (budget). Additionally, it is critical to define the responsibilities of the school board and provide sufficient autonomy to school leadership. All of these developments have been realized through a combination of AdvancED standards and the Al Andalus Private Schools’ Strategic Department. Prior to the 2011-2012 school year American Diploma was not operating as an independent school, rather it was operating under the umbrella of the National School. It was only at that time that the American Diploma School Leadership was formalized (Strategy and Accreditation Management - SAM) and a separate school budget and administration made effective “striving for perfection”.
American Diploma is managed by a collaborative administration team called Strategy and Accreditation Management (SAM) comprised of the Elementary VP, Secondary VP, VP of Student Affairs, and Educational Supervisor. Due to Ministry of Education regulations restricting the title of “principal” to Saudi Nationals, we have two vice-principals without a principal. Occasionally, the principals of the National High School and Middle School facilitate American Diploma communication with the Ministry of Education, but that is the extent of their involvement in American Diploma operations and all approvals are through the School Board directly. The Elementary Vice-Principal has served as the Head of SAM since the 2012-2013 school year, furthermore he completed a M.Ed. in International Education Administration in August of 2013 in keeping with the school mission “fostered by a qualified team”.
As we move forward, a number of challenges will need to overcome including:
Expansion Constraints - with current class sizes at their max, there is a need for expansion
Recruitment - attracting specialized teachers to Saudi Arabia capable succeeding in our school and city environment continues to challenge us
Responding to Data - through our Educational Development (R&D) department we continue to improve our analysis and response to data, but we need to increase our frequency and communication surrounding data response.
Head of Strategy and Accreditation Management
Al Andalus Private Schools - American Diploma
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia