Hello IAS Families,
Thank you for choosing International Academic School in Dubai as your child’s school! At IAS our motto is: The Only Way is UP, and IAS Rocks! Having spent some time with us, I am sure you know why “we rock”. Simply, we are incessantly focused on creating a nurturing environment that supports a love of learning. Our guiding principles are the foundation upon which our inimitable positive school climate is built. We encourage, support, and guide our students in the principles of Respect, Responsibility, Peace and Problem Solving. The goal of the IAS throughout the whole academic year 2017-2018 has been to improve student achievement by serving as a hub of activities for families in the neighborhood and to be the first choice school of the neighborhood. Now, is a good time to reflect on what we have achieved, how far we have grown together, update you on some important changes, and look forward to an even more successful 2018-2019!
This last week of the current academic year, as we take time to reflect on what we are thankful for, I would like to take a moment to give thanks. I am grateful to be the School Principal at International Academic School (IAS) and to have an opportunity to work alongside of some of the very best students, families, educators and staff in Dubai.
First of all, I would like to thank the School Governing Body (SGB); especially Ms Halima Khaleefa and Mr Abdel-Rahman Al-Raesi for all their hard work and tireless championing of our school. Their efforts to ensure learners receive better educational services and learn in an improved school environment have been the key factors for the success of IAS this past academic year 2017-2018. It was the SGB that helped make this school the terrific school it is and a wonderful place of work and learning. The SGB partnership with me as a School Principal in this journey has been so very important, and I very much look forward to continuing to provide our students with an education they can be proud of. Congratulations to our students who so deserve to succeed in such an exceptional school.
I would also like to say that I am thankful for our students. They have come to class every day and have put significant effort into becoming more skilled and knowledgeable learners. They have been open to new ideas, new concepts, and new experiences, and we have learned from them every day. Our students come from different circumstances and backgrounds to learn and grow together. This process is not always easy, and they may have struggled through some difficult moments together, but they have always celebrated their successes together. I am proud of them, and I am blessed to lead their school.
As it is time to celebrate the great things that are happening at IAS, I would like to think of how we began this year with our parents. We started our academic year with our signature, bespoke ENGAGE sessions with parents where we introduced ourselves as a new team of professional leaders and teachers and our strong academic plans and programs. A vast majority of parents attended these sessions, and to me this was evidence enough that we all believed that “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child”. From these moments, I knew that the parents at IAS value their role as OUR partners in education. Parents at IAS are the most engaged and enthusiastic I have ever worked with, and IAS would not be what it is today without their support and the effective partnerships we and our teachers have built with them to ensure our students’ success. What an absolutely brilliant level of support I have witnessed from our IAS families; especially during the inspection week. It is times such as these when quite frankly one cannot but be “blown away” by the generosity of so many. I can say nothing more than a most sincere, thank you for your support. Additionally, I am confident that our NEW parents and NEW students who have joined us for academic year 2018-2019 will be true assets to IAS and will inspire even more progression, accomplishment, and matchlessness as an ICONIC and PROSPEROUS American school in Dubai.
What we do at IAS could never be achieved without the dedication of the staff behind the scenes. From our maintenance staff to our support staff to our office and canteen staff, the persistence and initiative they have always demonstrated is uncommon, and I appreciate their dedication and professionalism. To the entire IAS staff, I cannot by thank you for supporting the school in providing, fostering, and shaping “The Best of Every Child” every day. You truly are an outstanding staff to work with.
As a School Principal, I could not do what I do without the help of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and the existing team of astounding Administrative Supervisors at IAS. Their dedication to IAS is clear, and their work is essential to establishing the organization culture, positive environment, and student-centered instructional program necessary for our students to grow and thrive. I am grateful every day for the opportunity to work with and learn from them.
At the beginning of our journey this year, there was some uncertainty by some people in the quality of improvements and the type of education provided by IAS, and time was the best way to prove that this new leadership of this school has delivered its promise. It has also been proven by DSIB inspectors that this school leadership is “efficient”, “effective”, and “means business”. Here, I want to extend a very special thank you to our teachers. The teaching staff at IAS is tireless and unmatched. They have constantly challenged their students and themselves to reach higher, and accomplish more. Every day that I have come to work, I have always felt renewed by their energy, their enthusiasm, and their willingness to try new things while remaining grounded in foundational teaching practices. Our teachers have continually been adjusting their instruction to help each child reach his or her potential. The work our teachers have been doing is just as important for the future safety, security, and prosperity of education in this wonderful country. So, to IAS’s teachers – and to teachers across Dubai – please accept my sincere appreciation as I say thank you for your service; your service to our students; and your services to education in this nation in general and to Dubai in particular.
There is much to look for over the next months as we prepare for yet another productive and successful academic year: well-maintained campus, parent conferences, coffee mornings, afternoon tea gatherings and of course celebrations and concerts. Over the summer vacation I will be working with colleagues to put into place a smooth opening to the new academic year and setting the priorities to build upon the successes of the school so that we can improve still further. We should always seek to do better; to challenge ourselves and our students to set the highest standards and achieve our ambitious goals.
According to this year’s inspection report by DSIB, IAS has wiped away all weak areas and has improved in more than 30 areas – which is a distinctive rapid progress that no other school has been able to achieve in this very short period of time. Now the school is regarded as an Acceptable school with some Good features. Therefore, since our most recent inspection visit, we have been working very hard and smart to succeed in clearing one of the bars put before us and achieve Good ranking before clearing the ultimate bar of achieving outstanding ranking.
In response to DSIB inspection recommendations and to improve overall school performance, the school leadership has already started to work on different improvement targets and to focus on all areas of our operations with particular interest in teaching and learning along with students’ attainment and progress. The main target it to provide quality education to impact and improve student learning. Some of these targets are:
- Embarking on our American Accreditation journey with our certified, expert, proficient, knowledgeable, and adept leaders and teachers with their gamut of skills in educational leadership and academic progress
- Expanding our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) by appointing new qualified, experienced Administrative and Academic leaders and members in the areas of Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Inclusion and Special Education Needs, Career and Guidance Counseling, Social Work and Counseling
- Strengthening our Middle Leadership Team (MLT) positions by assigning expert, skilled Heads of Departments (HODs) and Coordinators for all subjects in all phases
- Appointing new competent, proficient teachers to join our existing staff of brilliant, exceptional teachers. New teachers have been appointed to teach different subjects; mainly in Middle and High School: English, Mathematics, Science, and Humanities.
- Increasing the number of sessions allocated for the teaching of Arabic Language and Islamic Studies in KG and introducing French language in Elementary classes; i.e. Grades 1 to 5
- Contracting with a new team of skillful, practiced, and accomplished teachers of Arabic Language and Islamic Studies
- Continuing to invest in academic software and programs; especially in external assessments for the purpose of using external data analysis and interpretation to guide all our instructional decisions and to inform our practice; especially in KG, Arabic Language, and Islamic Studies
- Enriching our co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and programs through implementation of new management systems, programs, and initiatives
- Developing a comprehensive Ongoing Professional Development Plan for all teachers to keep them abreast with best-fit practice in effective instructional methodology which impacts students learning, attainment, and progress
- Improving our school campus and facilities by paying completing different maintenance projects involving the school auditorium, pools, gym, greenfield, flooring, and the different play areas and play equipment
- Proving new play equipment in the different playground for different age groups to make sure all our students play and have fun all the time at IAS
Because your feedback assists inform us on areas where we can improve or where we can feel we are doing a good job, we will be sending you survey links during the summer vacation and throughout the upcoming academic year to seek your input in different areas. With your feedback, we will continue to grow and prosper together.
Rest assured, the school has a busy hum about improvement and development, and one cannot help but be positively caught up in the range of creative and stimulating activities that will be occurring across the campus each day. It is a great place to be a part of and your children are what make coming to work every day an absolute delight.
I would like to wish you all the very best for the summer vacation and look forward to welcoming you all back, refreshed, for what will be an exciting, new academic year – A YEAR OF POSSIBILITIES!
With best wishes and Yours in Education.
Dr. Haleema Karout