An International Baccalaureate Organization World School, AIS is a private, independent co-ed day school where students from age three all the way through grade 12 go and learn to learn.
Owner and Director of AIS Samera K. Al Rayes says that the school aims to create “good world citizens” who “not only think about the financial success of their country or business but also about bigger issues of how to make rural villages in Africa prosperous or ensure that our environment is still good for future generations.”
She adds that AIS “is not an easy school; this is a challenging place that brings out the best in all constituents, parents, teachers and students.”
Indeed, as an IB school, AIS students are tested and measured internationally, and the school itself is held to account by the Pennsylvania-based Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
The results are evident in AIS graduates’ acceptance to more than 80 North American universities last year alone.
Parents also play an important role at AIS, which regularly holds dewaniya, or open house, where parents are invited to visit and bring up issues that affect the school in general. “These are set up regularly and informally. We chat with parents over tea, we listen to their vision and they listen to ours,” says Mrs. Al Rayes.
Although English is the primary language of instruction, all students are required to study Arabic or Arabic as a Foreign Language. Around half of AIS students hail from abroad; presently there are 43 different nationalities represented.
With such a varied student profile, it is only natural that the school be focused on nurturing what Mrs. Al Rayes calls “unique and self-reliant world citizens”.
She adds that: “As the world shrinks with the ‘global village’ effect that is taking place, we expect our students to expand so they can fit in Kuwait, Tokyo, New York, Madrid – anywhere in the world – and learn to accept other ways of knowledge.”
Now in its 12th year, AIS is introducing iPads to all its students.According to one AIS board member, the decision to modernize teaching in this way was because: “Looking at how the market is developing, technology is moving into the wireless and the visualization of information. The iPad fits that perfectly so we decided to become an iPad school.”