GAAQ Has Been Awarded Full NEASC Accreditation

It’s official – GEMS American Academy Qatar (GAAQ) is now accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). NEASC is an independent, voluntary, non-profit membership organization which connects and serves over 1,500 public, independent and international learning communities in the United States and worldwide. Specifically, NEASC Accreditation is a system of accountability that is ongoing, voluntary and comprehensive in scope based on a rigorous set of standards which define the characteristics of high quality, effective learning communities and encompass all aspects of a school’s operation.

The NEASC accreditation is a big part of an even bigger plan to transform student learning and growth within the GAAQ community.  In fact, GEMS American Academy Qatar has outlined a strategic 5-year plan that provides the framework to meet all strategic targets by 2024.  Thus, the school has identified 5 major learning plan goals that will guide academic and curriculum improvement over the next half-decade:

Major Learning Plan #1: Improve understanding and application of effective assessment strategies

What will this look like in the future?  GAAQ will:

  • Review and refine all assessment to develop more authentic assessments of, as, and for learning
  • Provide professional learning opportunities to all teachers to improve their understanding of assessment practices

Major Learning Plan #2: Develop a common understanding of what their core values look like and embed learning activities to develop these attributes within the curriculum

What will this look like in the future?  GAAQ will:

  • Execute clear, community-approved benchmark examples of core values for early years’, lower school and upper school
  • Review and augment the current curriculum to ensure that units of study incorporate learning activities to support the development of school values

Major Learning Plan #3: Expand application of inquiry / problem-based learning in order to increase learner autonomy and engagement

What will this look like in the future?  GAAQ will:

  • Collaborate between faculty members to allow common-themed PBL (problem-based learning) tasks
  • Identify new teacher mentors who can help share strategies for implementing PBL
  • Introduce new PBL units and learning activities that will be created for every subject area / grade level

Major Learning Plan #4: Develop units of study that allow students opportunities to explore areas of interest and passion that provides cross-curricular learning opportunities

What will this look like in the future?  GAAQ will:

  • Develop a mentor teacher program to increase the use and acceptance of flipped classrooms and project PBL strategies; the aim is to restructure and differentiate how students learn
  • Grant student choice which allows them to be self-directed learners in their areas of interest and passion
  • Deliver cross-curricular opportunities across subjects and grades as commonplace

Major Learning Plan #5: Increase the capacity and practice of differentiating learning activities to ensure that all students have access to learning tasks that are at an appropriate level

What will this look like in the future?  GAAQ will:

  • Provide each student with the appropriate level of challenge in all learning activities
  • Offer gifted-and-talented students access to advanced units and courses of study and extension opportunities within other units
  • Provide teachers with opportunities to develop their differentiation strategies through professional learning

According to feedback from NEASC evaluators, the group remarked that “GAAQ parents spoke very highly of the supportive, welcoming learning environment and the strong sense of pride and spirit among the students.  Many parents spoke passionately about their reasons for choosing GAAQ after visiting the school for a tour and speaking with teachers, students and staff about the learning approach and school community.”  In fact, one evaluator noted that GAAQ “understands inclusion and has created a culture where students from diverse backgrounds, nationalities and learning abilities come together under one roof to create a positive learning community.”

Lastly, a sincere and deserved congratulations goes to GEMS Education, Head of School Mark Lentz, the Senior Leadership Team, faculty, non-academic staff, students, parents and various local stakeholders that have contributed and shown loyalty to GAAQ during this journey. They sincerely appreciate the role that many groups and people have played in the school to achieve this prestigious honor. 

 

 

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