- Al Barsha, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
American School of Dubai
American School of Dubai – one of the oldest co-educational K-12 schools in Dubai, was originally owned by DPC and was then transferred to a not for profit foundation in 2004. It has consistently achieved a ‘Good’ rating from Dubai education regulator, the KHDA, the second highest grade, since inspections began.
The school is located in Al Barsha, and currently boasts a student body of over 1654 students – pretty static on last year after growing 700 students in the preceding two years. It is now said to be at capacity.
The school is rich in history, being originally established in 1966. Famous guest speakers who have visited the school include U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, North Carolina Senator and 2004 Democratic Nominee for Vice-President John Edwards, anthropologist Jane Goodall, and the Harlem Globetrotters.
As the name suggests, the school teaches an American based curriculum with compulsory subjects including English, Maths, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, Information Technology, Visual and Performing Arts.
Two-thirds of students come from the United States and Canada, with a further 60 nationalities represented. If you follow the logic of going where the “locals” go, then clearly that’s a pretty strong endorsement. The school has a special offering for corporates from the U.S. allowing them to buy “guaranteed seats” for their employees for $50,000 (irrespective of who is on the waiting list).
The school offers a wide variety of sports throughout the year, including volleyball, soccer, swimming, basketball, cross country, tennis, badminton, softball, track and field. There is a variety of extra-curricular activities on offer, such as sports, chess, dancing, music and art.
ASD offers pre-K (K1) through grade 12 instruction. The school is accredited by the US Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Admission to the school is based on the approval of ASD’s Admissions Committee and a student successfully meeting the admission criteria, including assessments in varying forms depending on grade level.
At school, students sit a number of external examinations: SATs, PSATs, Measures of Academic Progress (MAPs), Advanced Placement examinations (AP), and the American College Tests (ACT) in which they do very well. From 2014/15 the school will offer the AP Capstone Diploma.
Students attend classes five days a week, Sunday through Thursday. The school day for students in pre-K (K1) begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 1:45 p.m. Students grades K2-12 attend from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. All students are required to wear ASD regulation school uniforms.
The school’s KHDA report notes “many outstanding features and a few unsatisfactory ones” (2012). Attainment and progress in English are reported to be “consistently” Outstanding, as is understanding of economic and environmental issues. The KHDA also praises the school’s ethos with “outstanding behavior of students at all grade levels, and with caring and supportive interactions observed between students and adults throughout the school.” The school is also said to offer excellent “engagement” opportunities for parents. Provision for students with special educational needs – SEN was found to be inadequate.
What stops the American School of Dubai attaining an Outstanding ranking is perhaps because it does not require students to take Arabic beyond grade 5, nor does it currently provide Islamic Studies as part of its curriculum thereby not complying fully with MoE curriculum.
The school is run as an independent not for profit community school (it is the only American not for profit school) but given the facilities (two swimming pools, toddler pool, two large outside playing fields with real grass, auditorium, black box theatre, field house, running tracks, shaded play areas, two libraries, two cafeterias, music rooms…) running costs mean high fees.
Annual fees range from 52,730 AED to 69,950 AED annually depending upon age group. Note, this is WITHOUT the annual 12,120 AED “seat rental” fee you are required to pay from K2 onwards annually (unless your child holds a corporate seat). The actual fee for Year 1 therefore is 69,950.00 + 12,120 = 82,070 AED.
The school has also recently introduced a one-off Capital Fee of 22,000 AED paid at the time of entry. This replaced a refundable deposit – similar to the “debentures” levied by other schools in Dubai. It is used to maintain and upgrade the school’s facilities.
Level taught: K-12, Middle School, Primary
Curriculum: Advanced Placement, HS Diploma, US
Fees: 34172 – 65073
Number of Children: 1654
Principal and Owner: Board of Governors, Dr. Brent Mutsch (Superintendent), Not for Profit, The Cultural Foundation
School Inspection Rating: Good
Year Founded: 1966
American School of Dubai
Address: PO Box 71188 Al Barsha, Hessa street and First Al Khail Street
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Makani: 16827 77215