Since the mid 1990s, the internet has changed nearly every facet of our lives. However, with the exception of some classroom technology, mainstream education has largely remained unchanged for the past 100 years. But according to recent data, families are demanding more.
The region’s only New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)-accredited and KHDA-licensed online school, iCademy Middle East has seen a 25 per cent increase in high-school students who are opting to attend school online while receiving in-person blended classes. “Students can choose to attend in-person classes two, three, or five days a week,” says Nurashia Muhammad, iCademy’s Registrar. “If they’d rather stay at home, we also have virtual Knowledge Hub. If they don’t need the Knowledge Hub support, they can still attend our online school. The freedom to choose really makes our students feel empowered.”
Jeffrey Smith, Director of Admissions, discusses the parent journey. “Prior to enrolment, our counsellors sit down with parents (and often students) and learn everything there is to know about each student, their background, and their needs. Like a fine tailor taking measurements, we design a bespoke learning experience for each student. But the goal is always the same. Our objective is to empower iCademy students with the skills, confidence and motivation to thrive in the world they are about to graduate into.”
Parents and counsellors choose the learning experience that best meets the needs of their student and family. In addition to its online school, iCademy Middle East offers students two levels of live support called Knowledge Hub. This can be offered in person at their Dubai Knowledge Park learning centre or at home virtually by one of the Knowledge Hub learning coaches. All iCademy Middle East students are offered a wide range of sports, recreational activities, field trips and events each year. Students can participate as much or as little as they prefer.
Khalila Zahraa, an American 9th grade student, has been attending iCademy Middle East for three years. “iCademy Middle East has made me a more motivated and productive student. My first year, I attended only online with my mother’s assistance. Now that I’m older and my work is more challenging, I attend the Knowledge Hub two days a week. The learning coaches know the curriculum and the subject matter backward and forth. They are fun and a big help. I also like getting out and spending time socialising with the other students. It’s a great learning environment.” Khalila plays competitive volleyball and studies German outside of school.
Dr Mohamed Mroueh, iCademy Middle East Head of School, says students like Khalila are more the rule than the exception. “We are attracting mainstream students every day. Families appreciate the freedom and flexibility we offer. Furthermore, families can have the peace of mind that our curriculum and school are fully accredited and managed by US-based Pansopohic Learning, a global leader in school management.”
Ola Hijjawi, a Jordanian expat and iCademy Middle East parent, feels that iCademy taught her daughter independent study skills and life skills along with academic preparation for university. “My daughter, Mira, graduated from iCademy last spring. She already knows how to set priorities and goals and achieve high marks in university. She is studying medicine. iCademy Middle East is the best school.” Hijjawi is a mother of three and a Founding Member of the iCademy Middle East Parent Association.
Ashley Curd, School Counsellor for iCademy, emphasised the importance that today’s students are offered a suite of courses that meet their personal interests and spark their curiosity. “Today’s students are exposed to an endless buffet of information online. Schools must offer students a wide range of choices to meet their interests, or they will be viewed as boring. iCademy offers career electives such as agriscience, marine biology, nursing, game design, photography, and even culinary arts. When students are interested in a career path prior to graduation, they make more informed choices about where to attend university.”
Samira Mahmud, a 2021 graduate and current student at Georgia State University, agrees with Curd. “iCademy made school interesting and made me think about my future. It was a great education and made me better prepared for my next chapter.” She was a strictly online student at iCademy.
Dylvan Low Lam, a standout 2022 iCademy Middle East graduate who attended Knowledge Hub five days a week, explains how studying in the hub made all the difference. “The support of the learning coaches was remarkable. They were more like mentors and friends than teachers. They took the time to get to know us as individuals and they really work to bring out the best in every student. I did better than I thought I could. iCademy was a great experience.”
To learn more about iCademy Middle East, contact the admissions offices at 04 440 1212 or visit www.icademymiddleeast.com