Gloria Brown, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Advantages Middle East

Long before Advantages Middle East, or even online learning, Gloria Brown was hard at work in her native Texas, leading the charge to make education more accessible and meaningful for more students. “Too many students fall through the cracks. Standardised testing, as a single measure of academic success, was never a good idea,” said Brown.

Jeffrey Smith and Gloria Brown, Co-founders of Advantages Middle East, share the philosophy that children thrive and reach their full potential when placed in the centre of their individual learning journey. However, they also agree that accreditation and quality standards matter.

“Advantages Middle East blends the personalisation and flexibility found in online education with the accreditation, structure, and teacher-student engagement found in a traditional school.” said Smith.

Smith and Brown point to four ways Advantages is unique in the GCC Region.

US high school diploma tracks: In addition to their mainstream, university-bound diploma programme, Advantages offers a less rigorous option for students who are not planning to go to university right away and plan to enter the workplace. There’s also a US diploma programme for adults.

Career-focused electives: Advantages empowers high school students with an introduction to career-level skills and real-world experiences. Being exposed to various career options in high school can help students unlock their passions and boost their motivation, said Audrey Hametner of The Bedrock Programme.

Dual credit: Advantages partners with Arizona State University to offer high school students an opportunity to take college level courses and earn college credit while still in high school.

Success centres: Inspired by the Micro school movement sweeping across the US, Advantages Success Centres offer their online students face to face teacher-led instruction.

“Small group learning and our innovative pedagogical strategies allow students to develop important social and emotional skills, such as communication, teamwork, and empathy,.” added Dr Cara Williams, Founding Director of both the Khalifa City and Reem Island branches.

Williams, an education psychologist believes the Advantages education model is the future of K-12 education.