Why this rebranded Dubai school is now offering multiple academic options
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Why this rebranded Dubai school is now offering multiple academic options

Why this rebranded Dubai school is now offering multiple academic options

Collegiate International School, previously CAS, follows a skills-based approach to both teaching and learning, explains the school’s superintendent, Bruce Major


Can you explain what led to the relaunch of Collegiate American School (CAS)?

With our student population covering over 61 nationalities and 47 mother tongues, Collegiate American School has always been more of an ‘international’ school. Hence I believe that Collegiate International School is a much more accurate demonstration of the multinational community of learners that our school has always represented.

Our approach to both teaching and learning is ‘skills-based’ and is driven by the academic needs of every individual student versus an instructional approach that follows pre-set curriculum objectives.

So, the re-launch of CAS as Collegiate International School was the most obvious decision to make as we saw a real need for students looking to find a mix of offerings between American and international frameworks of learning.

What are the priorities for the new school – what will it focus on?

A top priority for Collegiate International School is to communicate to the international community of parents in Dubai the uniqueness and benefits of an American curriculum coupled with IB pathways of learning.

Collegiate International will offer the advantage of multiple academic pathways within a single school campus. The full continuum of the international academic framework starts from the primary years with PYP and on through middle school (MYP), followed with the IB Diploma or IB Careers programmes at the secondary level. Students will also have the flexibility to choose the US High Diploma programme, along with the option of advanced placement courses.

Students learn differently and have varied expectations of educational outcomes. The greatest advantage of Collegiate International is that students have flexible choices to address their varying learning styles.

The professional development of our teachers has also been a continuous priority for our school and this will remain as we move towards the beginning of the new academic year. Our staff is busy refreshing our campus and making the necessary preparations to welcome our current and new students.

The number one priority for us is the academic success of each and every one of our students. This will always remain at the core of what we do and every decision that we make.

In the current situation, has affordability gained more significance for parents?

People are always seeking quality for value and we provide just that for our families. The financial impact of Covid-19 has touched each of us in one way or the other, and we are confident that we are offering a premium education that is affordable.

Also, in the UAE, what are the key aspects that parents/students are seeking from schools at present?

Parents are seeking a rigorous curriculum for their children along with co-curricular activities on a campus with great facilities, and within a nurturing and safe environment.

While we meet all these criteria, Collegiate International also additionally offers individualised learning pathways along with career counselling – all geared towards preparing students for quality universities.

From the current perspective of Covid-19, parents are also seeking opportunities for their children to be fully engaged in the learning process while receiving the necessary support from teachers and staff in an environment that meets or exceeds the safety protocols and guidelines as required by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) as well as the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

Some families still prefer remote learning – will you offer that option to students?

School-choice now includes the option to choose between learning face-to-face or online. Collegiate International School has developed a model that maintains the flexibility of both without compromising the integrity of either.

Parents, students and teachers have reported a high satisfaction rates for our programme design and we will continue our implementation until conditions and/or mandates change as per KHDA protocol.

Looking ahead, do you see expect more schools to adopt the hybrid approach?

One key lesson we have learnt throughout the pandemic is that while online academic learning was possible, students need to be in a physical school environment for their mental wellbeing, as well as for their physical and social development.

While a hybrid model appeared to work better for some older students, they too have expressed a preference for face-to-face interactive studies with their teachers and peers. At the end of the day, the academic success and wellbeing of our students comes first, and in-person learning will remain the preferred approach to teaching and learning unless the severity of the pandemic intensifies in the years ahead.

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