American International School Jeddah is a pre-KG to Grade 12 school offering a US Common Core-based curriculum and a range of High School accredited courses including AP, SAT and, from 2022, the IB Diploma program.
American International School Jeddah (AISJ) was established in 1952 as a not for profit organisation to support the families of expatriate workers mainly in the oil industry. Formerly known as Parents Cooperative School (PCS), the school was founded by a group of expatriate parents who saw a need for a formal American curriculum education in Jeddah. It later went on to be renamed North Campus School (NCS) in 1976, Saudi Arabian International School (Saudia – SAIS) in 1985, and finally American International School of Jeddah (AISJ) in 2004. In January 2019, AISJ moved to its new purpose-built campus in the Mohammadiyah District.
Over time, the school has grown to offer not only the US curriculum culminating in a High School Diploma, but also pre-SAT and SAT, pre-AP and Advanced Placement courses, ACT, and as from the 2022-23 academic year, the internationally recognised International Baccalaureate Diploma program.
AISJ is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in the US, ensuring that its High School Diploma is recognised for college or university entrance both there and internationally. AISJ is also a member of the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools (NESA). The school is also a member of the Saudi Arabia Intra-Kingdom Activities Conference (SAIKAC), through which international schools organise joint sports and arts activities.
The school offers programs for students through Pre-school, Elementary, Middle School and High School.
Current Superintendent, Dr. Robert Jackson, joined AISJ in 2020, having completed his doctorate in Education from the renowned John Hopkins University School of Education. His previous experience includes Director of QSI International School of Minsk from 2012-15, and Director of Tirana International School from 2016-20. Clearly, Dr. Jackson is a committed leader who can be expected to bring his full commitment to the development of AISJ.
The school’s Mission Statement notes:
Our mission is to inspire and facilitate learners through an authentic American international education in order to nurture their passion for knowledge, so they may pursue their dreams and become successful global citizens.
The school motto is “Excellence in the pursuit of dreams”.
AISJ also publishes its Core Values through which its community is expected to support the school’s Mission.
“We believe that…
Respect cultivates positive relationships.
Honesty and integrity build a culture of transparency and trust.
Helping others benefits communities and leads to personal growth.
Embracing cultural diversity develops relationships and enriches life.
Passion and commitment motivate, inspire, and empower life-long learners.
Quality education has the power to make a positive impact on individuals and societies.
A school community thrives when there is open communication and collaboration.”
There are approximately 1,100 students at AISJ. Average class sizes range from 18 students in the KG section, and 21 in the Elementary section to 20 students in High School. Students are said to come from 51 different nationalities.
Little specific information is provided with regard to the faculty and staff at AISJ, but the school states that AISJ's faculty are highly experienced and qualified professionals, certified to teach and holding bachelor’s and advanced degrees from major universities in the U.S., Canada, and around the world.
AISJ provides a standards-based American international education based on the American Education Reaches Out (AERO) U.S. Department of State standards. At High School level, it also offers a range of pre-college courses including Advance Placement, ACT, SAT and, most recently, the IB Diploma program.
AISJ believes that students need to be technologically fluent to be "successful, creative, contributing global citizens." Technology is not just a class for students, but rather, students are encouraged to work on class projects using technology. The school’s faculty and staff are dedicated to technology integration. Where appropriate, students can turn in projects by means of video, podcasts, or 3D graphical animation. The school operates a Bring Your Own Laptop program.
Students in the Early Childhood section are offered the Creative Curriculum, an American research-based program that provides the foundation for developing essential skills, focusing on all key areas of development: social, emotional, physical, communication and cognitive. Children are said to thrive on the foundation that “play is learning, and learning is play”.
Teachers focus on developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood education to facilitate innovative, flexible and creative learning experiences. They are encouraged to explore big ideas, projects and passions, with integrated early literacy, math, science, and social studies skills that prepares them to be lifelong learners. In addition to the homeroom classroom, students are able to participate in art, music, physical education, visits to the library and a variety of after school activities.
Once students enter the Elementary School, the core curriculum is based on the subjects of Literacy, Math, Science, Social Studies, STEAM, Music, Information Technology, Native Arabic, Arabic as a Foreign Language (AFL), Islamic Studies, Arabic Culture, Physical Education, and Art.
In Middle School, the core subjects include Language Arts, Math, Social Science, Science, Arabic, Arabic for Non-native speakers, and PE. Students may also choose from a range of Electives which include a diverse range of subjects such as Digital Photography, Art, Drama and Creative Expression, Team sports, Computer Science, Music (including Band, Choir, Guitar), Languages (from G7) including French and Spanish, and Islamic Studies. English Language Support and Learning Support are also added to the timetable for those students for whom they are applicable.
Once students join the High School, they are offered more than 100 course options including AERO curriculum and Pre-AP courses designed to prepare them for success in school and college or university. Pre-AP coursework emphasises key literacy, quantitative, and analysis skills across English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Arts and reinforces these skills in classroom experiences. Students complete Pre-AP courses prepared for further study in AP courses and the IB DP program.
AP courses are designed to prepare AISJ students for college success by taking challenging college-level courses while still in high school. AP is rigorous and highly regarded by colleges and universities around the world.
AISJ offers Advanced Placement (AP) courses in 25 different subjects in Grades 9 to 12. AP students have the opportunity to complete the full AP program, which includes AP Research, AP Seminar and 4 other APs for the AP Capstone Diploma. This demonstrates to universities commitment to rigour and likely success at the university level.
In September 2022, AISJ began to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program as an addition to the accredited High School Diploma and AP programs. The IB programs are highly regarded internationally with almost 2 million students in 5,500 schools in over 160 countries currently studying one of the four core programs. In May 2022, over 173,000 students globally sat the IB Diploma Examinations.
AISJ produces a 65+page document outlining the courses available for students in their final two years of education with a wide range of subject options (varying from basic, to AP and IB) which include, but are not limited to, Arabic, Art, Business Management, Computer Science and IT, Economics, English, Environmental Science, French, Geography, Government, History, Human Geography, Islamic Studies, Math, Performing Arts, Philosophy, Physical Education and Health, Psychology, Science (Biology/Chemistry/Physics), Sociology, Spanish, and STEAM.
A further important part of the High School curriculum is its Week without Walls program, which although limited in terms of external trips compared with US schools as a rule, does include options such as attending a PADI diving course, an Art visit to Abu Dhabi (though this was by invitation to selected students only) and a range of activities which take place at the school such as a Basketball camp, Dungeons and Dragons, and volunteering at a local Autism centre.
As would be expected at any authentic US curriculum school, AISJ offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including athletics, arts, and community service. Arts programs include Visual Arts, Choral Program, an Instrumental and Orchestral program and a Theater and Drama program.
In Elementary School, these include Destination Imagination, Book Club, Guitar Beginner's, Spanish, Story Playhouse, Student Council, Table Tennis Club, Academic support (twice a week), Newsletter Club, Board Games Club, Yoga, Indoor fitness (K-2), Indoor fitness (3-5), Create It & Build It Club, and Folk Dancing Club.
Middle School options include Destination Imagination, Basketball, Soccer, Model United Nations MUN), Student Council, National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), Board Games and Table Tennis.
In High School, students may participate in activities such as Destination Imagination, Student Council, Model United Nations (MUN), Young Women’s Organization, Spoken Word, Mosaic Literary Magazine, Car Club (Auto Engineering), OutGrow and National Honor Society (NHS). HS students also have the option to participate in a number of Build Africa, Give Back (GBAC) Club, Green Hope Environmental Club and Open Skies Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program which will be a requirement for those planning on completing the IB Diploma program.
AISJ sees itself as an inclusive school. As part of AISJ enrollment criteria, it may require certain students to receive special services as a condition of their enrollment. Depending on the severity of their needs, these services may include Learning Support (LS), English Language Learning (ELL), and Speech Language Pathology (SLP). AISJ provides these services for an additional fee. AISJ accepts students with mild to moderate special needs but is unable to accept and admit students with intensive or severe needs.
Students who have intensive learning differences and/or disabilities may be placed in specialized learning environments (Special Day Classes) with modified learning schedules and curricula in order to meet their needs. The purpose of such placement is to ensure that the most appropriate resources can be focused on providing the best possible learning environment for the student. A personal learning coach may be required for continuing enrollment of the student, at parent expense.
The English Language Learning (ELL) program at AISJ is designed to meet the needs of students who need additional help in listening, speaking, reading and/or writing English. This is often the case where English is a second or third language. This may be a required condition of enrollment.
ELL assistance is typically from 1-4 years, depending on the child’s effort and family practice, as well as the level of English when entering the program.
AISJ uses many different assessments to ensure that students are mastering the learning set out in the curriculum. Some of the assessment tools used include: Benchmark Assessment System (BAS), Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) in Grades 2-9, PSAT in Grades 8-11 and SAT in Grades 11-12.
AISJ states that students consistently score above average on international assessments such as the SAT, ACT, and AP, with AISJ students having been accepted to universities all over the world, including Ivy League schools.
The school publishes it High School Profile which can be found here. Students’ GPAs are well above those of both College Readiness benchmarks and US average scores.
AISJ moved to a state-of-the-art campus in 2019 which includes strategically designed classrooms with learning centers and group work areas, spacious Early Childhood classrooms, and fully-equipped science labs.
Students have access to two large Library areas, each with private meeting spaces and large group project areas. A 650-person theatre-style auditorium features a performance stage, an orchestra pit, and an underground practice room. The campus also features modern Athletic Facilities which include two gymnasiums, indoor and outdoor tracks, a full-length soccer field, a shaded swimming pool, an aerobics room, and tennis courts.
Now celebrating its 70th! year of operation, there can be no doubt that AISJ is an established and successful school. There is a very clear focus within AISJ on providing prospective families with details about the school. Its website is an excellent resource and the school is at pains to point out why it should be the first choice for international students in Jeddah.
Asked why this should be so, AISJ says:
"Learning is Front and Center - At AISJ, we place learning at the center of our interactions with students. We encourage our students to set learning goals for themselves, persist through challenges, and be curious. Our students learn through active involvement in their education, and they are encouraged to seek opportunities that help shape their unique identities.
We Support Individuality through small class sizes and a curriculum designed to accommodate different learning styles. By focusing on the individual student, we can closely monitor academic, social, and creative development and recognize growth opportunities. In addition, we have found that learning in a safe, nurturing, and respectful environment increases student confidence and their ability to participate in modern society.
We are a Community - AISJ is a lot more than a school. It’s a community. Every child is cared for and nourished in a safe, welcoming, and nurturing environment. Families are an Integral Part of AISJ, and we offer a wide range of services and activities that cater to the needs of the whole family."
Certainly based on the details provided, the choice of curricula, subjects and assessment options, we can understand why AISJ would be a popular choice.
If you are a parent, teacher or student at AISJ, please share your experience and opinions with other potential members of your community and complete our Survey.
Fees range from 32,500 SAR for pre-KG students to 85,400 SAR for Grade 12. These fees do not include VAT for which a further 15% is added.
AISJ offers all year round admission to the school. There are a range of fees payable at this stage including an Application Fee (due on Application Submission) of 300 SAR, an Assessment Fee (payable prior to Assessment/Interview) of 800 SAR, and a Registration Fee, payable on Enrollment of 14,500 SAR. (No Registration Fee is payable for children joining Pre-K2, Pre-K3, and Pre-K4; the Registration Fee is postponed until the child enters KG.)
For each returning student, there is a 4,000 SAR seat deposit which will be applied towards the tuition fee due by mid- February each year.
Families with more than one child enrolled at AISJ will be eligible for the following discounts of 5% on the second child's own tuition fees, 10% for the third child and 15% for the fourth or further children. This discount does not apply to additional fees, such as English Language Learners, Learning Support, or AP Fees. The child in the highest grade level will be considered the first child.
Students who require additional Special Educational Needs support will also be expected to pay additional fees based on the level of support provided. Those identified with High Moderate Needs - Level I involving considerable staff time will be subject to additional fees of 60,000 SAR. For students with Moderate Needs - Level II , the additional fee is 15,000 SAR, and for those with Mild Needs - Level III, the additional fee is 10,000 SAR.
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