This new American international school for students aged two to 14 years opened in Singapore in August 2022.
XCL American Academy is the second school to be opened in Singapore by the private education group XCL Education, which acquired the former GEMS World Academy in December 2020; XCL's flagship school is now known as XCL World Academy. XCL Education is a Singapore-based K-12 education group, serving more than 30,000 students across 100 preschools, international schools, private schools, and enrichment centres in Southeast Asia.
The founding cohort of XCL American Academy started in August 2022 in a 'foundation campus' at XCL World Academy until its permanent, purpose-built campus is completed. XCL World Academy is the only International Baccalaureate (IB) international school in Singapore offering all four IB programmes with the capacity for 1,600 students. Its modern campus is fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and the latest technology.
While the two schools follow different curricula, there are close ties between the two campuses – which stand side by side in a leafy neighbourhood in the northeastern part of Singapore.
XCL American Academy students will use some of the facilities at XCL World Academy. We've seen this model work effectively at Brighton College (Singapore), which uses some of the facilities at the neighbouring Australian International School (AIS) – both schools are owned by the Cognita group.
All XCL American Academy students have the chance to partake in group-wide initiatives, such as the XCL's eSports programme and XCL Dialogues sessions (panel discussions with individuals who have made a mark within their respective fields). They have access to a new EducationUSA Advisory Centre at XCL World Academy, which will provide information, workshops, and college counselling services free of charge for students interested in studying in the US. And, when leaving XCL American Academy in Grade 8, students will be offered priority enrolment into Grade 9 at XCL World Academy.
There are currently three all-through American schools in Singapore. The oldest is Singapore American School (SAS), which has a huge community of 4,000 students; the International Community School (ICS) offers a Christian-based American education; and Stamford American International School offers the IB programmes integrated with American Education Reaches Out (AERO) standards.
XCL American Academy will need to carve out its own niche as an American school that focuses purely on the elementary and middle school years. Its fees are lower than SAS and SAIS, and it has close links with its sister school XCL World Academy.
Being popular with families relocating from the US, an American school like this is attracingt students from a host of other countries. As well as admissions being open to all nationalities, the US curriculum has an international perspective that will appeal to many.
Former US Ambassador to Singapore and Board Member of XCL Education & XCL American Academy, Kirk Wagar, said:
“The United States has been and remains a highly attractive destination for students and families residing in Singapore. The XCL American Academy is designed to offer an excellent all-round preparation for students planning to study, work, and live in the United States, not just through the rigorous academics aligned with American curriculum standards, but also through a holistic approach towards character development and real-world applications.”
The founding Superintendent is Darin Carney, a US-born educator with extensive experience of working within international schools in South East Asia and American schools in his home country.
Described by XCL Education CEO Brian Rogove as being "embedded with American values and character development", teaching at XCL American Academy follows the AERO/Common Core curriculum guidelines. This makes it easy for students to transition to or from any other similar American curriculum school globally, and ensure consistency with American stateside schools.
Starting in Nursery, the school offers specialist teaching in the arts and sports. An English-Chinese (Mandarin) Bilingual Programme is offered to non-native speaking students from Pre-K through to Grade 5.
One of the standout features of this new school's curriculum is its unique Pioneer Town project, which focuses on entrepreneurship. Students participate in a large-scale simulation of a town, and engage in role-playing where they take on different responsibilities in a self-contained economy, learning important concepts such as economics, negotiation, innovation, leadership, sales, commerce, and many others.
From Grade 2, student progress are measured twice a year using the US Common Core MAP testing system.
In Grades 6, 7 and 8, every student receives a personal device to be used in-class and remotely.
When Grade 8 students graduate from XCL American Academy, they can transition to high school at XCL World Academy. The school will offer a choice of pathways – Advanced Placement (AP), the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) or International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP), or a Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)-accredited High School Diploma.
Students also have the unique option of being able to switch from XCL American Academy into the IB Middle Years Programme at XCL World Academy before they reach Grade 8.
XCL World Academy currently only offers the IBDP, IBCP, and a WASC-accredited High School Diploma pathway within its senior school. However, there are plans to build a purpose-built high school block on the campus that will allow the school space to accommodate more students and deliver a broader curriculum. The new 'high school' will feature an innovation centre, black box theatre, esports arena, specialist classrooms, a sustainable rooftop garden and student lounge.
The school plans to offer a broad extra-curricular programme for XCL American Academy students through the comprehensive programme offered at XCL World Academy. The programme will feature a variety of sporting, academic, arts and STEM activities. Students will also have the opportunity to join educational holiday camps offered by XCL Camps.
The new purpose-built campus, located next door to XCL World Academy, is slated to open in August 2023. It will will feature a three-storey library called the Pioneer Zone, a multi-purpose hall/gymnasium and specialist classrooms.
Students will also have access to sports and technology facilities at XCL World Academy, including a 50m Olympic-sized swimming pool, multi-use sports field, tennis courts, and a 750-seat auditorium.
Annual fees range from $22,370 for Nursery up to $30,900 for Grade 8. Founding families who joined the school in August 2022 enjoy a special discount of $2,000.
In terms of cost, XCL American Academy is considered mid-range for an international education in Singapore but significantly cheaper than Singapore American School (where middle school fees can be as much as $53,000) and Stamford American International School (where Grade 1-8 fees range from £38-42,000). It's on a par with Singapore's third American school, International Community School (ICS).
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