Dubai Schools Nad Al Sheba is one of three schools currently operated by highly-regarded Taaleem in a joint venture with the Knowledge Fund and Dubai Executive Council.
Dubai Schools Nad Al Sheba is the third school to open under this brand which is operated by Taaleem. The Nad Al Sheba branch follows the Dubai Schools Al Barsha and Dubai Schools Mirdif which opened in September 2021. All three schools are a joint venture in the form of a public-private partnership between the Dubai Government and Taaleem Education – owners of Outstanding-rated Dubai British School Emirates Hills and Raha International School Abu Dhabi.
Having opened a year later than the other two schools in the group, the Nad Al Sheba school opened from pre-school to Grade 5 in August 2022. There are currently 225 students of whom 95% are Emirati and a waiting list for places. Middle school grades will open from September 2023 and girls and boys will be separated from Grade 6 onwards. Class sizes will be a maximum of 28 students in Grade 1 upwards, and 22 in the KG section.
Although the schools are predominantly aimed at Emirati families, they are certainly not the sole focus. Students of other nationalities are welcomed in order to offer a truly international experience and education to all students at the school.
The group, however, clearly aims its explanation for why parents should choose it at local families, informing them “Because the vision and mission of Dubai Schools dovetail with the national priorities of the UAE. The main objective of the Dubai Schools Project is to create a mutually beneficial partnership between the government and the private sector that ensures Dubai’s aspiration to have 100% of Emirati Students enrolled in 'Good+' rated schools by 2021.”
English is primary language of instruction but Arabic is woven in throughout, having a significant place in the school day to day.
The Dubai Schools Mission is “To be a Beacon of Academic Excellence. Combining an inquisitive teaching approach and future-focused skillset delivery, we work hand-in-hand with the community to nurture students to become independent and empathetic learners. We offer an American education that will be guided by Arabic principles and Islamic values which will foster future-ready graduates, driven by pride and tolerance”
The schools’ values are “Future-ready, Trust & Empathy, Collaboration & Inclusion, Cultural Preservation, Academic excellence.”
The group of Dubai schools are led by Director Of Education – US Curriculum (and Founding Superintendent of the Al Barsha branch) Dr. Joseph Kotarski, a US citizen with nearly 17 years teaching and leadership experience in K-12 education. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a Doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership, and holds two Masters degrees in educational leadership, and international management and policy. Dr. Kotarski has spent the past six years in the UAE, working closely with Emirati and expatriate children and families. His most recent position was as Principal/CEO at Aldar Academies’ West Yas Academy in Abu Dhabi.
The Nad Al Sheba school is led by Dr. Carla Caviness, who joined as Founding Principal of the Elementary section at the opening of the school and was appointed to the whole school Principal role for the 2023-24 academic year. A graduate of the University of Memphis, Dr. Caviness completed her Director of Education qualification at Treveca Nazarene University in 2021. Prior to joining Dubai Schools, Dr. Caviness was a member of the leadership team at Aldar Academies.
Teachers are largely from UK/US and South Africa and have been hired both internationally and locally to ensure that staff have the right blend of enthusiasm, knowledge, and experience in the region, to help students achieve their best.
Dubai Schools Nad Al Sheba offers an American Curriculum based on the New York State Education Department – NYSED - standards, leading to an American High School Diploma. In line with KHDA requirements, we would expect that the Diploma will be accredited by NEASC, ensuring that it is accepted in colleges and universities both in the USA and internationally.
The curriculum aims to develop well-rounded learners by teaching global perspectives and context to enable students to successfully develop the critical thinking skills and acumen to contribute positively to a rapidly changing world. The school will teach and embrace global citizenship but will educate and guide students to be well developed and led by Arabic and Islamic principles and values. There will also be a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, sustainability, tolerance, and many other key aspirations of the U.A.E. national agenda for education.
The school commits to the delivery of "High standards of Arabic language, Islamic studies and UAE social studies, science and technology".
At the KG1 and KG2 levels, the curriculum has been designed as an experiential, play-based, and developmentally appropriate curriculum based on NYSED standards. The curriculum will also include additional features including Approaches to Learning, Physical Development and Health, Social and Emotional Learning, and Approaches to Communication.
These additional areas of learning are also provided by the State of New York and are based on recommendations from the (US) National Association for the Education of Young Children.
The elementary school curriculum focuses on developing strong foundational skills in English Language Arts, Mathematics, UAE and US Social Studies, Arabic Language, Islamic Education, Moral Education, Science, and Information Technology. Specialist taught Art, P.E. and Music are offered from KG1, together with Science from Grade 1 with Science labs and dedicated spaces for each subject.
Following on from the Kindergarten curriculum, the Elementary curriculum is developed to ensure that all children succeed, including those who develop at different rates. The curriculum aims to encourage children’s natural curiosity and desire to explore the world around them.
Teaching will be organized around themes and topics that connect the various subjects – encouraging an inquiry-based approach to learning and enabling students to participate in learning through doing (experiential learning) both in the school and within the wider community. This approach will build real-world connections to their learning, as well as learn about the Emirati culture.
The Middle school curriculum has been developed with early adolescent learners in mind supporting the need for relevance, belonging, competence, relationships, and fun. The school uses, as its starting point for curriculum development, the Engage New York curriculum including English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Physical Education, Arabic, Islamic Studies, UAE Social Studies, Social Studies, Moral Education and Physical Education. In addition, students will make two elective choices between Arts subjects (Music, Theater, Band or Visual Arts) or Model United Nations (MUN) or Computer Studies & Digital Fluency.
Students in Middle School are required to enrol in standard elective classes that encourage them to pursue interests and passions beyond the core curriculum and prepares them for the High School elective program. Middle school standard elective classes include Physical Education, Visual Arts, Computer Technology, and Music.
The High School curriculum will include the opportunity for students to undertake a range of Advanced Placements subjects.
A variety of extra-curricular activities will also be available to students.
Dubai Schools Nad Al Sheba says that it prides itself on inclusion and welcome all students. The school promises the delivery of high-quality education for all children, including gifted children and those requiring more learning support. The school has its own dedicated Inclusion Support Team led by an Inclusion Champion and monitored by a Governor for Inclusion.
The Taaleem Group of schools has played a leading role in the development of inclusion policies in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and is highly regarded for the support it is able to offer. Personalized learning programs are developed for students with specific needs on a case-by-case basis, and these programs include access to appropriate resources and support and curricular options.
The school is located at the former campus of the Rising School but has been completely renovated. The Elementary school has been completed and Middle school and Senior school will be built in the coming years for which a large plot of land has been allocated.
The school has a range of high quality facilities including a Chemistry/Biology Lab, two Science Labs, two STEM/STEAM Rooms, a Music Room, an Art Room and Library. There is also an Indoor Multi-purpose Hall (with indoor PE space), a Canteen, Indoor Play Areas, Male & Female Prayer Rooms, and a Medical Clinic. There is also a range of Outdoor Sports Facilities including two Swimming Pools, tennis courts, and an outdoor sports field and two Outdoor Shaded Play Areas (one each for KG and Elementary). Facilities will be extended as the school population grows.
The Taaleem group has long had a very strong reputation in terms of its schools' academic performance and is highly regarded in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It already operates a US curriculum school in Dubai - the only All Girls school in fact - which has also been attractive to Emirati families.
We have no doubt that for Emirati families placing their children in Dubai Schools Nad Al Sheba will be placing their children in 'a safe pair of hands' which will ensure that they receive a high standard of education meeting the authorities' ambition for a KHDA rating of Good or higher.
And for families of other nationalities who are seeking a high quality US curriculum in an environment where their children will be immersed in the Emirati culture, Dubai Schools Nad Al Sheba should offer an attractive option.
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Fees are definitely moderately priced with KG 1 fees starting at AED 29,900, KG2 at AED 32,400, Grade 1 AED 34,700, Grade 2 AED 34,700, Grade 3 AED 35,555, Grade 4 AED 36,155 and Grade 5 AED 38,800. Additional grades will open annually until the school reaches full capacity at Grade 12. Fees already released for these grades range from AED 41,300 for Grade 6 to AED 46,800 for Grade 12.
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