Fairgreen International School, slated to open September 2018, will be an IB continuum school and integrate sustainability into its academic programs.
Fairgreen International School will follow a modified all-through IB curriculum, integrating sustainability into its educational program. It claims to be the UAE's first truly sustainable school, although it is not alone in pushing its greener credentials.
The Swiss International Scientific School Dubai was the first to promote the sustainable nature of its campus, while Fairgreen is joined by the Arbor School in going one step further in not only promoting a sustainable campus, but also integrating sustainability into the curriculum itself via student projects.
These projects will become considerably more sophisticated as the student journeys through the school. Fairgreen, unlike the UK curriculum based Arbor school, will be an IB continuum school, offering the IB Primary Years Program, Mid Year Program, Diploma Program and, crucially in terms of providing a concrete pathway into the sustainability sector, the Careers Related Program.
Although planned to open at The Sustainable City, the school's owners have recently announced (June 2018) that although the school will open on time, it will not open at its own campus. The campus construction completion dates have been updated to November 2018. However, Fairgreen will open in September 2018, operating from an interim campus, sharing facilities with its Esol Education sister school, Dunecrest American School, near Al Barari, about 15 minutes away from The Sustainable City (TSC).
As compensation for the inconvenience, the school is offering the following benefits to parents enrolling their children from September: 30% Tuition Discount: All enrolled students and new applicants will receive a discount of 30% on annual tuition for 2018-2019. In addition, there will be a Complimentary Bus Service for students residing in TSC and in neighboring communities from a designated pick up point in TSC until Fairgreen relocates to its own campus at the end of November.
The Fairgreen community has been quite supportive of the solution that Fairgreen and Esol Education have devised, and with the allowances the school is providing. Fairgreen’s Director, Graeme Scott, shares, “We remain committed to doing everything possible to deliver an exceptional education to our students. Our teachers are of the highest quality and will ensure that care for students, high quality learning, collaboration, and the development of character and positive values will remain unhindered. We are thankful to our sister school, Dunecrest, for agreeing to host us for the initial months of the 2018-2019 school year, and to our parents and students for their patience and flexibility.”
The campus has been designed for "minimal environmental impact", using solar power "for all its energy needs", recycling all its water for agricultural use, and implementing waste separation.
However the focus on reducing its carbon footprint does not translate into a smaller footprint altogether. Facilities at the school are impressive and include:
The school has appointed its Founding Director, Graeme Scott.
Scott brings 30 years of international experience to the position, having started his teaching career in Northeast England before moving overseas to assume senior leadership positions at International Baccalaureate schools in the Netherlands and Bangkok.
More specifically Scott was the Deputy Head of the International School Bangkok (ISB), Thailand's oldest international school and still its most expensive. Prior to arriving at ISB, Fairgreen's Director served for seven years as Head of School at the International School of The Hague in the Netherlands.
In addition to a Bachelor of Education from Sheffield Hallam University and an Advanced Diploma of Educational Management from Leicester University Scott is also completing his Masters in Applied Educational Leadership with the University College London.
“Fairgreen International School has been designed... to develop articulate, caring, global citizens. Innovation and creativity are non-negotiables, with children encouraged to be courageous and to think differently.”
Scott is backed up by quite a weighty leadership team that also includes Peter Daly, who was the Founding Principal of North London Collegiate School (NLCS) Jeju, a school that achieved the badge of outstanding from Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) from its first year of opening. The curriculum coordinator, Samantha Fern was the PYP Coordinator within IB Continuum Schools in Vancouver Canada, Copenhagen Denmark and Panama City Panama.
Fairgreen clearly takes advantage of its location within Dubai Sustainable City, tailoring the IB continuum program to integrate "a unique sustainable education curriculum" making use of the facilities around it.
The school says it wants to play a leading role in helping the UAE achieve its sustainable development goals (SDG’s) as outlined in the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the Dubai Plan 2021 and the UAE’s National Committee on SDGs.
“As Esol’s first sustainable school, and one of a few around the world, the Fairgreen International School project initiates an important and necessary evolution for K-12 education,” Mr. Walid Abushakra, Esol Education Chairman.
The school plans "hands-on project-based learning, research-supported teaching methods, technology initiatives and worldwide partnerships with leading experts and organizations in sustainability-related research and practice."
In terms of partnerships, Stephen Ritz, author of the critically-acclaimed book “The Power of a Plant,” has been brought in to help with the "Health, Wellness and Learning Centre", based in one of The Sustainable City’s bio-domes (pictured above) that has been dedicated to the school.
The centre will use STEAM (using Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking) to enable students to reach a deep understanding of good nutrition in relation to their own wellness through organic and sustainable food production technologies, including solar-powered vertical farms, aquaponics, and other urban farming techniques.
It will also promote the concept of “farm to table,” selecting local ingredients, cooking at home as a family, avoiding processed foods, and adopting exercise for life. It will give "students a blueprint for well-being that will continue to serve them for the rest of their lives."
The school clearly believes in an all-round education and aims to offer:
However, not all of these will be offered on Day 1, "highly qualified teachers" coming on board "as the school grows".
The school also intends to have strong performing arts and fine arts programs.
Fairgreen is also part of the Stanford Pre-Collegiate International Institutes which will allow a selected number of its older students (14 years and older) to experience college-life at Stanford, one of the world’s top-ranked universities. Students are exposed to university level content and teaching style, and to interact with students from around the world.
Like other UAE IB schools, Fairgreen will also take part in the Model United Nations.
Fairgreen International, while a premium school it has not pegged itself as an 'ultra-premium' in terms of fees.
Fees are in line with the Arbor school, and mid-range in terms of IB continuum schools, ranging from 50,000 AED at KG and rising to 88,000 at Grade 12. However generous discounts, ranging from 25 to 35 percent, are available for founding parents who join within the next three years. It is not clear what will happen to those discounts for founders after this point.
Fairgreen International School will open classes for Pre-K through Grade 9 classes initially, with the aim to grow to over 1,000 students by 2025. Sustainable growth indeed...
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