United Arab Emirates / Sharjah / Ramakiya / Sharjah American International School

Sharjah American International School Review

Sharjah American International School (SAIS) is a Kindergarten to Grade 12 school, and one of four SAIS Group campuses. The SAIS Group are known for providing American-based curricula within the framework of traditional Islamic values.
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2020/21
No data
Availability 2021/22
No data
Status
Open
Opening year
1997
School year
Aug to Jun
Principal
Mr Saleh Jadayel
Owner
Sharjah American International School
Community
Does your child attend this school? Take our survey and help other parents.
WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.
LET'S GO
favorite favorite_border Save
Sharjah American International School

Sharjah American International School Review

School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
AP, SAT, NGSS
Availability 2020/21
No data
Availability 2021/22
No data
Status
Open
Opening year
1997
School year
Aug to Jun
Principal
Mr Saleh Jadayel
Owner
Sharjah American International School
Community
MORE arrow_drop_down

Sharjah American International School (SAIS) is a Kindergarten to Grade 12 school, and one of four SAIS Group campuses. The SAIS Group are known for providing American-based curricula within the framework of traditional Islamic values.

The story so far . . .

The SAIS Group of Schools was established by Dr. Aysha Ali Bin Sayyar and Dr. Nawaf Mohamed Fawaz in order to provide more educational choices for students and their parents in the emirate of Sharjah. The Al Ramaqiya campus in Sharjah was the first of the four SAIS schools to open, in 1997, and it proved so successful that the SAIS Group went on to open three other campuses – SAIS Dubai, SAIS Umm Al Quwain, and SAIS Abu Dhabi.

As a school, SAIS’s overriding ethos is that students learn best in a caring, nurturing environment which recognises the importance of local culture and traditions. The idea is that within such an environment, the primary focus can be on developing responsible and well-rounded bilingual students, who will be able to meet the challenges of the 21st century with confidence and anticipation:

Our mission is to provide a Western education within a context that respects local traditions, to encourage academic excellence, to implement an inclusive learning environment that accepts students of all ability levels and provide for their needs, and to build responsible personalities that embrace 21st century learning skills and show interest in the important issues of the global community.

To this end, SAIS prizes the core values of collaboration, respect, honesty, citizenship, responsibility, and tolerance; and there is no who extols these virtues more than the school’s principal, Mr. Saleh Jadayel. While the prevailing religion of the school is Islam, Mr. Jadayel makes it clear that the school is open to believers of all world religions, and that the school community is “proud of the rich diversity of nationalities represented at SAIS and the manner in which the host country culture enhances the life of the school.

Central to the school’s approach is the belief that if children are cared about as individuals, then they will ultimately thrive as students. All students, from Kindergarten to Grade 12, are therefore offered “a multitude of opportunities to develop, both in and outside of the classroom, because we believe that every child is important and has a unique personality and learning requirements.” And Mr. Jadayel states that isn’t possible without the right teachers, to guide, mentor, and support:

We also recognize that a modern school program must be grounded in sound and current education practice. To this end, we believe that staff development is an integral part of our school’s success. We believe that children learn differently, and that instruction must be geared to the various learning styles in each classroom wherever possible.

What about the Curriculum?

SAIS offers an American curriculum education which follows the California Standards, as it believes that “a child’s education is served best when his/her individual needs are met within a challenging and comprehensive curriculum”. While the language of instruction is English, SAIS also follows the UAE Ministry of Education’s (MOE) curriculum, which covers areas such as Arabic Language, Islamic Studies, and Social Studies.

The core program at SAIS emphasises Reading, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Arabic Language (for native and non-native speakers), and Islamic Education (for Muslim students). Students also receive instruction in Health, Physical Education, Computer Technology, Art, and Music, before choosing from a wide variety of electives in Middle and High School.

SAIS believes that, by providing instruction in as wide a range of areas as possible, students are encouraged to grow as creative thinkers, critical reasoners, and effective communicators. To support this, SAIS classes rely on ensuring that objectives are clearly defined in all subject areas, but that academic expectations are flexible enough to both support and challenge each individual learner. Homework and technology are also considered important parts of the educational process.

The SAIS education begins in the Kindergarten, a student-centred environment where children are introduced to inquiry-based approaches, exploration, and problem solving. At this stage, the goal is to provide a strong base of knowledge and skills by introducing students to a wide range of core subjects – by covering a broad curriculum, SAIS plans to cater for all areas of students’ intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development. In addition, SAIS infuses all subjects with literacy enriched activities rather than teaching each subject as a separate area, allowing children to develop cross-curricular skills and connections.

The core subjects at this stage are English, Mathematics, and Science, as well as special subjects like Arabic, Art, Computer Studies, and Physical Education. Language development is also considered a key component of the Kindergarten curriculum, since SAIS believes that enhanced language skills teach children to think critically and problem solve.

Ultimately, the Kindergarten team hope that each child will have the chance to “make choices and explore curiosities to motivate them to enjoy learning”. The devoted staff implement an academic program that focuses on each students’ uniqueness and individual capabilities, and strive to provide the best possible education by offering them limitless opportunities to succeed:

At SAIS, we believe in the dignity and value of all children. We believe that intellectual and social skills are best learned in an environment where confidence is developed, and respect is absolute.

Following on from Kindergarten, students move to the Elementary Section, which houses Grades 1 to 4. The mission of SAIS Elementary Section is “to inspire, empower, and engage students in the learning process while instilling the qualities of citizenship, communication, collaboration, creativity, critical-thinking, and coding skills, which are paramount in developing 21st century learners”. A differentiated instructional methodology is implemented within an inclusive and safe environment, so that students are both challenged and nurtured – this is intended to foster and encourage academic excellence, as well as promote positive social development.

Like in the Kindergarten, compassion and civility are at the centre of everything, not only for students but for staff, families, and the wider community as well. The Elementary Section “implements a comprehensive value-based education program that assists students in thinking about and reflecting on different universal values”. This program aims to inspire students to make appropriate personal, social, and moral choices, by emphasising the five values of responsibility, respect, cleanliness, cooperation, and honesty.

At this stage, students take the following subjects: Arabic, English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Moral Education, UAE Social Studies, Islamic Studies, Physical Education, Art, and Information Technology.

The curriculum is designed to develop a range of learning skills so that students can take a more active role in their own learning and therefore become inquirers, risk-takers, and reflective thinkers. The program includes a broad range of activities, to encourage the development of both cognitive and affective skills, and to ultimately produce well-rounded, naturally curious learners:

They explore new concepts, ideas, and issues about the world around them. They approach unfamiliar situations with courage and open-mindedness. Furthermore, they learn to show respect towards the needs and feelings of others. Ultimately, they learn to apply thinking skills creatively and critically.

Students next move on to the Middle School, which begins with Grade 5 and ends with Grade 9. Here, the ultimate goal “is to create a healthy, supportive and motivating environment for our adolescents, which will enable them to turn their dreams into achievable goals”. SAIS believes that Middle School represents a turning point, where students have to use the knowledge they have learned to launch themselves into the future.

More than this, however, SAIS recognises that students at this stage go through many physical and psychological changes, so that they are no longer children, but not yet adults. While students have the opportunity to develop socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually, the school takes into consideration that this is a difficult stage for students, teachers, and parents:

Our tolerant and understanding staff in the middle school will guide students to smoothly pass through this stage and reach their maximum academic potential”.

The student-centred learning process encourages students to think for themselves, innovate, and participate fully. The teaching staff especially encourage independent learning and empower students to take on more responsibilities, becoming active participants in a program that “provides firm academic grounding in different subjects and promotes the students’ full intellectual, physical, moral, and social development”.

Mental health and wellbeing are also promoted as core components of education at this stage, ensuring that the school operates an anti-bullying environment that supports tolerance, integrity, compassion, and responsibility. SAIS believes that all students learn in different ways, and therefore bring their individual methods, interests, talents, diverse cultures, family backgrounds, and socio-economic levels to the learning environment – as a result, this diversity drives teachers to offer differentiated instruction, so that they can cater to all learners.

Finally, SAIS students complete Grades 10 to 12, also known as High School. Secondary students undertake a rigorous American curriculum, balanced with an international perspective, so that they can become “self-reliant adults who are then able to face societal challenges with confidence and function effectively in their future workplaces”.

Students work primarily towards the SAIS diploma, but are also prepared to take the American SAT exams, the AP exam, and the TOEFL tests (the SAT I requirements are incorporated into Grade 11 Mathematics and English, while the SAT II requirements are incorporated into Grade 10 to 12 Sciences). Alongside the core subjects, the school also offers courses in fine arts, foreign languages, economics, and computer science, as well as providing a comprehensive E-learning program – all students in Grades 10 to 12 are equipped with laptops, supported by excellent digital resources.

One area that is paid special attention at SAIS is science. The science curriculum is built around the National Academy of Sciences NGSS standards, which focus on three key areas: Science and Engineering Practices (where students learn by doing and then apply that knowledge to other problems); Cross Cutting Concepts (notions that are common across all areas of the sciences); and Core Ideas (Physical Science; Life Science; Earth & Space Sciences; and Engineering and Technology Application, all of which are considered foundational for post-secondary study).

In Elementary School, students formulate answers to questions related to different branches of science. Then, in Middle School, students develop an understanding of key concepts, to help them make sense of more complex details. Next, students in High School continue to develop their understanding of the core subjects: Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. In Grade 9, students focus on Biology, while students in Grade 10 focus on Chemistry. Finally, it is mandatory for students in Grades 11 and 12 to take Physics and AP-based courses.

SAIS takes a very structured approach to teaching science, whereby students follow a path of instruction that connects and builds upon each stage of their schooling. The school believes that its basic role “is to make sure that there is a direct linkage between the theories that are being taught in the students’ textbooks and the real, practical everyday experience”. This is achieved through three avenues: (1) practical applications in the laboratory; (2) research and project work that link daily life issues to the theory; and (3) field trips to factories, companies, etc.

While SAIS clearly focuses a lot of its energies in the classroom, the school also recognises the importance of helping students to develop beyond academics. SAIS believes that extra-curricular activities are essential to the process of developing a student holistically, and for this reason provides students with “opportunities to positively impact their community and themselves”.

Although there is no comprehensive list of activities available, activities mentioned on the school website include cooking, chess, and robotics. Additionally, the school appears to run a number of competitions and events for students to get involved with, such as inter-school sports tournaments, public speaking competitions, overnight excursions, community-service activities, magazine publishing, an annual drama production, environmental awareness projects, and art contests.

In addition, SAIS students have the chance to engage with local traditions by celebrating events such as National Day, Ramadan, and Eid. Other non-UAE based events include Earth Day, to help students develop their global awareness, as well as Cancer Awareness campaigns and International Games Day.

What about Inclusion?

Unfortunately, SAIS does not offer any information about their inclusion practices on the school website. However, the school does mention that students have access to a Career Advisor, who is available to help them choose courses, set goals, and prepare themselves for the university application process.

What about Academic Achievement? 

SAIS states that its graduates typically go to the best universities in the UAE, Canada, the United States, and the UK, and that the school has a “strong tradition of excellence in Mathematics, the Sciences, and Information Technology”. However, given that SAIS does not make its students’ exam results available to the public (as is common in the UAE), it can be hard to judge the truth in such a statement.

What we do know is that students from Grade 1 to Grade 9 take internal assessments at the end of each academic term, the results of which help teachers revise the curriculum to meet individual student needs and goals. Testing practices used at SAIS include:

  • NWEA Map Testing: For students in Grades 3 to 9. Map assessments are computer-adaptive and produce accurate, reliable data that reveal the precise learning level of every student (regardless of the student's ability or grade level). Map identifies areas of strength and opportunity at the goal level of a subject, as well as overall performance.
  • CAT4 Testing: For students in Grades 3 to 9. The Cognitive Abilities Test is a diagnostic assessment that is designed to help students and their teachers understand how they learn and what their academic potential might be. Students also take the CAT4 test upon joining the school, so that teachers can identify each students’ learning style and incorporate it into differentiated instruction within the classroom.
  • IBT Arabic Testing: Conducted by ACER, this Arabic assessment is designed to give an international benchmark of each child’s performance in comparison with other participating countries in the region and around the world.

What the Inspectors Say

Unlike schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Sharjah schools have not participated in regulatory inspections on a regular basis; while there were a few instances of inspections being undertaken by the Ministry of Education, schools did not generally publish the outcomes. With the initiation of SPEA (Sharjah Private Education Authority), the intention is that schools will be inspected using the common framework already in place in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

However, SPEA has decided to seek a collaborative approach with the schools for this process, and although we understand that initial inspections did take place prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, results of these inspections have not been published.

As a result of the pandemic, Sharjah schools have participated in Distance Learning Evaluations (DLE), implemented by the Ministry of Education throughout the UAE (these results have been published). In its most recent Distance Learning Review Report (2020), SAIS’s implementation of distance learning was rated as Developed.

Inspectors felt that SAIS was proving successful in encouraging students’ attendance and participation in distance learning lessons, noting that students “engage in a wide range of different methods and approaches for learning that are appropriate to their needs”. It was also felt that guidance regarding online safety was being appropriately integrated in lessons.

Teachers were particularly praised for collaborating in order to sustain a program of interesting lessons which made use of a wide range of online resources. The report noted that because of teacher planning, “they ensure that learning objectives are clear and that lessons cover key learning areas and sustain the continuity and momentum in students’ learning”.

Finally, the evaluation commended the school’s short-term and long-term planning. It was felt that short-term planning was “responsive with appropriate adjustments made to ensure the ongoing development of distance learning approaches”, while long-term plans fully considered different future scenarios, “particularly with developing resources and sustaining the momentum in students’ learning and their engagement”.

As with all DLE reports, the inspectors also offered a number of areas for potential improvement. Firstly, they suggested that the school work on the balance of academic and non-academic activities, and look to offer more opportunities for students to interact with their peers in lessons. Secondly, the report encouraged SAIS to ensure students’ knowledge about who to contact if they had any wellbeing concerns. Finally, inspectors recommended the school continue to work on its communication with parents, “especially towards building their understanding of the school’s distance learning initiatives and the importance of their own roles in supporting their children”.

If you would like to read the full inspection report – which we strongly advise you to do in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings – you will find it here.

What about Facilities?

SAIS occupies a large, sandy coloured building, and while the campus may not be especially expansive or high-tech, the school ensures that students have access to everything they might need. For example, brightly decorated classrooms have individual desks for each student and interactive whiteboards for interactive learning. Meanwhile, students have access to plenty of sports and leisure facilities, including a sports field, a multi-purpose hall, outdoor courts, a swimming pool, and shaded outdoor play areas.

The Buzz

We currently have no reviews for SAIS.

If you are a parent, teacher, or senior student at SAIS, please share your experience with other potential members of your school community by taking part in our survey.

What about Fees?

Unfortunately, the SAIS website provides no information on its fees for the Sharjah branch. However, fees are provided for the other three branches, and we would expect the Sharjah school’s fees to be similar.

Tuition fees at SAIS Abu Dhabi are the most expensive, ranging from AED 29,500 in KG1 to AED 39,300 in Grade 10 (this branch does not offer Grades 11 and 12). Tuition fees for the Dubai branch start significantly lower, at AED 16,619 for KG1, but do reach AED 41,547 for Grade 12. Finally, tuition fees at the Umm Al Quwain branch are the cheapest, ranging from AED 15,400 for KG1 up to AED 27,500 for Grade 12.

The SAIS branch in Sharjah should be contacted directly for current fee information.

If you are the owner or the principal of the school and note any inaccuracies, or would like to update data, you can now open an account with us. You will also be able to add admissions availability per year group, and advertise current job vacancies. This is a free service. Please help us keep prospective parents up to date with your latest information.

Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers. Request Information

Comments
0 Schools Selected
keyboard_arrow_down keyboard_arrow_up
Your selection Clear All