Education Parent Forum: American Curriculum
17 March 2014
Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE): On March 13, parents in Dubai attended an education forum focused on American curriculum schools at the Collegiate American School, an Innoventures Education School. Convened by Know.Do.Serve.Learn. (KDSL), an global education company that specializes in collaborating with American curriculum schools worldwide, the forum featured ten educational experts committed to ensuring high quality in Dubai’s American curriculum schools.
Based in Dubai, KDSL was founded by Kevin Simpson and Alison Burrows, professional American educators and entrepreneurs. KDSL partners with schools, governments, and educational organizations worldwide to increase student achievement, augment teacher knowledge, and enhance leadership in education. After interfacing with parents in Dubai over the last few years, Mr. Simpson perceived the need for a platform for parents to connect with organizations and individuals who work to ensure that American standards are maintained in Dubai schools. “Common Core standards and university preparation are two of the many topics that parents inquire about frequently,” explains Mr. Simpson. “We wanted to create a space where parents could ask questions and learn from each other and educationalists who are working with American curriculum schools.”
The two-hour forum was moderated by Tindley Gilbert, who is Founder and CEO of Diggity, as well as a parent who is passionate about education. There were over 40 attendees, and the panel was structured around key areas of importance to parents, including special education, university preparation, and the Common Core standards. Parents were given the opportunity to submit questions in advance, as well as engage in spontaneous discussion after the conclusion of the panelist comments.
The forum provoked thoughtful responses from parents and panelists:
“I learned in terms of college admissions in the US . . . it is not what curriculum that is important, but how rigorous the curriculum is. Also, in terms of older kids, and the Dubai disadvantage, it is the parent’s role, not just the schools, to teach children respect and manners.” – Victoria Kidd (parent)
“Understanding that an American education is nuanced and specific was a key take-away. The panel shared that 70% of the American schools are not accredited and then even those that are – as parents; as consumers we should ask ‘what does this mean for my child?’. The panel made it clear that we have to be active in searching out quality education and it is a partnership between the home and school.” – Zahra Hamirani, Esq. (parent)
“It was wonderful to interact with such a wide cross-section of parents and educators in an informal and relaxed setting to address and discuss the issues surrounding American Curriculum education in the UAE. We all recognize the need for change and improvement and can collectively contribute towards finding concrete solutions we can implement.” – Peter Davos, Managing Director, Carian College Advisors (panelist)
“It was fantastic to be involved in the forum and interact with other educationalists and inspire parents! Physical activity is essential to raise attainment, achievement, and behavior amongst students. This should be driven by parents, and pressure needs to be placed on Principals and Administration to increase the quantity and quality of physical ‘activity’ across the whole school. School is about ‘life-lessons and learning’ and not just Academics.” – Gillian Brunton, Managing Director, InnerG Solutions (panelist)
“Teaching children to embrace the language and culture of their host country is rewarding in the sense that it turns our third-culture kids into confident and proud World Citizens. Promoting this idea to the American schools in the UAE has become a priority, as the American system emphasizes leadership skills and provides a solid foundation for students to flourish as strong, capable, well-rounded individuals. Having studied the Arabic language and culture in depth, in such a setting, these students would gain a significant competitive advantage over their American school peers in other countries. It is our job to make Arabic Education an enjoyable, engaging, and valuable experience for students at all levels, across the board.” – Rania Nasr, Managing Director/Head Trainer, Risalla Education Consulting (panelist)
“A panel of education experts for parents is a genius idea, especially here in Dubai, and I was thrilled to be part of this panel of people who can help families out there who have many questions about education.” – Angela Flynn, Director of Education, Sylvan Learning Center (panelist)
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, included media coverage in The National, and parents expressed interest in future forums. KDSL is eager to spearhead ways in which parents can continue to grow their knowledge about American curriculum schools. In April 2014, KDSL will release a white paper highlighting critical information about American curriculum schools in Dubai that specifically targets parents of current students or those who are considering these schools for the future.
For more information on this event, please visit http://knowdoservelearn.org/events.html.