Welcome to ACS!
My name is Jonathan Johnson, and 2016-17 is my fourth year as the Elementary Principal at ACS. The past school year was one of incredible growth in several keys areas. In 2015-16, the Elementary division welcomed over 130 new students and 16 new teachers. We also christened a beautiful new Upper Elementary building, which was purpose-built for the needs of our Grade 4 and 5 students.
In addition to these important changes to our school community, last year was a year of growth in other very significant areas:
Writing Instruction: As part of our long-term continuous improvement plan, each year teachers in the Elementary division focus on two specific areas of shared professional growth and common practice. One of the central areas of focus last year was that of writing instruction. Supported by hands-on work with world-class external consultants, teachers in the Elementary division refined their practices related to the Writer’s Workshop approach. This approach facilitates individualized instruction for all of our student writers, providing them with personalized learning support within a context of common, well-communicated learning goals. Teachers in the Elementary division also worked collaboratively in 2015-16 on preparing a common approach to the instruction of conventions such as spelling, phonics, and handwriting. This work will benefit our student writers in 2016-17 and for years to come.
Inquiry-Based Science units: The second major area of focus for Elementary teachers last year and one that continues in 2016-17 is that of Science instruction. The Next Generation Science Standards have invited teachers to design experiences for students that mix engineering, scientific practices, and cross-cutting concepts with rich scientific content-related learning. This year, teachers will engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate student scientific abilities and knowledge well beyond memorized facts and basic skills. Our students will work as scientists during Science classes, just as they work as authors during writing class.
Core Values: At ACS, the values of Courage, Curiosity, Compassion, and Integrity lead our institution and our community. These values are used to frame learning, events, field trips, our student behavior expectations, and many of the decisions we make. Parents can contribute to the strengthening of these values by using them to frame conversations at home as well as in school.
After School Activities: We believe that life outside of classroom is just as important as the learning that happens within the classroom walls. For this reason, in the Elementary division we have continued to look for a greater number and variety of after-school activities to enrich the lives of our young students, and help them to find areas of passion and strength. In addition to an ever-increasing number of options within our After School Recreation Program (ASRPs), and our 3 seasons (basketball, soccer, and softball) of Mini-Vipers, we have now established a competitive interschool soccer and basketball league for students in Grades 4 and 5, a Learn to Swim and Age Group Swim program for all Elementary ages, and access to enrichment opportunities such as Kumon.
The ACS team works hard to offer frequent opportunities for students to shine: In the classroom, on the sports field, musical or artistic arenas, our students never cease to rise to the challenges they are given and to make us proud of their achievements. We provide a safe and happy environment, a caring and talented faculty, creative tools, and enriching programs, and our students do the rest.
Whether you wish to volunteer to become directly involved in one of our many opportunities for ACS parents, get involved in our series of parent education discussions, or simply learn more about the people, beliefs, and programs that make ACS successful, it’s a pleasure to welcome you to the Elementary School of ACS.
American Community School of Abu Dhabi