As I join this community for my first school year, it is my great hope that whether your family is new to the community like me, or returning, your family feels the warmth and joy that make the relationships, learning environments, and opportunities at Rabat American School truly unique.
At RAS, our learning community’s foundation is built upon relationships. We will focus on developing deep, meaningful relationships with and amongst children, parents and families, educators, and our global community.
Utilizing the outdoor beauty of Rabat, Morocco and our indoor classrooms that feel like a home away from home, our learning environments enhance children’s learning and cultivate collaboration, communication, and curiosity. When you are on campus, I encourage you to examine the displays that showcase the beauty of our children’s learning.
RAS educators purposefully plan for, implement, and assess standards-based instruction to ensure each child’s individual growth. With educators as mentors, we provide robust experiences in the core curricula of literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, and social-emotional learning. Children also develop skills in music, art, physical education, French and Arabic languages, and Moroccan studies, in addition to, discovering all that library has to offer! We know we are successful when children identify and conduct themselves as readers, musicians, authors, artists, French-speakers, caregivers, scientists, economists, researchers, anthropologists, mathematicians, ambassadors, Arabic-speakers, historians, counselors, and global servants. We are committed to providing opportunities for our children to develop and reflect on their approaches to learning alongside developing content specific knowledge and skills.
There are also a wealth of after-school activities offered to children in first through fifth grades. No matter the content, our children are at the center of the learning experiences, enjoying the delight of childhood.
I, like so many families in the RAS community, have lived abroad for many years and understand the joy of discovering a truly welcoming community! I have been honored to contribute to children’s learning journeys in the United States, Australia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. While at RAS, I am committed to enriching the learning community which includes children, educators, and PARENTS! Your role in your child(ren)’s learning is invaluable and we welcome you to get involved in each and every way you can. I couldn’t be more delighted to welcome you to the 2018-2019 school year and our incredible learning community!
Looking forward to seeing you on campus,
The main work is in literacy and numeracy taught through high-interest topics. Language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) are taught and practiced in hands-on units related to social studies and science themes.
Reading instruction is designed to teach reading and listening comprehension and to improve each child’s use of phonics and other strategies for decoding. The students have access to a wide variety of literature, including classroom libraries and leveled reading books. Teachers are able to work with individuals and small groups to ensure that children of all ability levels are able to make progress. Students who can read more advanced books are given the opportunity to do so. We assess students regularly to provide early intervention and English language support to students who need it.
Writing is emphasized throughout, with students using invented spelling to write for a variety of purposes by the end of kindergarten. By the end of second grade students are using conventional spelling, and learning about organizing thoughts, paragraphs, vocabulary choices, complete sentences, expressing main ideas and supporting details and other elements of the writer’s craft. Writing is constantly related to reading and thematic studies, and students learn what makes compelling writing through their literature studies. We assess young students’ writing in various ways, including writing rubrics and teacher-designed assessments.
They develop concepts from the concrete to the abstract as they advance through the early childhood grades. At the same time, they learn to perform the traditional algorithms (adding and subtracting 3-digit numbers with regrouping by second grade), memorize basic addition and subtraction facts, and practice multiplication and division concepts. They are introduced to appropriate levels of the major mathematical concept areas (numeration; estimation and mental math; geometry, measurement, fractions) and are encouraged to express their mathematical thinking in words. Math concepts are explored in relation to thematic units when possible. Math progress is assessed through teacher-designed and program based assessment tools.
Teachers continue to integrate language arts with designated social studies and science concepts as much as possible, to increase relevance and excitement for learning. The library and computer teachers meet regularly with the classroom teacher to plan project-based, media-enriched study units.
They edit and revise their work, include description and details, sequence events, vary sentence length and structure, use basic paragraph structure, summarize, respond to literature, use a wide range of vocabulary, and use conventional spelling and mechanics.
Mental math, estimation, problem solving, and expressing mathematical thinking clearly is emphasized. At the same time, students memorize multiplication and division facts and learn to use standard algorithms for multiplying and dividing. They work with decimals and further their understanding of fractions, geometry, measurement, and beginning algebraic concepts. Math progress is assessed by teacher-designed and commercial assessment tools as well as the math portion of the Measure of Academic Progress test.
Art classes occur once each week with the goal of providing students with opportunities to explore a variety of art media, to learn specific skills and techniques, to develop art history knowledge through the study of artists and art periods and to develop an appreciation of art as a cultural expression.
Students in all grades come to the library once a week for a library class. During this time, students participate in a short lesson designed to learn about accessing information and to promote a life-long interest in reading. In addition, classroom teachers collaborate closely with the librarian to integrate classroom topics into the library studies program.
Music is an essential part of our life and provides a unique means of communicate through knowing, understanding, and expressing ideas and feelings about self, world and culture. Music teaching is a process approach which involves developmentally appropriate, positive, continuous and sequential learning activities with develop both skills and knowledge. Music classes occur twice weekly with performances during the year.
The program is a developmentally appropriate educational experience designed to provide immediate and lifelong benefits. The curriculum and instruction emphasize enjoyable participation in physical activity and help students develop the confidence, knowledge, attitudes, motor and behavior skills needed to adopt and maintain a physically active lifestyle. Physical Education classes occur twice weekly.
At the elementary level, the use of technology resources and tools occurs in the classroom and it is integrated with other subjects taught at each grade level. Students have access to laptops and tablets and these tools are used for a variety of purposes including skills practice, problem-solving, communication, research and project and portfolio development.
For learners of French and Arabic as a foreign language, the program goal is to move students every closer to achieving fluency in the target language. For those students who already speak French or Arabic, the program is designed to enhance fluency and literacy.
The team’s objective is to identify and meet individual needs through one of several intervention options. These include planning with the classroom teacher to differentiate instruction for more advanced or struggling learners, pullout groups for EAL or Learning Support, “inclusion support” during Language Arts where the specialist works with students and teachers in the classroom.
Students need to acquire academic language which integrates reading, writing, listening and speaking skills using grade level content and material, cognitive skills, specialized vocabulary and learning strategies.
Students can be placed in different kinds of programs according to individual need; students may be supported through inclusion programs, where an EAL teacher works with the classroom teacher in the mainstream class, or pullout programs where relevant grade level material is studied at the EAL students’ pace.
Students work towards curricula knowledge, study skills, and metacognitive learning (thinking about thinking). The major emphasis in the the Learning Support program is improving reading and writing skills.
Students are generally grouped by grade level and receive instruction in small pull-out groups or in the classroom. The Learning Support teacher consults with the classroom teacher to provide strategies and/or accommodations for individual students. Determining the level of services a student needs is determined with the Child Study Team and the classroom teacher.
In the elementary school guidance is provided to all students through whole class lessons, small group meetings or individually. The counselor also consults with individual teachers, developing special lessons that specifically address areas of concern in their respective classroom. Providing support to parents and collaborating with both parents and teachers is another important aspect of the program.
At the Rabat American School we have implemented a Positive Behavior Intervention Support system (PBIS). This system is based on the premise of continual teaching, modeling and reinforcing positive behavior. This system supports positive behaviors, reduces discipline problems and promotes a climate of greater productivity, safety and learning. PBIS focuses on being proactive versus reactive while using a systematic method of instruction for desired positive behavior.