Asia American International Academy: Advocating and Fostering Individual Excellence
Asia American International Academy

Rita Pierson, a teacher by profession, during one of her TED speeches mentioned, “it is teachers who take students from where they are to where they need to be.” This statement alone tells us every one of us, irrespective of who you are or where you are, have been influenced by a teacher.

This is where personalized andlearning or customized learning comes into the picture. Here,While the aim is to educate all the students in a classroom, the focus is given to educating every single student. as well. This calls to mind a quote by Ignacio Estrada, Director of Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. He says, “If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”

With such a thought, we introduce the Asia American International Academy (AAIA), whose philosophy is centered around acustomized and innovative learning culture. Herein, the students achieve personal and academic excellence through a personalized learning strategy.

Inclusive and Customized Education

Founded in 2016, Asia American International Academy is the first American curriculum school in New Taipei City. It challenges students to achieve academic excellence and embody the Expected School-wide Learning Outcomes (ESLO’s): Critical Thinking and Problem Solving; Effective Communication; Active Learning; Global Awareness; and High Character. Having set the standard for international education in New Taipei City, AAIA continuously endeavors towards expanding its vision as a caring community dedicated to student success.

Students are at the center of AAIA’s learning process and everything that happens in this school revolves around them. Hence, AAIA personalizes and customizes its instruction, curriculum, co-curricular activities, and support. It is then the role of Founding Principal, Mr. Stephen Cravak, to analyze student data and to empower stakeholders into executing a college and career-readiness oriented learning experience. He works closely with the staff, teachers, parents, the board, community leaders, and other leading international schools so that every decision is an informed decision with the entire learning community in mind.

A World of Choices
Providing students with a world-class education that prepares them to be responsible citizens and effective leaders is the prime goal of AAIA.  The school’s student-centric curriculum achieves this goal.  Its course offerings are adjusted every year to meet the growing needs and interests of students. Instead of students having to fit what teachers offer, AAIA builds its faculty and curriculum around what the students desire to learn. An ideal example of this is when the high school juniors and seniors were surveyed and influenced in choosing their science electives for the academic year 2020-2021. The students had to choose the electives from the following options: AP Chemistry, AP Biology, Engineering Design, Environmental Forensic Science, Marine Biology, Physics.

The Middle School (G6 – G8) course program is built upon a foundation of consistency and exposure. Alongside, the students also have 40-minutes of each core class daily at the same time. The core classes include mathematics, science, English Language Arts (ELA), social studies, and either Advanced ELA or ELA Support depending on the student’s English skills.

AAIA’s aim is not limited to just enriching its students academically, but rather achieve their holistic growth: physical, intellectual, emotional and social. It fosters children’s inquiry, critical thinking, imagination, curiosity, and critical thinking skills. Hence, along with offering an exemplary curriculum, the school also engages students with various other activities that help them acquire the aforesaid.

Following the core classes, students have lunch and recess with access to the library, basketball court, ping pong tables, picnic grove, dance studio, and ping pong tables. Each afternoon is filled with an exuberant mixture of enrichment classes, physical education, and assemblies. The enrichment classes are held every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and rotate each semester. The class includes art, coding, music, as well as reading and health. Tuesdays and Thursdays are full of PE programs involving a variety of sports at world-class facilities including National Taiwan Sports University under the instruction of Olympic coaches.

Rotating with PE instruction are innovative and inclusive assemblies where all MS students learn across all disciplines and are exposed to a variety of opportunities. The past assembly activities include self-defense and mindfulness workshops, a school flag design competition, World Scholar’s Cup and Model United Nations simulations, as well as flag bowl, spelling, vocabulary, and vocabulary bees. The school even conducts an AP Exam Simulation wherein the middle school students take part in a fun mock AP exam across multiple subjects so students get an early preview of what to expect in high school

Gateway to Tomorrow

The close-knit and diverse community of students, staff, and parents is a microcosm of AAIA, representing around 200 students from grades 6 through 12. AAIA offers a dynamic framework in which once can understand other cultures and perspectives. It believes that schools can be stigmatizing environments for adolescents, especially when considering tiered classes and honor classes. It allows students to learn, develop and graduate steadily and gradually.

To aid this, AAIA empowers students throughits highly qualified teachers’ differentiated instruction within mixed level classes. Students may then advance to higher-level courses such as APs when they have mastered the necessary skills. The school also administers the PSAT program for four years, so that students and parents are informed on AP readiness and SAT level skills as early as 8th grade.

There is also a strong and diverse co-curricular program that all students participate in during the school day. This includes an advisory program for each grade level and a house system that provides a family structure of students throughout all grade levels. Through all of these initiatives, students are consistently conscious of their current strengths and potential and therefore are not labeled but rather coached through each academic hurdle towards their desired college and career goals.

This personalized and customized approach of AAIA, diligently creates opportunities for students in specific career paths. Students focus on geographic areas such as North America, Europe, or Australia. As the job market adjusts to artificial intelligence, workers will have to be ready to frequently change jobs. AAIA students graduate with soft skills, critical thinking, and creativity to advance in numerous career spheres.

A Forever Promise

Since its inception, it has been AAIA’s mission to inspire learners to shape their future and it will continue to do so. To achieve its aforesaid mission, the school will continuously expand its offering to address the ESLOs. In the future, the school also plans to focus on global citizenship and effective communication which will be addressed by further expanding the house system.

Academically, learning will expand beyond the classroom into more community and global events and competitions. AAIA is also adding a STEM Coordinator who will create enriching experiences for students in STEM, as well as a Dean of Students who will serve as the school’s liaison to students and parents for academics and behavior. It is safe to say that in future AAIA will play a vital role in Taiwan’s increasingly global business community by fostering talented and skillful individuals.

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