Rosslyn Academy: Nurturing Difference Makers of the Future
Rosslyn Academy
Rosslyn Academy

“Every student is a uniquely gifted child of God, who has the potential to transform the world.”

Since opening its door to four American missionary children in 1947, Rosslyn Academy has grown into a thriving international educational community of 650 students from over 50 different nations. Although the school’s campus, improved over Rosslyn’s rich history, might be unrecognizable to its founders, the school’s culture and mission have largely remained the same.

Dr Philip Dow, Superintendent of Rosslyn Academy recites his strong belief in the academy’s mission. “That mission ‘to inspire and equip each student to develop their God-given gifts for Christlike service in the world community,’ is far more than a slogan gathering dust in some forgotten hallway,” says Dr Dow, “Instead, it continues to reflect the school’s belief that every student is a uniquely gifted child of God, whose talents, when discovered, challenged, and nurtured, have the potential to transform the world.”

Today, their former students are active around the globe, using the gifts that they discovered and honed at Rosslyn. The teachers and staff at Rosslyn Academy believe your child, like these graduates, have Godgiven capacities that are waiting to be unleashed. It will take hard work, an excellent and committed teaching staff, and loving support from you, but they can’t wait to see what is in store.

A Welcoming Community

More than an educational institution Rosslyn is a welcoming community. The academy’s Christian educational ethos believes that learning and growth happen in and through nurtured relationships with teachers, fellow students, parents, and God.

The academy has extended this principle not just to the classroom, the sports fields, and the arts. It also extends to the vital partnership between parents and teachers, the welcome you receive from their security team when you arrive, and the awareness that we are all united behind a common mission.

Deeply Rooted Christian Values

Deeply rooted Christian beliefs and values permeate the academy’s learning community. Loving God and loving our neighbor are the two highest aims in life. And every learning event in Rosslyn Academy is shaped by this belief.

“Because of this perspective we see education as not simply a means of getting into a good college, getting a good job, and retiring early,” Dr Dow says, “Instead, education is the powerful and transformative means by which we grow into being ‘difference makers’ in a world that desperately needs light and hope.”

A Diverse Learning Environment

‘International school’ means different things to different people. For some, it means having a non-local curriculum. For others, it means a faculty that are trained and certified in an international curriculum. Still, others think of the international flavor of the student body. Among the many strong international schools in Nairobi, Rosslyn is among a very small number that checks all three of these boxes.

The result is a richly diverse and cosmopolitan learning environment in which virtually every class will include students from every continent presenting their perspectives, asking interesting questions, and preparing each other to be leaders in tomorrow’s global village.

About the leader

Since 2010 Rosslyn Academy has been led by Phil Dow (Ph.D. Cambridge). An alumnus of Rosslyn, Dr Dow has been instrumental in the school adopting an innovative approach to learning that prioritizes the development of intellectual character traits like fairmindedness, tenacity, curiosity, and courage.

Rooted in Aristotelian Virtue Ethics and recent research in character education being done at Oxford and several leading American universities, Rosslyn’s intellectual virtue program is based on the notion that successful education transforms the thinking habits of the learner. By intentionally applying virtuous thinking habits throughout their education, the Rosslyn student’s intellectual character (who they are as a thinker) is formed.

Dr Dow and other proponents of this movement argue success in life and career rest not primarily on knowledge and skills, but on the thinking habits upon which that knowledge and those skills are discovered, honed, and applied.

The American Curriculum

While the ethos of the school is shaped by its international diversity and the rich influence of the host country of Kenya, Rosslyn is one of three schools in Nairobi that is based on the American curriculum.

What is distinctive about the American model is not only the content of the courses but also the culture and philosophy of teaching and learning that infuses that curriculum. Instead of fact memorization and lecture-based learning in preparation for high-stakes examinations, Rosslyn believes that learning is most powerful and lasting when it is a rigorous, creative, and collaborative partnership between teacher and student in the pursuit of truth.

Over 95% of Rosslyn graduates pursue post-secondary education.

Extracurricular activities

Rosslyn believes participation in the arts is key in providing a well-rounded educational experience. Students have many opportunities to participate in the arts at every age and grade level. Participating in the wide range of fine arts offerings opens the eyes of our students to a new world of creativity and exploration.

The academy offers a wide variety of extracurricular activities to enhance and enrich the students’ academic experience in which the academy’s athletic program plays a key role. There are opportunities for students to participate in Elementary, Middle, and High School.

At the Elementary level, intramural sports are held after school one day a week for the 3rd through 5th graders. Sports seasons typically include football, touch rugby, field hockey, and basketball.

At the Middle School and High School level, boys and girls can try out for Basketball, Football, Field Hockey, Rugby, Volleyball, Cross Country, and Tennis. Swimming is a schoolwide sport that involves participation from Kindergarten to 12th Grade. The academy has a competitive swim team and students must try out to participate.

Advanced Placement (AP)

The Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum is a rigorous and globally recognized program aimed at high-achieving, college-bound students who want to prepare themselves for entrance to strong universities. This highly regarded program is similar to the International Baccalaureate (IB) but is used much more widely in North America. It has also been invaluable for the students seeking entrance to top US, Canadian, and European universities.

Rosslyn Academy is one of the largest and most successful AP programs in Africa. Over the last ten years, the global pass rate on AP exams has been steady at approximately 61%. Rosslyn’s average pass rate over the same period has been 86%. The significant gap between Rosslyn’s students and the other four million high achieving students worldwide who take the AP each year is a strong testimony not only to their students, their intelligence, and their work ethic but also to the exceptional instruction they receive in the classroom every day.


Rosslyn is accredited by the Middle States Association (MSA), as well as the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). Also, Rosslyn is a member of the following organizations:

  • AP/College Board
  • Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA)
  • Child Safety Protection Network (CSPN)

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