Middle School and High School Programs
Upper School Program
GEMS American Academy Qatar (GAAQ) follows the American Common Core Standards where students will be exposed to the College Board’s Springboard curriculum for all Math and English courses, beginning in Grade 6, which directly aligns to the rigorous standards of Common Core and challenges students to develop independent thought and to think critically and creatively. This comprehensive curriculum prepares students for Advanced Placement (AP) courses they will take in Grades 9 – 12 which offers them opportunities to earn college or university credit. Also, students are eligible to earn an AP Capstone Diploma which culminates in their Grade 11 and Grade 12 year; this diploma includes a Seminar and Research course along with other AP requirements. At a time when adolescents are undergoing rapid and far-reaching physical, emotional and intellectual development, the curriculum, teaching methods and learning provided from the American curriculum are all designed to meet the needs of students’ developmental stages.
What are the advantages of an American education?
The American Common Core Standards are designed to stretch student thinking and truly empower next-level intellect. Students will be prepared to enter a university with all the tools of self-awareness, self-advocacy and critical and creative thinking. Because students will have had multiple opportunities to take Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school, they will be exposed to college-level learning and rigor that will increase their chances of successfully completing a college or university degree in four years. Furthermore, because students have flexibility in choosing which AP courses they want to pursue, there is no pressure to take higher-level courses in certain subjects (like IB mandates). Our students can choose from over 10 different AP courses and specialize in the courses they prefer.
Will GAAQ provide my students with college and career readiness?
Yes, our focus on Advanced Placement (AP) gives students a distinct advantage over other programs. We ensure that students are prepared for the rigor and expectations of colleges and universities worldwide by developing their independent thought and creative and critical thinking skills. In addition, we offer exposure to different careers starting in middle school which culminates in a Grade 12 internship in which students will report to an internship off-site once per week and engage in their career-of-choice for 12-16 weeks.
In what ways will GAAQ help my student develop holistically?
We believe in educating the “whole” child. In addition to the rigorous and high academic expectations we have for students, we also want to have students thrive in multiple learning facets. Our students are exposed to a variety of performing arts including concert band, choir, visual and studio art, drama and IT. Furthermore, our Upper School students are required to take a second language throughout their Grade 6 – 12 experience either in Arabic, French or Spanish. Moreover, our students have a plethora of afterschool activities (ASAs) to choose from including, but not limited to, photography, ukulele, eco/environmental awareness, cooking, math support and sports/athletic clubs. If students are more geared toward athletics, we offer sports teams and opportunities including, but not limited to, football, basketball, badminton, volleyball and track and field events; these activities give students multiple opportunities to stay involved. Our students also participate in field trips throughout Qatar and experiences that allow them to experience other cultures (like the recent trip to Tbilisi, Georgia where students were able to learn to ski over a period of five days). Students in grades 6 - 12 must also earn a minimum of 25 service hours each year to ensure that they remain actively engaged in their community and within the school. In fact, next year, GAAQ is planning a service-learning trip to the African country of Zambia that allows students to build schools and classrooms for underprivileged students. Lastly, programs like the MUN (Model United Nations) and Eco-Club provide forums for students to participate in worthwhile causes that have impact beyond the walls of GAAQ.
English as a Second Language Support
GAAQ’s Upper School English Language Learner (ELL) department uses the Steps to English Proficiency (STEP) framework as a guide to support the development of foundational skills required for academic achievement. Students are immersed in a context-reduced environment to ensure academic language acquisition. As students learn the language of instruction and the language of the curriculum, they will also develop essential literacy skills. Students are supported in the classroom as well as through individual language sessions based upon the needs of the student.