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Thursday, March 30, 2017

International School Prepares Students for College, Life

Seven years ago Sabis International, a college-preparatory education system, approached the Citizens Advisory Committee that oversees the four-square mile area designated by the City of Phoenix as Target Area B about opening a new charter school.

“The committee was very impressed that a school of their caliber wanted to build in our area,” said George Young, chairman of the Target Area B Citizens Advisory Committee. “They talked to us about their curriculum, the fact that they had schools all over the world. And they were only looking at property at this stage. It was a great opportunity.”

After a series of discussions, Sabis International decided to purchase property at Roeser Road between 16th and 24th Streets, an area that fell within the struggling Roosevelt School District.

“It’s the Sabis belief that you don’t have to put the school in the perfect place in order for that school to succeed,” said Yvette Moran, director of Recruitment & Admissions, marketing at Sabis. “With the right curriculum, any child can succeed.”

The school opened its doors for the 2001-2002 school year to about 300 students.

Sabis curriculum emphasizes study in English, math and Spanish for classes K-8 and as a college-preparatory school, it instills the value of education at the university level for all of its students.

The Sabis school in Phoenix is part of an international education system with sister schools in Canada, the United Kingdom, Pakistan and Germany. While U.S.-based Sabis schools are part of the charter school system while schools abroad are considered private.

“We like to tell our parents and our students that they’re getting a private school education gratis,” said Moran.

In addition to meeting U.S. standards in education, Sabis obtains support from its international network of schools and their various areas of expertise.

“We’re able to draw from other international school’s success stories,” said Moran. Sabis integrates such programs into their regular curriculum, like the Letterland program, originally developed in the U.K. The fun, interactive learning module effectively helps kindergartners learn to read, write and spell.

As a charter school, Sabis is tuition free with a non-selective admissions policy; however, students are tested upon admission to determine a baseline.

“Our goal is 100 percent mastery,” said Acting Director, Will Henry. “If a student is not meeting expectations, we have intensive classes that help them get up to speed. The same applies for new incoming students. Baseline tests let us know where they need help immediately.”

Students are expected to do well academically. To ensure they’re on track, Sabis tests their students regularly.

“We use AMS (Academic Monitoring System) testing,” said Moran. “If a piece of fundamental learning is missed or the student is not grasping it, we know before it becomes a problem.”

While academics are the number one priority at Sabis, the school also places high priority on student athletics. In addition to a library, cafeteria and playground, the school also provides its students with a 400-meter track, football/soccer field and gymnasium with a full-size basketball court.

The leadership skills learned on the court or field can be applied in the classroom, and Sabis holds its student athletes to strict academic standards.

“We have weekly grade checks for all athletes,” said Henry. “Each week the coaches know who is eligible to play.”

But, academic standards are not only applied to student athletes. All students must be up to par with their grades and homework in order to participate in any number of student life programs.

“We want to make sure we engage students fully, not just with academics,” Henry said, “but also in pursuit of their personal goals.”

The school offers a daily student life period—free time that students can use to pursue their own interests. For example, they may choose to read, play soccer, dance or work with the newspaper or yearbook clubs. Students also can use the time to work with a peer tutor, get anger management assistance, or work as an anti-bullying prefect with students in need.

“We’re building life-long learners,” said Henry. “We’re developing children to be assets to society rather than liabilities.”

Seven years after opening, Sabis is thriving with approximately 650 students in K-8. There are hopes to add grades 9-12 as community need grows.

“The school is a great fit,” said Young. “I’m so proud to have Sabis in Target Area B.”

For more information, contact Sabis International School at 602-305-8865 or www.sis-sabis.net

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