Student learning is the main focus at MSK. All of our educational (academic and behavioral), social-emotional, therapeutic services and school-wide activities are focused upon student learning outcomes.
MSK has a clearly articulated mission of quality learning and defined practices that support student achievement. Our curriculum is based on world-wide best practices and is regularly updated to reflect recent research and findings in the field. Teachers are trained on new curriculum every year at the start of the school year and throughout the year as need arises. MSK’s curriculum and programs are supported by a comprehensive set of teaching and learning policies and procedures, specially-chosen materials, special educator teacher training, and continuous administrative support which have proven successful in our students performing well on the IELTS, TOEFL, and SAT, and transferring or graduating to higher education systems around the world.
The school follows American – based curriculum adapted from the United States to meet the academic needs for our students. MSK created a new curriculum that have been revised, reviewed, and implemented in the various subject areas where instruction is in English: English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art, and IT. Textbooks at each grade level are aligned with the curriculum.
MSK has Head of Departments for Elementary, English, Math, Science, Arabic, Islamic, Electives, Specialists and Social Studies to provide academic and social support to our students.
MSK has a comprehensive program dealing with all aspects of a child’s life and needs, including a specially designed Arab World social studies program to help students accept, understand and get along with peoples from all of the Middle East and African Arab nations. They also learn about the western and eastern world’s cultures and traditions, all of which are celebrated and showcased by the students on International Day.
The curriculum design, teaching strategies, and support resources we provide ensure that all students can profit from school offerings and that all students are challenged by the content of their courses. Bloom’s Taxonomy is a part of our Critical Thinking Skills Curriculum at all grade levels. It teaches students to be convergent, divergent, analytical and evaluative thinkers in everything that they do, both in and out of school.
The students are given the opportunity to explore and demonstrate or perform projects that compliment their individual learning style and interests every term and in every subject. MSK implements Anti-Bully Campaigns (2014-2015), Tolerance Campaigns (2015-2016), Friendship Campaigns (2016-2017), Skills for Adolescence and Sports Day to help foster social and emotional growth – thus helping to prepare our students for lifelong learning. Robotics is a physical, academic and social activity which many of our high school students enjoy as an extracurricular club. The MSK Student Council is an academic, social, political, psychological development tool, which encourages development of organizational skills, cooperation and collaboration, leadership and charitable giving.
The MSK Curriculum has been documented by subject and grade level as well as within the Scope and Sequence documents provided for each grade and subject. Teachers’ lesson plans also reflect the curriculum by including specific objective numbers addressed by each lesson part and activity planned by the teacher.
Vertical and horizontal articulation of the curriculum is accomplished through content strands contained within each subject area. Objectives are articulated to demonstrate how they connect and grow throughout from one grade level to the next. One afternoon per week is additionally devoted to discussion with the HoD of these strands and any issues teachers are having with teaching them successfully.
Information about the local culture and physical environment is imbedded into the curriculum and related activities to enhance student learning and contribute to the development of our students as global citizens. Some of these activities include:
- National Day
- International Day
- Quran Recital/Competition
- Hajj assembly (pilgrim assembly)
- Science Fair
- Art Competition
There is a subject cycle of new and innovative material to compliment the dynamic Scope and Sequence. E-technology is supporting core areas of the curriculum; i.e., English: Writing Coach, Social Studies: maps, movies, images; and Science: experiments, chemical reactions, and research. Internet access and overhead projectors are in every classroom. We have two computer labs and one media center so that all students can access technology to supplement their education. The school provides suitable texts, an age-appropriate library/media collection, and other print materials to support learning objectives.
Exams are written according to the learning objectives on the Scope and Sequence as evidenced by the study guides, with formative assessment and authentic assessment used regularly to evaluate understanding and instructional needs. Reading progress monitoring measures developed by the school are implemented at the beginning and end of each school year, as well as on-going reading fluency monitoring and used to drive instruction and program planning. KEY MATH assessments are used for pre- and post-service evaluation by the Math Resource teacher. Expected learner outcomes and grading standards and criteria are clearly stated and available in advance to students and parents.
The curriculum is a ‘living document’ that is continually updated with documentation reflected in the Scope and Sequence learning objectives and aligned with the school’s mission. In 2015-2016, IT and Art Curriculum were reviewed and updated. We also added the “Skills for Adolescence” curriculum at the secondary level and the newest Tolerance Curriculum. Last year it was Science, Social Studies (and one math class that needed adjustments), Critical Thinking Skills Curriculum. Before that, all of the Reading, Writing, Spelling, and Math were reviewed and revised, as needed.
Curriculum revisions and changes are made in the context of an overarching curriculum plan. We have a five-year curriculum plan, which is a dynamic instrument that keeps abreast of our needs at any given point in time.
The school has thorough and effective systems for tracking, analyzing and reporting on school-wide and individual student performance, and for measuring success in meeting stated goals. Printed progress reports are sent out at the end of the first 4 weeks of every reporting period, showing parents how their child is doing in the subject area, why the grade is high or low (homework, class work, participation, pop-quizzes, tests, projects, etc.). Report cards are sent out every 8 weeks followed the next day by parent/teacher conferences for discussion and planning. Parents also receive a copy of the IEP in the fall and the mastery/non-mastery of the IEP objectives at the end of the school year. Data gathered from graduates or past students is considered when determining the effectiveness of the school’s program, and course corrections are undertaken when applicable.
Regular achievement assessment is performed on all 7th and 8th grade students to determine performance deficits so it is possible to remediate them before high school begins. Reading Assessments are administered every fall and spring to watch for individual student achievement, to identify specific student needs, and to track grade level trends.
MSK teachers participate in regular in-service training on the curriculum. Each academic teacher is provided with the materials required for teaching at each grade level and in each subject area.
Teachers are supported by a Teaching Assistant for student instruction and classroom management. This provides for a small group learning ratio of no more than 4:1. Students who are accepted at MSK are typically 1-3 years below grade level in academic achievement. Various assessments are used to determine each student’s functioning level in Reading and Math. Textbooks, workbooks, and other resources are provided to meet all instructional requirements. The goal for each student is to achieve more than a year’s progress for every school year enrolled at MSK. Lesson plans are turned in weekly to the VP of Curriculum and Instruction based on the Scope and Sequence for a particular subject. The lesson plans are checked for alignment with the curriculum.
Throughout the year, students may take benchmark tests to determine the objectives that have been mastered and those that must be targeted for the remaining year. MSK continues to use assessment instruments to evaluate achievement and progress of students. We have also begun using an individual reading inventory assessment given by the classroom teachers under the direction of our Literacy Specialist. This combination of assessment instruments will increase the amount of data we have available to plan and support instructional goals.
Elementary Department (PreK – Grade 5)
Students in PreK – Grade 5 are placed in a section that is appropriate for their academic achievement and social/emotional development. Given the size of the school enrollment, in some grades, based on enrollment, there are more sections than others.
Middle School Department (Grade 6 – Grade 8)
Students in grades 6 – 8 are placed in a section that is appropriate for their academic achievement and social/emotional development. Given the size of the school enrollment, in some grades, based on enrollment, there aremore sections than others.
Students in the above departments are eligible to receive therapeutic services as needed.
High School Departments (Grade 9 – Grade12)
Challenge Academic Program (CAP)
Students who are determined to be able to meet the academic rigor required to earn the High School Diploma (as indicated by their Special Needs Designation from the Public Authority and the Administration of MSK), will be placed in the Challenge Academic Program Grades 9-12.
The ministry designation of their special needs disability plays a significant role in this placement. Typically a student with an IQ of 85 or greater is in CAP. The MSK goal is for all students to be appropriately placed at the start of Gr. 9.
The CAP is similar to a USA secondary program. Upon successful completion of Gr. 12, students receive a High School Diploma. According to the Ministry, this makes our students eligible for application to universities in and/or outside Kuwait.
Students who graduate from our CAP program are eligible to enter university. MSK will continue to provide educational opportunities that will support and facilitate their transition to this new step in their lives. We are still finding some challenges with our MAP students once they graduate from MSK. Kuwait still lacks programs that will accept such students. We need to educate parents on the need to force a change in the parliamentary mindset regarding allowing academically able special needs adolescents and high school graduates to maintain jobs in the community as well as to create more awareness of this need within Kuwaiti society.
Modified Academic Program (MAP)
MSK has been approved for applying the ASDAN (Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network) program from the UK by the Ministry of Education in Kuwait and the Public Authority for People with Disabilities. Based on the ministry decree (2008/ 237) concerning the Vocational Certificates of students with Special Needs in private schools using a foreign curriculum, the following certificates could be earned from the Special Needs Department in Kuwait:
First: The BRONZE AWARD certificate is equivalent to Elementary Education. Second: The SILVER CHALLENGE AWARD certificate is equivalent to Middle School Education (Currently Silver Award).
Third: The SILVER AWARD certificate is equivalent to High School Education (Currently Gold Award).
Students who are determined to meet the academic rigor required to complete the designated coursework and have the motivation to complete the required activities for the ASDAN Award (as indicated by their Special Needs Designation from the Public Authority and the administration of MSK) will be placed in the Modified Academic Program from Grade 9.
The MAP includes traditional secondary course instruction at a level appropriate for the academic potential of the students. The highest level they may achieve at MSK is the Gold level.
All instructional programs include Arabic language and Islamic studies. Our school follows the Ministry of Education-Kuwait regulations regarding instruction in Arabic, Islam Studies, Qur’an, Physical Education, and Swimming.