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American International School of Jeddah’s New Campus Is Ready for 2018-19 School Year

By Lexi Lee
American International School of Jeddah’s New Campus Is Ready for 2018-19 School Year

The American International School of Jeddah (AISJ) has an interesting history that dates back to 1952. When Saudi Arabian Airlines was developed, a large number of expatriates, many from America and Europe, came to Jeddah pursuing job opportunities. Once settled, they saw a need to offer their children a formal American education—something that was not available in Jeddah at that time. In creating the Parents Cooperative School (PCS), they volunteered their time to teach students from a homeschooling curriculum. In 1957, the villa that was being used to house the school became too small and a new structure was built on the Trans-World Airline (TWA) Compound, near the old airport. A decade later, in 1967, another new campus was built in Al-Ruwais District, not far from the American Embassy. In 1976, a north campus was created and named North Campus School (NCS). Then, in 1985, Saudia Airlines took control of the school and renamed the campus Saudi Arabian International School (SAIS). The year 2001 saw the school’s first Grade 12 graduating class. In 2004, Saudia Airlines decided to discontinue its sponsorship, and the institution was renamed the American International School of Jeddah. Until very recently, the campus (formerly NCS and built originally as an elementary school) was over 40 years old and had served as home of the AISJ Pre-Kindergarten–Grade 12 program for the last 15 years. With aging buildings and a growing student population, it was again time to upgrade campuses. This time, AISJ has moved to a new, purpose-built, state-of-the-art campus. Superintendent Monti Hallberg, who taught at this school from 1983–1991 and returned in 2013 as Superintendent, is very excited about the new campus. It features large courtyards with plenty of natural light, two large library/media centers, a theater-style auditorium for school performances, two dining halls/food courts, 10 science STEM labs, and modern athletic facilities to include indoor and outdoor running tracks, two gymnasiums, three full-size basketball courts, a full-size soccer pitch, an eight-lane swimming pool, tennis and squash courts, an aerobic room, and a fitness room. The entire campus has robust wireless coverage and classrooms that are “technology smart” and meet all the requirements for a 21st-century American learning experience. During the initial planning stages of the new campus, administration, staff, and students met frequently to share their ideas about what they’d like the new school buildings to include. Well-lit classrooms designed with learning centers and group work areas, spacious hallways, more STEM science labs, and a dedicated space for student performances were some of the ideas discussed in these planning meetings, all of which can be found on the new AISJ campus, open since 2 September.

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