Academic staff handbook

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School Year 2013-2014

All Academic members are responsible for reading and following the policies and procedures contained within this handbook. While its content is subject to review and change at prescribed intervals, it is binding on every faculty member in its present form.


Advanced Learning Schools provides students with an opportunity to acquire and demonstrate knowledge, appreciation and respect for their own cultural heritage, integrated with an understanding, curiosity, compassion and tolerance toward other cultures of the world. It provides an environment that encourages moral development, active and independent learning, analytical thinking, life-long learning, respect for individual differences and sensitivity to the moral, social and environmental requirements of the global community.


An ALS community that values:


Life-long learning and


ALS provides an environment that fosters understanding, independence, interdependence and cooperation.

Within that context we believe that:
ALS students appreciate:

  • Arabic culture, language and literature;

  • developing personal values while appreciating the values of others;

  • valuing one’s own culture while understanding and demonstrating respect for the culture of others; and

  • understanding multiculturalism within a global society.

ALS is a caring community that encourages students by example to:

  • share, cooperate and contribute responsibly to a global society;

  • develop sensitivity to appropriate work and social relationships consistent with the principle of equal rights, including gender equality;

  • display sound decision-making skills by reflecting on choices and consequences;

  • lead a positive, healthy life;

  • care for others as they would have others care for them;

  • share resources; and

  • build understanding and trust.

ALS students strive for academic excellence by:

  • learning how to learn and discovering the joy of learning;

  • attaining depth and breadth of academic knowledge and understanding;

  • acquiring skills that support intellectual endeavor and academic success;

  • acquiring aesthetic appreciation;

  • understanding modern technologies and using them wisely and effectively; and

  • acquiring academic skills and knowledge required to gain entrance to and success at competitive local and international universities.

ALS students benefit from an international education whereby they:

  • gain historic and contemporary knowledge and understanding of the world through intellectual endeavor;

  • acquire international understanding by studying and experiencing other cultures while, at the same time, acquiring knowledge of, and appreciation for, their own cultural heritage; and

  • maintain the fluency of their mother tongue while valuing the acquisition of other languages.

ALS students are committed to the spirit of internationalism by:

  • demonstrating respect for human rights and for the principle of equal rights irrespective of race or gender;

  • practicing tolerance and living together in peace and developing skills for the peaceful resolution of conflict;

  • understanding their individual responsibilities within society and the relationship between rights and responsibilities; and

  • providing leadership that demonstrates an awareness of ethical and moral issues.

ALS has adopted the Learner Profile created by the International Baccalaureate (IB) as a guide.

All members of the ALS community strive to be:

Inquirers – They develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives.

Knowledgeable – They explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance. In doing so, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.

Thinkers – They exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems and make reasoned, ethical decisions.

Communicators – They understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.

Principled – They act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.

Open-minded – They understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.

Caring They show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.

Risk-takers – They approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.

Balanced – They understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.

Reflective – They give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development.

We at ALS encourage a set of attitudes within our community including:

  • Tolerance

  • Respect

  • Integrity

  • Independence

  • Enthusiasm

  • Empathy

  • Curiosity

  • Creativity

  • Co-operation

  • Confidence

  • Commitment

  • Appreciation


Not all situations can be dealt with in any handbook. It is expected that faculty members and staff will exercise mature professional judgement at all times.

An effective school environment, conducive to learning, is characterized by an atmosphere of safety, security and orderliness. This manual provides a structure for maintaining rules and procedures that will enhance these characteristics. They are not intended to restrict creativity in any way.

To be successful, teaching at ALS should:

  • maintain high standards and expectations

  • be structured

  • make connections with other ideas, areas or subjects

  • occur by experience and application - be ‘hands on’

  • be enthusiastic and inspirational

  • encourage enjoyment in the learning process and create a happy, positive learning environment

  • lead by example

  • respect personal beliefs

  • use the natural environment and real world

  • use a variety of motivational methods

  • encourage students natural inclination towards or interest in a subject

  • give students an opportunity to discover different cognitive and learning styles through a variety of methods, approaches, and levels of care.

To ensure and support effective teaching, the ALS curriculum will:

  • be regularly reviewed and revised so as to be reflective of the school philosophy and developments in the research base that informs good educational practice

  • be geared in scope and sequence to provide logical progression from the concrete to the abstract, always emphasizing higher order thinking and smooth transition from grade to grade and from level to level

  • enable all students to acquire, integrate and express the ideas of the various academic areas and across these areas

  • be comprehensive and balanced among the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and fine arts

  • engage technology to deliver curriculum

  • enhance the student’s appreciation for and understanding of the many social, cultural and national groups in the world.

  • encourage the development of responsible citizens

  • within the limits of our resources, provide for both the general and individual needs of all students

Criteria and conditions for all ALS Teachers

Since Advanced Learning Schools is an IB World School, the school and teachers shall accept and promote the following:

  • the importance of inquiry as a means to student learning

  • the commitment to achieving a balance between the search for meaning and understanding and the acquisition of essential skills and knowledge in relation to effective and varied assessment styles

  • the emphasis on the overall development of students with regard to the IB Learner Profile and the Attitudes suggested by the International Baccalaureate

  • the involvement in IB-approved training and other relevant professional development

The teaching staff must ensure the following:

  1. They are familiar with:

a) the IB mission statement

b) the standards and practices of the programme

c) the contents in the IB learner profile booklet

  1. All relevant IB Programmes documentation has been read.

  2. They keep up to date with developments in curriculum.

  3. They support the philosophy of the IB PYP/MYP/DP and are committed to an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning.

  4. They use their scheduled coordination times for collaborative planning and reflection.

  5. They select and maintain appropriate materials and equipment in order to facilitate the implementation and objectives of the programme curriculum.

  6. They submit appropriate curriculum documentation according to the school calendar.

  7. They visit the OCC-Online Curriculum Centre in order to obtain information and support.

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