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A Growing Family

A Growing Family

The past eight years have seen Esol Education embark on an exciting journey of growth, establishing four new international schools and making strategic investments in higher education. Here we explore each unique institution and the array of programs it offers.

Teacher and student during a class at ASHK

Eight years ago, Esol Education opened American School Hong Kong, its first school in the East Asia region. This was followed by the establishment of Dunecrest American School and Fairgreen International School in Dubai in 2018. American School Bahrain in Riffaa in the Kingdom of Bahrain was next inaugurated in 2020, and Esol Education was soon invited to become a strategic partner in American University of Bahrain, which had opened its doors a year earlier in 2019.

“These five new institutions in the Esol Education portfolio have collectively experienced an average annual enrollment growth of 74% since their respective launches,” remarked Tammam Abushakra, Advisor to Chairman,  “This is a testament to our vision of serving our school communities with high-quality educational offerings, tailored to the needs and cultures of our host cities,” he added.

American School Hong Kong (ASHK) was Esol Education’s first foray outside of the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East region, with schools already operational in Egypt, UAE, Cyprus and Lebanon since 1976. Esol was selected by the Education Bureau through a competitive bidding process for the opportunity to establish a new American school on an existing site. ASHK opened in 2016 following the HKD 140 million renovation that transformed the campus into a modern facility with spacious classrooms, sciences labs, specialist rooms for music, art, and drama, a gymnasium, outdoor sports facilities and a library learning centre. The school has, today, grown into a tight-knit learning community, offering a superlative holistic American educational program with the IB Diploma Programme® pathway, accredited by  the Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC). With a focus on technology, ASHK offers a robust STEAM and robotics program, athletics and arts program and a wide range of extra-curricular offerings including Model United Nations and leadership opportunities such as Week Without Walls. ASHK’s emphasis on Chinese language and culture has been lauded by parents looking to preserve their children’s cultural identity in an increasingly globalized world. The school has also created a unique and distinct English Language offering  that includes a “Foundational English Program” for beginners, and a “Mainstream English as an Additional Language (EAL) Program,” supporting those students who are primarily Chinese language speakers integrate quickly into the mainstream classroom. Seasonal celebrations such as Christmas and Chinese New Year see the entire school coming together as a family, and the annual Terry Fox Run offers an opportunity for students to fundraise and make a difference.

…a testament to [Esol’s] vision of serving our school communities with a high-quality educational offerings, tailored to the needs and cultures of our host cities.

Dr. Jane Goodall during her visit at Fairgreen Campus

Fairgreen International School, Dubai’s first sustainability-focused school, opened in 2018, located in the unique eco-conscious community of The Sustainable City in Dubai. The school’s learning facilities extend to the city’s bio-domes, animal sanctuaries and the SEE Institute Hub of Sustainable Education and Research, a centre of sustainability research, technological advances and innovations. Fairgreen’s school culture is rooted in the fundamental concepts of urban, economic and environmental sustainability, and a community understanding of sustainable living, aligning seamlessly with the philosophy of the International Baccalaureate® (IB). 

Esol’s only IB Continuum School, Fairgreen offers all four of IB's Primary Years (PYP), Middle Years (MYP), Diploma (DP) and Careers Programmes (CP). Fairgreen's IBCP is developed and implemented in partnership with the Sustainability Management School (SUMAS) of Switzerland, including online coursework, advisory meetings, field experiences and mentorship. Like its sister schools, Fairgreen fosters real-world learning with a variety of distinctive programs such as Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots, urban farming via rooftop gardens and vertical, aeroponic farms, while extra-curriculars like Eco-Council, Week Without Walls and Diplomathlon enhance the learning experience. With a diverse, eco-minded community, Fairgreen features an action-packed calendar, and families fondly look forward to the school’s musical productions, UAE National Day and International Day celebrations, as well as the unique “Hallow-green” events, where the community is challenged to wear sustainable costumes made out of recycled materials.

Female students testing their solar powered design.

Dunecrest American School, Esol Education’s flagship American international school in Dubai, was also inaugurated in 2018. The school occupies an 8-acre modern, state-of-the-art campus, with outstanding facilities including connected classrooms, labs, performance spaces and libraries, with atheltics facilities comprising an indoor gymnasium and weight room, swimming pool, tennis court, regulation-sized soccer field and running track. With an experienced founding leadership team, Dunecrest achieved International Baccalaureate® Diploma Programme (IBDP) authorization within the first year of operation, followed by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA) accreditation in the subsequent academic year. With a focus on inquiry-based learning and academic excellence, Dunecrest offers an American curriculum based on AERO/Common Core standards, with an IB Diploma pathway in Grades 11 and 12.  Centered around its CREST values of Creativity, Respect, Excellence, Service and Teamwork, Dunecrest distinguishes itself as a welcoming, community school, with a rich array of student experiences both academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular. With an emphasis on well-rounded, holistic learning, students are actively encouraged to participate in sports leagues, school productions and wellbeing programs. Leadership development and real-world learning are encouraged through participation in intitatives such as National Honor Society (NHS), Week without Walls, Model United Nations (MUN), TEDx Youth, World Scholars Cup and Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots. Known for its tight-knit community, Dunecrest enjoys a busy community event calendar with the seasonal Halloween, Thanksgiving and Winter celebrations in addition to UAE National Day, Ramadan Community Potluck and the much awaited International Day.

Campus shot of American School of Bahrain

American School of Bahrain (ASB) opened its doors in September 2020, seeing remarkable success with a 17-acre best-in-class campus, designed insightfully with advanced features, easily offering families the best school facilities on the island. 

Using space to its advantage, the campus includes generously-sized classrooms, learning pods, labs, libraries and breakout rooms. Its athletic complex comprises indoor gymnasiums, two swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts and a regulation sized soccer field surrounded by a running track. With an emphasis on happiness and wellbeing as a core path to student achievement, ASB follows the American curriculum based on AERO/Common Core standards, and also offers the IB® Diploma Programme for students in Grades 11 and 12. The school received its IB authorization in 2022 and a double American accreditation from WASC and MSA accreditation followed in 2023. Alongside academics, ASB students enjoy enriching experiences with co-curricular and extra-curricular activities including Fine and Performing arts, Experience Week, participation in local and regional sports leagues, World Scholars Cup and more. With an active parent association, the school eargerly awaits community events such as the annual Halloween “Trunk or Treat,” International Day, Bahraini National Day and the traditional Bahraini Ramadan Ghabga and Girgaoun celebrations.

A student reading a book inside the AUBH library.

In 2021, Esol Education acquired a strategic stake in the American University of Bahrain (AUBH). As part of the AUBH Board of Directors, the Esol Education team supports the University’s growth and development in various ways. 

AUBH’s innovative, high-tech, 75,000 square meter campus is located in Riffa, Bahrain. Along with AUBH's D-Lab, Media Lab, and new Integrated Collaborative Engineering (ICE) Lab, the campus includes a well-resourced library, Sports Center with indoor and outdoor courts and fields, vast Student Commons, and an Auditorium for special events. AUBH is licensed by the Higher Education Council of the Ministry of Education in Bahrain, and is a CIQG Member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) in the United States. AUBH has also received U.S. accreditation through the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). AUBH is also recognized by Ministry of Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Jordan. AUBH offers a range of degree programs across its College of Business and Management, College of Media and Design and College of Engineering and Computing. A wide range of events and initiatives offers students a deep dive into a range of disciplines, such as Generative AI Hackathon, Building Wearable Technology Workshop in collaboration with MIT, internships at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland,  Entrepreneurship Week, while annual events such as the Career Fair, Youth Day, Sports Day, International Fair and Ramadan initiatives offer community and workforce engagement opportunities for students.

“2024 will send off Dunecrest’s fourth graduating cohort, while Fairgreen, ASHK and AUBH each graduate their second cohorts, and ASB hosted its inaugural graduation this year,” shared Mr. Abushakra. “We are so proud of how these new learning communities have enriched the Esol Education family, with stellar leaders, committed and caring teachers and graduates heading to outstanding universities and careers,” he added. “The coming years will see American International School in Egypt relocate its two campuses to new, purpose-built premises constructed in partnership with Emaar Misr, the region’s leading real estate developer, offering our families in Cairo first-class educational facilities for their children, in line with our organization’s continuous development plans.”